Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Art of Deflection

So, Obama is seeking some big deal on alternative energies as a result of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Trying to link the two issues is akin to proposing to repair the roof when your basement is flooding. Sure, maybe your roof needs fixing, but shouldn't one focus on the leak in your basement?

The US' problem is that their oil dependence is forcing them to ally with less than reliable nations (ie Saudi Arabia) and explore more dangerous sources of oil (ie offshore drilling). Reducing their dependence requires a fundamentally honest assessment of where that oil is going, which Obama either doesn't want to provide, or doesn't know.

Petroleum has many applications but only a tiny fraction (7%) of it is used in electricity generation, almost all of it goes to the transportation (71%) and industrial (23%) sectors according to the EIA [1]. So trying to change the electricity generation system to renewable energy sources may have many benefits but reducing oil consumption will not be one of them. In fact, it may exacerbate the problem of America's oil dependence.

America depends on petroleum for gasoline and the only real alternative (ethanol as it stands is not a true alternative since it can never be produced in large enough quantities) is to use electric cars. But if you spend all your time switching from cheap electricity sources (coal) to expensive ones (wind, solar), you'll make electric cars even less competitive compared to gasoline.

There are plenty of things that require fixing in the US electricity generating system, but not one of those corrections will reduce oil consumption significantly. So what Obama is doing is either incompetent decision-making by an ignorant leader, or a political trick to try to defect attention and appear that he is tackling the problem but really push a totally different agenda through. Pardon my skepticism, but after all, his chief advisor was the one who said 'never let a crisis go to waste'.

[1] "Annual Energy Review 2008", Energy Information Administration [link]


Rob Cheshire said...

Please visit 'Banana Belt Tories' at: and join Canada's most southern conservative blog. Please, come with your opinions and join our blogisphere.

L said...

Dreams of my father = energy efficient dung hearth fires

俊偉 said...


Post a Comment