I am frankly astonished there isn’t more outrage about the extraordinary corporate welfare we've been hearing much more about lately, profoundly profitable companies such as GE and Exxon complaining about taxes on US buisnesses being too high - while in fact not paying a dime in US taxes!
And as if it were not enough simply to avoid paying one's share to support the greatest nation on Earth they love so much, we must in fact bribe oil companies with troughs of taxpayer-financed incentives. These incentives help to keep the price of oil deceptively low -you actually pay for that tank of gas twice: once when you swipe at the pump, and again on April 15. If you saw the true cost of the oil up front, it could shock you into action - you could see the writing on the wall and the future of burning carbon fuel. Instead, gas is only $4.00 a gallon at the station, but we never see the true, full cost.
In Europe, they're seeing, well, much closer to the true cost than we do. IMHO, they have a much more realistic idea of how to address dwindling supplies - You see more bicycles, and bike lanes, and more respect for bicyclists btw. You see conservation, more respect for the environment, more recognition this land on Earth is all we have and we need to treat it in such a way as to last forever. You see a lot more alternative energy, a lot more solar. Germany and Japan are the two leading nations in the world in their use of solar. They'll be ready for the impending oil shrink.
It brings to mind that story of the two squirrels, one which just wanted to play all the time, and the other saw what lay ahead, saw bleak winter around the corner, and set about storing nuts for the impending dry spell. Which squirrel do you think the United States is?
I hear people say the oil isn't running out, that the Earth has more than enough to meet all our demands for a looong time so long as we start drilling under the Gulf of Mexico, or the Great Lakes, or a pristine part of wilderness that was promised to remain undisturbed for future generations. As for domestic drilling, to me that's like a heroin addict believing they have cured their problem by finding a less expensive dealer. It sticks the nation's head in the sand to dangerously deny there isn't a big squeeze coming up. The world's second-largest bank - which has a financial interest in accurately knowing such things - just released a report that says 50 years. Does it help America to wait until the last minute? Just because there may well be risky-to-reach oil in parts of America, or coal in our nation's mountaintops, that doesn't mean we have to burn it. Wouldn't it be better if we didn't?
The oil companies themselves have tried to make the case that such generous tax bailouts are justified, in part, in the name of national security, that the US needs energy security. Rubbish - that makes my argument for me. Does it make America more or less safe to prolong our dependence on a dying technology? Does it make us more or less safe to depend on other nations - some friendly, some not - to meet our world-leading energy consumption? Does it make us more or less safe to have to inject ourselves into religious wars in the Middle East to protect "our" oil reserves? Would it make us more or less safe to invest instead in the clean, pollution-free, drill-free, meltdown-free technologies that WILL be invented out of necessity. I don't know 'bout you, but I rather see this be a "man on the moon" moment for America, an opportunity to wake up, smell the coffee, see the lst drop of oil IS coming, and make the US a leader in this technology, not a follower of other nations that heeded oil's warning.
According to Wikipedia, "The total solar energy absorbed by Earth's atmosphere, oceans and land masses is approximately 3,850,000 exajoules (EJ) per year. In 2002, this was more energy in one hour than the world used in one year. Photosynthesis captures approximately 3,000 EJ per year in biomass. The amount of solar energy reaching the surface of the planet is so vast that in one year it is about twice as much as will ever be obtained from all of the Earth's non-renewable resources of coal, oil, natural gas, and mined uranium combined." When I hear people say "Solar doesn't work, it's too hard, we need oil," I wonder what happened to that Can-Do American Spirit, the one that undertakes challenges not because they are easy but because they are hahd. This isn't America, this defeated-before-we-start attitude. With that outlook, of course we won't succeed.