2007-01-29

Sustainability, Energy Independence and Agricultural Policy

Long, but definitely worth the read.



The Oil Drum | Sustainability, Energy Independence and Agricultural Policy

One of the biggest threats the USA faces today is a serious shortage of energy. Vulnerabilities in our system have been made glaringly obvious several times; since the 1970's the USA has had social and economic upheaval due to the actions of foreign oil producers, and two hurricanes in 2005 showed just how fragile our remaining domestic supplies of oil and natural gas are. The fact that the nation has a Strategic Petroleum Reserve shows that this is a matter of national security.

For such a serious matter, it's being treated in a very casual fashion. There is no national program to manage oil demand in the event of a supply crisis, or employ market forces to help. Neither is there a long-term initiative to reduce oil dependence and the size of the threat. While the US looks to become dependent upon imported natural gas in addition to oil, there's nothing in the works for a Strategic Natural Gas Reserve. And as for a national building code or even minimum standards for building codes, there's nothing worth mentioning.

Other, less-serious problems have been dealt with far more competently. The USA had a plan for achieving the goal of saving the peregrine falcon and bald eagle from DDT, and another for saving the world's ozone layer from halocarbon emissions. Both of these were carried forward both domestically and internationally, with considerable success on both programs. Given the last ten years of concern about global warming and three decades of concern over energy supplies, you would expect something similar would be in the works for those also.
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