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I am getting seriously annoyed by the fact that energy policy is getting so little traction over here on dKos.

While that may seem a bit rich coming from someone who gets a big number of diaries about energy on the recommended list - or even front paged occasionally - I have yet to see this issue taken seriously beyond a fairly small group of people - those that recommend my diaries over and over, and discuss the issues to death, and, for many of them, despair of their powerlessness to change anything.

Why is energy not identified as a significant political issue on the domestic front? (And no, I am not talking about high gas prices)

Why is there so little awareness - or so much denial - that we are about to enter into a crisis of epic proportions, and that we have little (if any) time to do anything about it?

Why do Kos or Armando write so little about the topic?

This is not just another single-interest group. This will be the greatest crisis of our times.

If the idea that a really big energy crisis is coming does not get out of the specialised websites and enter public consciousness, scapegoats will be found when it really hits, and the result is likely to be a jingosistic orgy of destruction and American "exceptionalism". If the concept of a looming energy crisis is not grabbed by the Democrats with forceful proposals for realistic solutions and a systematic attempt at differentiating themselves from the Republicans on this, the crisis will be used by the Republicans to unite the nation against the evil foreigners that are threatening the "American way of life", to wage war and to bring about what will bear more than a passable resemblance to a police State.

So yes, I fell like I am shouting in a NY (or Paris) street and people are ignoring me:

  • most of my diaries are recommended by the same crowd over and over (thanks guys!);

  • my diaries, which benefit from the structural advantage of being posted early in the morning,  almost never make it past the early afternoon; beyond a group of regular readers, they don't seem to click with the rest of the community. My biggest number of recommends ever, far from what other well-known diarists achieve, came on a recent diary with very limited value added, where I simply copied and commented upon two articles in the paper critical of Bush;

  • Plutonium Page has kindly front paged some of my diaries a few times. They seemed to generate the same level of interest, judging from the number of comments and the identity of the commenters, as my other diaries. The "political" crowd never chips in, whether in the front page or the diaries. I may have missed it, but I have never seen a single front page post about the politics of energy.

Now, I understand that the Supreme Court nominations are more important today, and that the aftermath of Katrina rightly captures a lot of attention, but I am not talking just about recent days or weeks.

But if Katrina does not act like a wake up call on the energy front, what will?? Oil dependency, vulnerable production facilities, pollution, global warming impact on weather, all the warning signs are there.

Energy seems to be a political issue today, just like house prices, in so far as people complain about high gas prices and Democrats can make cheap points against Bush for these high prices. My strong contention that gas prices are still much too low (but will get a lot higher pretty soon by force if not by choice) falls on deaf ears beyond a small minority. The point that the behavior of Americans on the energy front is unsustainable is met with resistance, denial, or the naive belief that technology and innovation will provide the magic bullet, or with the argument that it is political suicide to talk about conservation, or energy taxes, or any other policy that would go towards mitigating the problem of over-consumption and addiction to energy of the USA.

Frankly, I feel I am part of a group seen as just as kooky as those that argue that Dems do not need to show support for the troops. Extremists. Unrealistic dreamers. Annoying doomsayers. Traitors?

Let me say it it here loud and clear. Most of the people in that group are neither extremists not kooks nor dreamers. Quite the opposite, it is the most amazing and knowledgeable and reality-based group of people. I have learnt more here about energy in a year than I ever knew, and this is the sector that I work in for a living. We have a base of specialised knowledge and expertise and competence that I doubt can be equalled anywhere else. And it's all free. And yet, just as I write the diaries, they recommend them and discuss them, and many of us feel ignored and shunned.

The water temperature is rising, and we are all the proverbial frog slowly boiling to its death, oblivious to its fate. Let's not wait for the energy crisis to become so acute as to overwhelm our economies to react, for the outcome will only be war or misery or both. Let's put this issue on the political front stage, loudly and persistently.

Take the "poll" to show that you care.

Originally posted to Jerome a Paris on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 01:33 PM PDT.


I read this diary and

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Comment Preferences

  •  say it, brother, say it...n/t (4.00)
    •  What Me Worry? (none)
      Why gas just dropped back below $3.00 a gallon in Napa, CA this week!

      Regular Unleaded is as low as $2.89 a gallon in Northern CA!

      With the EU threatening to send the US some cheap gas, the Irans threatening to send 20 million barrels of oil, and the Venezuelans threatening to send the poor in the US gasoline at $1.33 a gallon, you just know that there is something afoot to keep the HUMMER people feeling superior.

      The Bushiters have a lot more insultin', invadin',  and destroyin' to get the price back up!

      Peak Oil is just commie, America-hating LIBRUL bushit.


      Lefty Limblog - It is time to WIN instead of "Appease and Cringe". Fight the Rethugs!

      by LeftyLimblog on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 03:04:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  $10/ gallon in the UK (4.00)
        The vast slumbering mass of Americans are easily led by the car advertisers and the RWCM, lately controlled by the Bushites.  The whole time this latest price spike for gas was happening did not see any alteration in the standard commercials for "powerful" cars with bigger, more gas-hungry engines.  

        Americans will deny reality until it slaps them in the face, UK drivers will certainly be cutting back with $10/gallon gas!

        Please keep working on your diaries Jerome, I'm one of the "regulars" who always recommends them, and we've all learned a lot by pooling our knowledge.

        Don't spend time worrying about Markos or Armando, they are more focused on the standard political infighting instead of looking at the big picture.  But you get plenty of exposure here, there are lots of lurkers who check out any of the "recommended" diaries.  Personally I would rather have a peer-reviewed diary recommended than have one selected by the local king-makers.

    •  Yeah, I know and I agree.. (4.00)
      But, Jerome, part of the problem, I saay again "part" is that in 1973 and then again in 1979, was it, the whole subject was done to absolute fucking death.  When I returned to my rooms after winter break, the University had turned off the heat until the start of classes.  We then began the study of energy.  Over and over and over again.  Examined it in minute detail.  Knew exactly what we had to do.  Actually did some of it.

      Then the problem went away.  Until the next time, and we were riding our bikes to work.  Gassing up the car was an entire afternoon's effort.  Again we knew what we had to do.  Actually did some of it, again.  

      Then the problem went away. Until the gulf war I.  Repeat.  Then the problem went away, until now.  And everybody is worn out on the subject.

      IN about 1973, there was one of those cartoons in the New Yorker that stick in your head.  Guy is in a car dealership and a salesman is showing him a gigantic, incredibly elaborate automobile.  The man looks nonplussed.  The caption is the salesman saying, "Go ahead and enjoy yourself while you can/.  We'll all be driving little electric kiddy cars soon enough."

      So these are the two halves of the country.  THose who get it and want to enjoy it while they can and the rest whose experience is that someone is crying wolf. The  

      Peak oil is actually a good thing for the planet, and for American security, because it marks the point where alternatives become economically feasible and desireable.  


      Which minority group would Jesus hate?

      by NorCalJim on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 04:28:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Approach it from another angle (4.00)
        If I may...

        What happens to communities when people no longer can travel 60-80 miles for work or play?  What do we want to do to make our communities liveable in the range that we can walk or bike to?

        I welcome it.  See it - the future could be nice, holding aside the financial privations -which I understand will not be minor.  But maybe we band together more, plant and maintain community kitchens and farms or cooperatives to get farmers to bring in food.  Maybe the elderly don't drown alone in homes without loving care givers nearby.  Maybe we SEE each other for the first time...

        I know - there are down sides to small as well.  But we havent experienced that large scale in a while...

        In Cuba, after the soviet pull out, they had to learn how to do a lot of stuff without gas and oil.  One of these was to abandon the use of the tractor for a lot of planting.  They brought back their oxen and horses.  They found that the oxen's hooves did a much better job of aerating the soil - Tractors compacted soil, making it less receptive to plants..

        Anyway...I don't want to make this into a paen on the virtues of the rural life.  Lord knows, I am a city girl at heart.  But I am trying to prepare my heart and head for change - major change.  We need to be ready...

        Stop Looking For Leaders - WE are the Leaders!!!

        by SwimmertoFreedom04 on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 05:07:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe....maybe not (none)
          I hope we become more "local".   But solution sets in transportation functions are often counterintuitive.   A huge amount of transportation cost is in material handling, which is why trucking is often cheaper than rail, not just due to road subsidies.   My fear is that this is only going to accelerate the Walmartization of America, not attenuate it.

          Which minority group would Jesus hate?

          by NorCalJim on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 10:30:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  As you said about shouting in the street... (none)
      I think many of us here feel a sense of futility.  When I started here, I read all of your diaries.  I have only read them occasionally recently  because I felt I knew where they were going, and what could I do?

      Your diary is a rewake up call.  Before anything can be done, the national consciousness must change.

      Maybe when the War on Science ends.  At least, as long as science wins.

    •  jerome (none)
      have you ever considered the u.s. govt might be doing the only thing that can be done: letting prices rise so that people will alter their behavior and conserve out of financial necessity.

      i think the govt has directly and indirectly let it be known that everyone should conserve. and has been doing so for several decades.  

      •  not really (none)
        What the Bush government might be doing is allowing prices to rise so their friends make billions, if not trillions in profits.  Then they tell the American people there is nothing that can be done about it and if you can't afford it then drive less, chop wood- whatever...

        Past administrations (Carter, Clinton) have been much more forward thinking and honest with the American people about energy and the environment.  This administration, even if they know the absolute worst will not admit it because it goes against everything they believe in.  Why encourage people to ditch their Hummers when you can go out and take the worlds last drops of oil by force?

      •  well... (none)
        you mean, (i) a smart policy from this administration (ii) for which they do not take credit?!

        "for several decades"? Surely you're joking? Six years ago, energy was the cheapest it had ever been.

        European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe
        in the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)

        by Jerome a Paris on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 12:53:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Jérôme for President (again)! (none)
      Let's put together a fund to bring J. a P. over here and get him his citizenship papers.  Of course he won't come, because his country has an intelligent energy policy which helps to make France a pleasant place to live.

      Seriously, I believe part of the reason people's eyes glaze over when I say "energy" and "policy" in the same sentence is that it seems like a big abstraction.

      In reality, your fuel oil bill, your electric bill, your kids' bronchial problems, increasingly violent and disruptive weather patterns, epidemics, drought and famine in Africa, species extinction, and in general the prospects for our children and grandchildren are all real things that are happening to us and around us.

      From a technological point of view, there are a lot of energy solutions that we could be using and/or enhancing.  For example, from a technical point of view, there is no obstacle to safely storing nuclear waste.  The failure of Yucca Mountain is a political failure and a case of mindboggling stupidity on the part of contractors and DOE.

      So I consider just about any energy problem you want to raise a political problem first and foremost.  And I think that energy issues are part of the tragedy of the commons--they are nobody's particular problems and everyone's problems.

      We have stayed in ignorance for many reasons; important among them is the denial of climate change in the US where governments have failed to give their climate scientists the support they needed. The Green lobbies, which should have given priority to global warming, seem more concerned about threats to people than with threats to the Earth, not noticing that we are part of the Earth and wholly dependent upon its well being. It may take a disaster worse than last summer's European deaths to wake us up.

      --James Lovelock

  •  People will take (4.00)
    it seriously when (if) your predictions come true.  I, as you know, am a skeptic and believe that much of the high price of oil is currently due to speculation that will be wrung out over the next several months to a year.  However, if gas hits (and remains) at $4+ or oil hits triple digits, you will be the most recommended diarist on the site.
    •  (if) the predictions come true (4.00)
      its too late, we've lost the game, set and match.
    •  And i cannot thank you enough (4.00)
      for bringing in contrarian views in these threads and making us confront our arguments to well-reasoned objections.

      As you say, the crisis is not certain. I certainly hope that we can avoid it, and I'd like some policy prescriptions that improve the chance of that to be followed...

      European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe
      in the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)

      by Jerome a Paris on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 01:45:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We need the mind blowing facts as bait. (4.00)
        I agree that this is, by any standard, the most important issue we face, even in the next couple of years.

        If we can get just one mind-jarring fact into the top of each energy-related diary, it might get the issue moving here.

        I'll start. If we take all the:

        "economically recoverable oil from the Arctic Refuge all at once (3.2 billion barrels) and combined it with the amount we produce annually from all other U.S. sources (2.1 billion barrels), we still would not meet one year's U.S.demand for oil (7.1 billion barrels)."

        Sierra Club

        •  Remember Gore's failure. (4.00)
          It seems to me that facts rarely get in the way of most Americans' established routines.  They're too easy to shrug off or ignore, especially when the alternatives requires sacrifice.  

          Case in point: a massive landslide of scientific thought vs. a couple industry hacks = global warming "controversy".

          I'm with Lakoff.  We need to find emotionally resonant ways to discuss these issues, and regrettably I don't think that such statistics, as compelling as you and I think them to be, will suffice.

          An alternate strategy: the Apollo Alliance's messaging.

          •  I was only referring to getting THIS audience (none)
            interested. Otherwise you are right.
          •  How about: (none)
            "You all gonna fucking die!!!!" Or something to that effect. I once commented in a thread that Peak Oil is the single most important issue of lices and everything else discussed on DailyKos is navel gazing. People shouted me down.

            "Lou Brock was a great base stealer, but today, I am the greatest!" -- Oakland A Rickey Henderson

            by friday durdikova on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 04:01:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Finding the frame. (4.00)
            This is a hard one to frame though, because by its nature it's complex and doesn't easily lend itself to a simple and quick frame.
            I think we're better off trying to use a number of different frames, all of which can be used to encompass the energy issue:

            Energy Independence

            Those are all frames that are easily understood. The difficulty is translating them into concrete action, and policies that the public will accept. The first step is pushing those frames so the public is "primed" for the hard choices that are ahead. We can't move to policy until the frame is ingrained though.

            •  Stick and carrot (none)
              If there's one thing that conservatives can't stand, it's being dependent on others.  Especially foreign powers.  That's the stick.

              The carrot is the high-tech job potential of a homegrown alternative energy sector.

              Seriously, Apollo Alliance has the frame!  God, I want to work for them.

      •  The Rule of Three (4.00)

        My own rule of three is pretty straightforward and it's simply an empirical observation of political and administrative processes: in any group, organization, or polity, no change that involves costs is made unless there are at least three good reasons to do so.

        Why? Because of limited time and (yes) energy.

        Change always involves the time and energy involved in making the change occur. It also always involves the time and energy involved in getting those who don't care on board, and the time and energy involved in getting those who resist to get out of the way.

        So there are (at least) three factions that have to be addressed, and each faction has different issues that must be addressed.

        Those issues fall into three categories: issues of principle, issues of equity, and issues of pragmatic detail.

        If a given pitch is well crafted, the three reasons can cover the three factions and the three categories. If the pitch isn't simple enough to cover three factions and three categories of issues, it's too complicated to put across in most people's attention span.

        And add to that, whatever respect I have for his efforts to put together this site, to build the netroots, let me say as affectionately as possible: Markos, like most urban Democrats, is environmentally and technologically illiterate in terms of understanding the larger systems on which our whole civilizatino is utterly dependent. But they do understand JOBS and VOTES, so any pitch to that demographic has to be about JOBS and VOTES first, foreign policy second, energy policy third, and environmental policy last. And this is a smart demographic. The really stupid demographics are even tougher to pitch something like energy policy reform to.

        There is one more thing: in order for your pitch to work, there has to be at least one party who has such a stunning potential benefit/profit if it goes through that s/he/they are willing to invest an enormous amount of resources over a long period of time in order to make it come about. (So there's no lobby for decentralized energy solutions, because nobody has figured out a way to aggregate the savings and take a cut for themselves).

        My apologies if this is too meta and not practical enough, but I think the analysis is structurally sound.

      •  I will say it like this... (none)
        Some people like to have a conversation.

        Some people like being ranted at.

        I say this as a person who often rants at other people!  Yes, I know who I am.

        Many of your diaries have the tone of "you stupid people just don't get it" while your comments have the tone of "I understand your point and it makes sense, what do you think of this point?"

        I think if your diaries had the tone of your comments and your comments had the tone of your diaries you would sell your point of view.  I really do!

        Americans are Ranters who don't like being ranted at.  We just are!  I happen to enjoy a good rant, but that is just me.

        Finally, we care a hell of a lot about energy policy!  But we here at Dkos and the other liberal blogs need to get people in office who are actually going to listen to anything we have to say on the matter.  At his point it is like spitting in the wind.

        We are trying to do that now.

        In the mean time, keep writing your diaries, so we can keep arming ourselves with facts when we run into our right wing friends.

        Thanks Jerome!

        I am so far to the left I can almost see the right again.

        by beagleandtabby on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 02:51:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for the feedback (none)
          I'll try to keep it in mind for the next diary!

          European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe
          in the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)

          by Jerome a Paris on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 03:05:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Can I respond to you here? (4.00)
            Woody Allen said it best:

            "We develop small problems we know we can solve to take our minds off the fact that we don't want to deal with the big ones."

            ...or words to that effect.

            So we talk about polls and Plamegate and Brownie's resignation and all the stuff that makes us feel like we're getting somewhere, even though Armageddon is whispering to us from just over the horizon. Even liberals cringe at the idea - one with which I very much agree - that gas is still too cheap. Why? 'Cause were busy addressing problems we think we can solve.

            But please don't let that stop you because, in a rather circuitious way, tackling those "solvable" problems - namely getting rid of these motherfuckers - is the first and most critical step toward one day addressing the issue about which you've so passionately written. As long as we've got Bush and Frist and DeLay and Scalia running the show, your message will never get beyond the choir.

            But that doesn't mean you get to quit.

            So keep doing your energy diaries and keep getting recommended. Everyone - and I mean EVERYONE - agrees with what you're saying. But it's going to take groups of people tackling the small, solvable problems for a good time to come before we can make any real headway on energy.

            Besides, if we fail to put adults in charge in '06 & '08, you'll at least have the satisfaction of being able to say "I told you so."

            And that's gotta be worth something!

            •  Exactly so.... (none)
              I'm recalling that local officials in Santa Barbara, where median home prices are somewhere in the $1 million range, had a program to build a couple dozen "below market" rental housing units, awarded them through a lottery system, and then declared victory.

              This is an old political game.  Do something small that addresses a tiny portion of a very big problem, and try to create the impression that you've added a major initiative to your resume.

              Bush's "energy plan" falls into this category.

          •  On the other hand, I didn't notice (4.00)
            anything condescending in your diaries, Jerome; but certainly today I sense your frustration. (I don't know if you have seen Welshman's diary today but all of Europe is mad at us. Can't say I blame you.)

            I think that most of us don't talk about it because we are not technically knowledgeable about it in the way that you and some other kossacks are.

            I am more hopeful that our energy problems, while not well-understood by most people, are going to begin to emerge as a serious issue in coming months.

            I think that we should prepare for it. We should start doing educating ourselves and doing Internet teach-ins now about multiple energy issues so that we force a thoroughgoing discussion in the coming months. It has to be an election issue.

            The Democrats will be better at reality-based social and economic policy. We should be able to bowl the nation over with a comprehensive, attractive, rational, sane energy plan.

            Republicans will have two ideas: cut corporate taxes and drill for oil in Alaska (and while you're at it, take over Alberta). As is usual with them, unless they are thinking about killing or dominating people, there will be no imagination, no vision.

            Can we drown Grover Norqvist in his bathtub?

            by lecsmith on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 04:49:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  FWIW (none)
            I completely disagree with the comment you responded to in this comment. I find your diaries informative, easy to read, and very interesting. Not condescending at all.
          •  You're half right, Jerome - (4.00)
            At the national level, there is little attention to energy policy and its impacts on, well, everything - foreign policy, the environment, trade, the economy, etc. The reason, in part, is the oil and coal industry have spent 100 years completing their stranglehold on DC (e.g. American Enterprise Institute is basically Exxon; GOP is basically, um, Exxon; etc.)

            But a little-known fact (at least, apparently, on this blog): the states are fed up with DC's approach to oil-first, oil-last energy politics, and there is actually a lot changing at the state level. States are suing the feds on air quality, on carbon, and passing their own efficiency and renewables laws that they can't convince a laissez-fairre Congress to address. States are conspiring to force higher vehicle fuel economy. States are rejecting new coal plants - one just got killed in Kentucky - KENfuckinTUCKY! - on the basis of air pollution. Whoda thunk?

            Short version: The action on energy is not in D.C.

            I obviously share your frustration over American's ignorance of energy issues, but Americans also don't have the first clue how Government functions, let alone their DVD player.

            As you mentioned, money is the essence of American culture, and energy is becoming an issue because suddenly, Americans are having to pay for it. I think that's a good thing.

            The real threat is cheap energy from coal. If we can defeat old king coal (and we must), America will muddle through somehow, as we always have, with plenty of bitching and moaning and far more suffering than would seem necessary in a modern society. But the very notion of America is predicated on lying to ourselves about energy - that includes many on this site - so I think, while I fully empathize with your angst (obviously!), I would counsel patience. Pain is the only real agent of change in America, always has been, probably always will be.

            I am the federal government.

            by mateosf on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 11:40:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Right! (none)
          "Finally, we care a hell of a lot about energy policy!  But we here at Dkos and the other liberal blogs need to get people in office who are actually going to listen to anything we have to say on the matter.  At his point it is like spitting in the wind."

          Now - how do we get this guy into politics:

          George Bush is an unnatural disaster.

          by michele2 on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 04:08:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  BTW (4.00)
        JP, another source I have has told me that he has been told directly by onsite managers that Ghawar is indeed maxed out. Beyond maxed out actually, now bordering on negligently over-pulled with a 50% plus water cut.

        Read UTI, your free thought forum

        by DarkSyde on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 02:55:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  YIKES!!! (none)
          I think Simmons said the water content was at 30% in his book. This is truly scary.
        •  insert "blinking siren" graphic here (4.00)

          If that's true (and I have yet to see you post anything that turned out to be untrue)....

          .... then we are likely to have a HUGE energy crisis on our hands -- globally -- at any moment.  Simmons warned very specifically that over-use of water pressure can damage a field suddenly, wholly, and irreversibly.  He said that this could happen in Ghawar if current use of water-cuts continues.... and now we have your source here saying that the use of water-pressure to extract the oil is going past the danger point as Simmons warned.

          I don't mean to sound like a Chicken Little here, but... BRAWWWK!! Seriously... DarkSyde, if you can get more specific information, and if you are safe in posting it (without endangering your friend's career) -- this is MAJOR news.  If Ghawar is indeed on the brink of collapse, we need to know.  Thanks for sharing what you can.

          •  Several sources (none)
            tell me the water cut has been 30-50% for several years now but I don't think that's big news to folks who follow it. The field has probably been overpulled, but it is a huge resevior so it isn't likely to collapse like a Texas duster overnight. Someone who may be able to tell you more about it is Glenn Morton. He has a lot of contacts in the biz.

            Read UTI, your free thought forum

            by DarkSyde on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 10:16:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Jerome, I think I can answer your question (4.00)
        I have two words for you, Richard Clarke.

        Remember him? Nobody listened to him. They all thought he was a seriously deranged nut. Until 9/11.

        Americans, forgive me, by and large are disengaged and stupid. Yes stupid. They live only for today, one need only look at the zero savings rate. America is about immediacy, I want what I want and I want it now.

        Add to this, the reality that crises are cascading. How many battles can we fight. There are immediate battles: Mr. Roberts, an unelected (likely criminal) president, an illegal war, now revealed, post-Katrina that we have no homeland security, unaffordable healthcare, 46 million uninsured, the list goes on and on.

        These are immediate and tangible crises to Americans, certainly progressive Americans.

        Once the energy crisis manifests itself in a very painful way, Americans will demand some quick fix. You need only ask, why was there no political will to invest in the levees protecting New Orleans, because in the American psyche, the day of reckoning never comes, bad things only happen to other people.

        So the looming energy disaster, and that is what it is, a disaster, will be dealt with only when it can no longer be ignored.

        by nyceve on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 03:29:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Stupid" the wrong word (none)
          "Ignorant" is a better word.  But I don't think insulting people is the best way to persude them.

          There is no reason to believe that Americans are genetically inferior to Europeans or Asians. So something else must be the cause.  I think it lies in the information the people receive.

          Advertising, media, everything in America screams at us to consume things now.  Good solid information on the costs and consequences are not easy to come by.

          Education and information are what are required.  Abuse doesn't really help.

          •  I think people are generally pretty rational... (none)
            They're responding to the price signals they get, just the way economists say they should.  Europeans, despite the high price of gasoline, have been moving to the suburbs and buying cars for years.  You don't see them, because when you go visit Paris you stay inside the old city.  They trade off the price of gasoline with other quality of life factors (as they perceive them).  In the U.S., they opt for better schools, less crime, more parks, less crowds, yadda yadda, and they're willing to pay the commute costs, up to a certain point.  Then they start buying more fuel efficient cars, and at some point, their employers start moving out to the suburbs too.
        •  The problem is, there is no (none)
          .."quick fix", and this transition away from oil is going to be absolutely wrenching to this country and for the world.  Be careful what you wish for.
      •  I read your diaries most of the time (4.00)
        and I recommend them, but I don't really participate in the discussions.  I am somewhere between knowing and accepting the reality, and wanting to stick my head in the sand about it because it is overwhelming and very frightening.  That place does not do me much good, because I end up losing sleep anyway.  I don't know what to do to help change things.
        •  one thing to do... (4.00)
          I don't know what to do to help change things.

          This may seem silly, but one thing that is universal to all Americans: food. We all eat, and most of what we eat comes from far away on trucks that use energy inefficiently.  Any thing you can grow is something that doesn't have to be shipped to you.

          Within living memory, in America, most people gardened, and got produce locally, if they didn't themselves garden. Chickens can be raised almost anywhere, and they convert kitchen scraps and bugs into the best protien a human body can utilise. My grandfather used to raise rabbits for meat.

          If you are too utterly urban, you can cultivate a relationship with someone who does garden, through Community Supported Agriculture programs.

          May not sound like much, but if everybody did it...

          (the thing is, we aren't actually going to have a lot of choice in the matter. It's just gonna get too expensive to ship all that produce across the country, and that's a good thing.)

          don't always believe what you think...

          by claude on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 07:11:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Chickens and other garbage recyclers (none)
            I live in a small town in rural Bavaria, and my landlord wants anything that goes a little bad in my refrigerator for his chickens.  I didn't realize they would eat just about anything, but they will.  My landlady gets most of the eggs she needs for their little restaurant from the flock.  Don't know if they're purely an egg-laying flock, or if he's also raising them to eat eventually.  Either way, my slightly-off broccoli becomes nice, fresh eggs.

            He also has a large cage of pigeons by the chicken coop.  I haven't asked what they're for, but I assume they will be a featured dish at the restaurant soon... (and we all know pigeons are non-fussy eaters)  Pigeons are, after all, just another type of dove.

            Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely in my name.

            by A Texan in Maryland on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 01:03:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  chicken eat everything (none)
              they even clear up after our dogs - yuck, I am sure you did not want to know that....

              "Ey Buddy, if you don't like America leave it!"
              "And be a victim of its foreign policy? I don't think so."

              by PeWi on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 10:42:04 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Not every place will allow chickens (none)
            Most towns won't, most suburbs won't. If you live in a rural area, you can have pretty much whatever you want. Most people don't live in rural areas anymore.

            If you have a yard, you can of course have a garden - if you have time to take care of it.

            Even 200 yrs ago, people who lived in cities didn't raise their own food. It didn't have to come far, but it wasn't in their backyard.

          •  Industrial agriculture (4.00)
            All food produced by industrial means--factory farms, feedlots, whatever--involves petroleum. Crops are sprayed with insecticides, animals doused in it--with solutions that are petroleum-based. As the cost of petroleum rises, so will the cost of industrialized food, even before factoring in transportation costs.

            And eating non-chemicalized food takes away a major component of weakening your immune system. It is no accident that we have an epidemic of cancer in this country.

            Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war. -- Donald Rumsfeld

            by Mnemosyne on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 07:05:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Fertilizer (none)
              Most agricultural fertilizers are made from natural gas as a feedstock.  The current increases in price have raised the cost to farmers significantly.  They are actively seeking alternatives, which is a good thing.  
          •  Food is so important! (none)
            Yeah, not a surprising comment by someone who goes by "DrFood!"  Many of you reading this have access to a CSA, and many others can do things to produce your own food, like growing tomatoes and other veggies (I grew tomatoes on my porch when I lived in Los Angeles, and the next two years I had a community garden plot) or even raising your own chickens for eggs (meat is a bit more complex and not recommended for city folk--eggs are easy, you don't need a rooster).  See below (above?) for a link about city chickens, and just google "community supported agriculture" for opportunities and information.
        •  there are LOTS of things you can do (none)
          I'd like to put in a plug for a great little book from the Union of Concerned Scientists called the Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices.  This book really helped me understand which decisions I make as an individual really have the greatest environmental impact.  (e.g., one of the things they tell you is not to stress about paper vs. plastic)

          Anyway, the book recommends that the two most effective things you can do as an individual to help the environment are...

          1.  Drive less
          2.  Eat less meat

          •  Or: eat less agribusiness meat (none)
            I do feel if you buy meat that was raised on a small-scale farm, you're not doing the harm that comes with industrial meat production.  Organic farming works better when animals are part of the nutrient cycle.  I pay over $2/pound for pastured chicken, knowing that I'm buying a product that's healthier for my kid and for the planet.  My point is that you don't have to become a vegetarian, although unless you're fairly wealthy, you will be cutting back on the quantity of meat.
      •  Seed money... (4.00)
        Jerome, is one policy approach.

        My wife, an elementary school teacher, was given a computer for her classroom, another for her home, and one for each student in her class.  Other fourth grade classes, same thing, plus a computer 'lab'.  This was in the early '90s, and was a cooperative effort of some large businesses ($$), the government, and local school board initiatives.

        It was the most brilliant thing that could possibly have been done, at the time, in my opinion, because it introduced a lot of students to a whole new universe of things they weren't already afraid of and offered a 'free' chance to try them out.  I'd wager that these original recipients almost all continue to have a computer, at their own expense, now, and will continue to embrace new technology.

        Of course, computer technology did take off, and might well have done so in our area even without the added impetus given by the free computers.

        The US government began to do a similar thing in the '70s, and was giving tax and other incentives to both individuals and businesses to encourage growth and development of alternative energy based approaches.  In my opinion if it had continued it would be an entirely different ball game today.  Instead conservatives blew away all those not yet viable initiatives when Reagan came into power, and it has been a downhill slide for any long term, farsighted developments, ever since.

        There can be little doubt that corporatist interests played a significant role in this situation, and may be totally dominant today.  Corporations cannot have the interests of the public at large in mind, since profit is their only motive.

        At the cutting edge, seed money as policy could make a difference.  Before that, however, removing the unbridled profit motive (citizen status) from corporations may be utterly necessary.

        But one thing seems clear to me as absolutely essential.  Humankind must learn to live within it's means on this planet, and that means smaller populations.  Limited enough, and man's activities on this earth will not upset the natural equilibrium which, I believe we have begun to see slip away, even as we dither...

        Whew!!!  Wanted to say that to more than just my wife, poor beleaguered soul, for years and years.


        •  What do you mean (none)
          by 'smaller populations'?  What does that entail exactly?

          You're right, seed money is a huge thing that could be done, if anyone with the power had the will.

          •  Fewer people... (none)
            -choose your 'poison'...

            If humanity means anything different than other populations of living things, we will prove it only if we don't pollute and procreate beyond the limits of the system to absorb our presence. We will thrive if we don't ask as much of the planet as it can give.  We're close, already, I think.


      •  I try to recommend (none)
        all your diaries on this topic. Sometimes I miss them though and if one of them is already on the recommend list, sometimes I don't add my recommendation. However in the future I will ALWAYS recommend your diaries on this topic.

        I happen to agree with you though, this is going to be a catastrophe of biblical proportions and it is essentially being ignored, on this site and everywhere else. Also the turds will use this to their advantage and create a police state and a REAL WWIV.

      •  besides (none)
        the u.s. govt has already made its decision: america is taking the smash and grab military route to handle the problem.
        •  True enough... (none)
          They're like lemmings, breaking into a gallop as they approach the cliff.  They're going to hasten the day when the oil runs out, and then the transition will be accompanied by war, depression, dislocation, and extreme poverty.  They figure they'll all be dead when it happens.
      •  Does the US left have to embrace nuclear power? (4.00)
        It's one thing to embrace conservation and renewable fuels but there is still a massive gap to close as oil supplies diminish. I know France has a far different view of nuclear power than the US, focused more on the benefits than the drawbacks. My very rudimentary understanding (cribbed from this PBS special) is that France openly states that all storage is temporary because nuclear waste must be attended to and monitered for danger. This distinction has eased local opposition to permanent storage of nuclear waste because of fears it would be forgotten. I hope you can write about nuclear energy as a compliment to your other energy diaries in the future.

        Waste disposal at Yucca Mountain here in the US is a very controversial project and considered an unwanted nuclear graveyard. Maybe if it was considered a waypoint and an active facility rather than burial site for waste it would be more acceptable.

        "A whole lotta HOOAH and not enough DO-AH." - Lt. Gen. Russel Honore

        by joejoejoe on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 10:13:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know Nuc Power is scary (4.00)
          It has an incredibly high energy density and the risks are ones that most people don't understand.

          However: coal fired power plants release more radioactive material into the environment on a yearly basis than all nuclear power plants have, ever. In fact, there is enough Uranium in the annual waste (ash and gas) from coal fired plants in the US to refuel all the US nuclear power reactors. Horribly wasteful.

          Coal power is far scarier.

          Natural gas power is cleaner, but I think we can all see the problems with too much dependence on NG. Both in resource depletion and CO2 emissions.

          We are close to maxxed on fresh water hydroelectric in North America, and solar and wind do not have the energy density to support our industry and lifestyle in the US and Canada by themselves.

          Personally, I don't see where we have the freedom as a society to not use nuclear power to the best of our ability.

          •  And Don't Forget about Coal's Mercury Poisoning (4.00)
            Which the current EPA, unbelievably, acknowledged is causing far more disabilities in newborn HUMAN BABIES than they believed. And yet, because the industry is a friend of Cheney-Bush, they do not have invest in filters until 2017.
          •  Hydro-electric (none)
            In western Canada most of our electricity comes from hydro-electric. Clean, a renewable resource.... We supply power to much of the west coast of the US through the power grids. There could be many more dams and power plants - they are on the drawing board, but have been stopped for environmental reasons and costs and other reasons, mostly political. But the potential is there for many more plants.
          •  i was opposed to nuclear power... (none)
            ...back in the 1980s, on the basis that the waste disposal issue hadn't been solved and there were still operational safety issues.

            Since that time, France has demonstrated success in recycling nuclear waste into new nuclear fuel to the extent possible with current technology (and further improvements are possible).  By now they have something like a 20-year track record in this area, with no accidents or problems.  

            Also since that time, a number of new reactor designs have been developed, which are intrinsically safe: in the event of a loss of coolant or other critical systems malfunction, the fission reaction shuts itself down: there is no need for complex safety systems, the reaction simply stops on its own.  

            So at this point I believe the significant issues have been solved, and there's nothing standing in the way of going full-ahead with nuclear construction.  

            As it turns out, nuclear is also the best foundation for renewables, aside from hydroelectric.  The intermittency of wind limits it to 20% of grid capacity, otherwise grid instability issues occur: think of water sloshing around in a bowl, by analogy for power sloshing around the grid depending on local wind strengths at any given moment.  Solar is coming along nicely and should be possible to handle another 30% of grid capacity during daytime hours in good sun areas.  Conservation can produce the equivalent of a 30% increase in capacity.  

            With all that, there is still a serious need for "firm and dispatchable power" from sources whose output can be controlled moment-to-moment.   Think of a hydro dam where you can vary the amount of water going through the turbines as needed.  Locations with good hydro can use that, but locations without, need something else.  

            That's where nuclear comes in.  And we'll need a lot of it to make ends meet.  So let's get building.  

        •  Obstacles to increasing nuclear power in US... (none)
          ...are entirely political.  From a technical point of view, it all can be done cleanly and safely, from mining, refining, plant operation, and dry-cask or deep-geological waste disposal.

          It's a curious thing that it's OK with people if there are 32,000 premature deaths in the US every year as a result of coal combustion (and this does not include mercury poisoning and effects of greenhouse gases and global warming) but those same people are worried about whether some race of beings 100,000 or 1 million years from now will dig deep into a mountain or half a mile down under a desert floor and get exposed to a few millirems not much higher in number than natural background radiation.

      •  Looks (4.00)
        like some economists don´t believe any longer in a low oil price in the next years. (Found at the Oil Drum.)

        Oil may average $84 a barrel next year, $93 in 2007, and $100 in the fourth quarter of 2007, as demand outpaces supply, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce's chief economist said, jumping ahead of other analysts who are trying to catch up with surging prices.
         ``We estimate that 1.8 million barrels per day of consumption must be squeezed out next year through the impacts of higher prices,'' Rubin wrote. The gap between supply and demand grows as much as 3 million barrels a day by 2008. Global oil needs are almost 84 million barrels a day now.

         The 50 percent rally in oil this year stymied forecasters. They predicted an average $39 a barrel this year, according to the median of 24 analysts, strategists and economists Bloomberg surveyed last December. Oil touched a record $70.85 in New York on Aug. 30, a day after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. The average price so far this year is $54.77.
         Other firms are also raising their forecasts. Morgan Stanley's chief economist, Stephen Roach, said this week that he now expects an average price of $64 a barrel for oil next year, and he lowered his global economic growth forecast as a result.

        Goldman Sachs & Co.'s commodity strategists, including Steve Strongin, raised their 2006 forecast to $68 on Aug. 18. Arjun Murti, a Goldman Sachs equity analyst who tracks oil producers, roiled markets when he said in March that a ``super spike'' could lift prices as has as $105 a barrel. Even as he made that prediction, he forecast an average price of $55 for all of 2006.

      •  First thing you've said that I disagree with! (none)
        I'm amazed!  You've said something I disagree with!  The crisis is certain.  But when it will fall on us is much less certain.  If that is what you meant, then I do agree.

        There is no doubt that world oil production will peak.  It may even already have done so.  The most optimistic sites i have been able to find put the peak out mid century, well within the lifetime of many people reading these words.

        I would not agree with the grandparent that current prices are mere speculation, mere profit sources for big oil.  There is some of that, to be sure.  But the main problem is that refining is at or near capacity all over the world and demand continues to rise.

        So why isn't the oil industry building additional refining capacity?  The simplistic answer is that they know the cost of doing so won't be offset by the amount of oil there is left to pump.

        The real answer is considerably more complicated.  The supply of "light, sweet" crude (which is oil that is free of mineral or sulfur contaminants) is dwindling fast.  The energy cost and refinery complexity for sulfurous oil, oil sands, and heavy oil is much greater.  The price of "oil" has to rise to make it economical to produce refined fuels from that.

        Keep going, Jerome.  This problem is real and right in front of us.  I came to dKos because a friend sent me links to your diaries.  Just keep putting this message up in the same rational, compelling way you have and it will sink in.

        As incredible as it may seem, I still trust the people to do the right thing once they have good information.  You've been delivering that.  Very well.

    •  When the predictions come true (none)
      Modern life is premised on cheap oil. Cheap oil is over. Anyone can do the math. However, it's scary and unpleasant to think about. People just go ahead on.

      Four-dollar gas? Triple-digit oil? By end of next year, easily. And that's just for openers.

      Maybe the best way to stir up interest would be to get a pool going...

      Meanwhile, keep up the good work, Jerome!

    •  When you say... (4.00)
      "...when (if) your predictions come true.  I, as you know, am a skeptic..." I gotta wonder what, exactly, if anytyhing, it's gonna take to shake you from your skepticism - cynicism - wishful thinking - denial?

      It's amazing to me how Jerome's take on the issues matches, in significant detail, the assessments and recommendations made back in 1979 by the folks at the Harvard Business School who put out Energy Future.

      Their table of contents could just as easily be a guide to Jerome's points -

      • The end of easy oil / Robert Stobaugh & Daniel Yergin
      • After the peak:the threat of imported oil / Robert Stobaugh
      • Natural gas:how to slice a shrinking pie / I.C. Bupp & Frank Schuller
      • Coal:constrained abundance / Mel Harwitch
      • The nuclear stalemate / I.C. Bupp
      • Conservation:the key energy source / Daniel Yergin
      • Solar America / Modesto A. Maidique
      • Conclusion:toward a balanced energy program / Robert Stobaugh & Daniel Yergin
      • Appendix : limits to models / Sergio Koreisha & Robert Stobaugh

    I'm pointing this out for 2 reasons -

    1. Great minds think alike, and Jerome's qualifications and approach to the topic seem to have led him to the same conclusions today as were reached almost thirty years ago by another group of experts.
    2. It doesn't seem to matter what gets said, or who says it, when it comes to energy policy, even when the conclusions are as inescapable as the nose on your face - inertia, wishful thinking, and denial, disguised as informed skepticism or detached cynicism, wins out over actually speaking up and doing something.

    The issue cries out for leadership. But the last leader who tried to bring it to our attention was elbowed aside by a grade-B actor who was already on his way to senility, because his message was more in tune to what we want in our movies - happy endings.

    Sadly, I also think that you're right when you say that people won't take notice until it exceeds their personal pocketbook limits. But as has already been stated - that's a luxury we can't afford.

"...psychopaths have little difficulty infiltrating the domains of...politics, law enforcement, (and) government." Dr. Robert Hare

by RubDMC on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 02:16:32 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

  •  The Ant and the Grasshopper (4.00)
    In a field one summer's day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart's content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.

    "Why not come and chat with me," said the Grasshopper, "instead of toiling and moiling in that way?"

    "I am helping to lay up food for the winter," said the Ant, "and recommend you to do the same."

    "Why bother about winter?" said the Grasshopper; we have got plenty of food at present." But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil.

    When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing, every day, corn from the stores they had collected in the summer.

    Then the Grasshopper knew: It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.

    --Aesop CA 660-520 B.C.

  •  Thought maybe Monday's discussion (4.00)
    scared you away.  I thought it was awesome and informative, some threads devolved into silliness, but on balance it was one of the best I've seen on dKos.   Awesome effort.  Keep up the good work, when the political types start looking around for some way to distinguish themselves from the repugs we'll have something to offer.


  •  I'm sorry Jérôme (4.00)
    I recommended another one of your diaries.


    But seriously, I've noticed the same thing, and I don't know what to say except maybe that many people here like "OMG BREAKING!!11!" soundbite diaries, where they can read a few sentences of analysis attached to a copy-and-paste excerpt of an article.

    Maybe too many cartoons and video games?

    Who knows.

    That doesn't mean I think you should start writing diaries like that, of course - no fucking way!

    But obviously, I'm cynical, and I know some people who have more or less stopped commenting altogether because of the shallow quality of many of the diaries (don't get me wrong, there are some great ones, but the majority are pretty thin).

  •  Volatile issue (4.00)
    and one that scares a lot of people myself included. I didn't plan on facing a new Depression at this stage in my life. I will vouch for the fact that I feel a visceral sense of avoidance at the topic of energy, knowing full well that is opposed to my best interests.

    All most people want is for the electricity to just work it's magic. You're talking about a lot of people here who rely on their computers, which have to be plugged in somewhere. The idea that the infrastructure has failed us, and we are on the precipice of some global realignment of wealth which will make life in America more difficult is an upsetting notion. Therefore I am not surprised you are experiencing resistence to the themes you raise.

    Keep it up, and keep fighting the good fight. People will eventually come around, but sadly, most people will not be spurred to act or inform themselves until their personal comfort is directly threatened. Human nature.

  •  I fully agree with you! (none)
    Hopefully it will not be to late by the time most of the others wake up.
  •  Congratulations (4.00)

    I just checked out your poll results and so far you're at 100% agreement. I don't think we should be satisfied until the dKos community gives you 110%!

    Seriously, I think you are performing a valuable service here. In many ways, I see your diaries as similar to the epic DarkSyde Katrina diaries: WAKE UP, PEOPLE, catastrophe looms!

    Please continue to hammer away at your message. There is a real didactic utility in repetition. In other words, learning is enhanced through repetition. By repeating the lesson, people can learn more effectively.

  •  Are You Aware (4.00)
    That Jon Tester wrote a diary about energy policy here a few days ago that didn't even make the recommended list?

    I have done a bit of writing on it myself but from the perspective that whatever the energy source, consumption needs to decrease... Transporation itself needs to be made less necessary, for example. That is because energy is not only a pollution issue, but also and economic issue and therefore, because of the vested and mighty interest in maintaining the lock on dollar flow, a heavy chain on liberty.

    9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

    by NewDirection on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 01:42:25 PM PDT

  •  It'd be hilarious if nobody replied to this diary! (none)
    But I've already spoiled it with my comment.

    I think you have a valid point - just as the draft would bring home the war to wealthy upper-class parents, the rising oil prices will bring home the cost of energy to people with inefficient gas-powered vehicles.

    British Petroleum put out a PR ad just recently that said it was looking for new energy sources.  And followed it up with talk about natural gas.  NATURAL GAS!  Another non-renewable resource!  It's as if these people are living in another universe, where petroleum squirts out of the petroleum cow and natural gas comes out of its ass.

    I'm saving money right now for a bio-diesel hybrid.  It'll be 2007 before they're commercially available, but if anybody knows a manufacturer, I would buy one now.  Methane is another resource that many farms are beginning to investigate.  I would love to drive a car powered by bottled cow farts!

    Hurricane Katrina is Bush's Monica Lewinsky. The only difference is 10,000 people weren't stranded in Monica Lewinsky's vagina. - Jon Stewart

    by Jensequitur on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 01:42:53 PM PDT

  •  The merger of science and sacrifice (4.00)
    I suspect plenty of Dkos members/visitors enjoy learning from your diaries.  I know I learn quite a lot from you and am inspired to look for more information.  Unfortunately, your diaries are (gasp!) based on science and economics.  They aren't easy or reactionary.  I suspect that many of us interact with this community during work hours, and diaries like yours are difficult to digest in-between phone calls and meetings.

    To the greater question of why energy policy isn't more of a rallying cry in general, it's because any change in energy policy will require (mostly economic) sacrifice.  Until it costs the American consumer a consistent $50 to fill a gas tank, very few people are serious about looking for an alternative.  Gas is, as you point out, still DIRT CHEAP, so self-interest hasn't kicked in.  Yet.  

    But thank you for helping to enlighten me on a consistent basis -- please don't stop.

    There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right with America. -- Bill Clinton

    by ThirstyGator on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 01:43:11 PM PDT

  •  That's the problem with DKos lately... (4.00)
    way to many diaries are scrolling away to oblivion while a thematic thread of diaries monopolizes the recommended list.  I think the example of RenaRF and thereisnospoon the other day was a great display of community spirit: RenaRF asked that people unrecommend her diary when she felt it had contributed all it could and encouraged people to look to spoon's diary, which included local updates and first hand accounts of the los angeles blackout.  Thereisnospoon followed suite, asking that people unrecommend an hour or two later when it became apparent the blackout was caused by human error rather than more sinister forces.

    Please consider asking people to unrecommend your diary after it has been up for a long while and everyone has had a chance to read it so the d kos community continues to have access to the fabulous bredth of expertise within our ranks.

  •  Energy is a serious topic (4.00)
    That's why you're getting no traction.  There haven't been any serious topics discussed broadly by Merkans in about ten years - maybe more.
    Now, as for Kossites - well, I'm one of the people who loves your posts.  Wish I could be more helpful.
  •  In the end, though before we are dead, (none)
    energy policy will be more important than who controls the White House or Legislature. And if it is ignored, many of the issues discussed on the front page will seem trivial.

    Keep up the good work Jerome.

    "The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets" , Christopher Morley

    by Chris Kulczycki on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 01:46:14 PM PDT

  •  Tactics vs policy (4.00)

    I believe that you have landed in a vulnerable spot for this blog.  While many of us are very smart, aware and interested in change, most conversations and actions here are related to tactics related to running for office rather than policy.  People don't have a receptor for knowing what to DO with your information.  Alternately, they know what to do about many tactical issues (write, call, send info, send money, link to, watch, read, listen to).  

    Emphasizing and doing something about energy policy is a very sophisticated and requires contacts and understanding about the inputs to that policy that people at Kos just dont have or don't understand fully - even as we know that we are in DIRE straights.  We (or speaking for myself) I don't know HOW to effect it.  

    I feel the same way about environmental issues that have gotten backburnered to being some sort of cocktail circuit topic rather than fundamental to our survival - e.g - clean water to drink, safe food to eat.

    Be patient with us - even as I acknowledge that we are running out of time.  What do we do besides write, read, speak out and vote for people?  I feel as though I have been screaming myself hoarse to our so called leaders.  

    On a personal level and the level that I can influence with my friends, we are trying to use less gas and carpool.  We are looking into converting to at least partial solar power (though I learned recently of the shortage of silicon for photopholtaic cells)

    Don't give up on us...we are wrestling with trying to put socks on an octopus.  If you have ideas of what we can do to organize better - or ways to prioritize the energy issue to make it easier to focus - please help us with that.  

    I am very concerned and want to do what is right and necessary.

    Stop Looking For Leaders - WE are the Leaders!!!

    by SwimmertoFreedom04 on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 01:46:22 PM PDT

  •  I think thayou t poll sums it up. (4.00)
    The reason people don't get excited is that it doesn't provoke much debate - there's only one answer.  Well, no, there are millions of answers, but we all agree that there has to be an answer.  That it's important.  But it's so much easier (and frankly, more entertaining) to bash people who have got something wrong than it is to figure out how to do something right.

    I agree, energy is THE vital issue.  Dammit, it's probably why we are at war with Iraq PLUS Katrina had huge implication for energy prices prices, and may even have been caused by global warming.

    I've got a bee in my bonnet about hydrogen cells.  I'd like to see hydrogen take off in a big way, NOT for vehicles, although that may come, but my fear is that if it is primarily developed for vehicles, all that will happen is that we will start using fossil fuels to generate hydrogen.  The exciting thing for me about hydrogen cells is that it makes a truly distributed energy system thinkable.  Once you can store energy efficiently near the point of use, then small scale sustainable energy sources become viable.  I'd like to see hydrogen cells developed for domestic power, with local hydrogen plants powered by small scale sustainable energy sources like heat pumps, solar energy, wind, or wave energy.

    Does that make any sense?

  •  Please don't give up (none)
    I find myself in complete agreement with you, even that gas prices are way too low.  I have felt this way for a long time.

    You obviously know a great deal about the field and express it so well - particularly your article of the 12th. There isn't much I can add. I call others attention to it.

    I simply don't believe most people will pay attention until it hurts.

    I don't think anything will change on oil policy until people realize the true value for other uses of what we are burning as fuel.

    All we can do is point it out, and get ourselves ready.

    With all due respect to others in the community, you'll see a cock's egg before you see leadership from the Democratic party.

  •  Sadly, This is as Good as it Gets (4.00)
    Some people in the House introduced a bill today:

    WASHINGTON, Sept 14 (Reuters) - A bipartisan group of U.S. House lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a bill that would require automakers to boost the fuel efficiency of new vehicles to an average 33 miles per gallon over the coming decade from the current 25 mpg.

    ricane Katrina's effect on U.S. gasoline supplies is a wake-up call for the nation to begin trying to slow oil demand growth, the lawmakers said. The United States is the world's biggest consumer of oil, and most of it is used for transportation.

    New York Republican Sherwood Boehlert and Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey said the stricter mileage standard proposed in their legislation would save an estimated 2.6 million barrels of oil per day by 2025.

    Environmental groups and many Democrats have called for stricter mileage standards for years but U.S. automakers have resisted, saying such changes would be costly to make and could result in lighter, less-safe vehicles for consumers.

    [emphasis mine]
  •  You're still having an impact. (4.00)
    The site's big enough now that I suspect that there are many, many readers who (like me) may be diffident about either chiming in on an issue where they're still educating themselves, or about recommending diaries.  And that's not even considering the people who come by the site and read, but who haven't felt the need to register.

    I know I make it a point to read the discussions of energy policy, and that they've had a significant impact on my thinking over the past few months.  I'm sure I'm far from the only one who's doing that, and whom you just don't hear from on any regular basis.  As people begin to feel they understand these issues enough to have something useful to say, I would expect the visible response to increase.  It's relatively simple to have something to say about things like the Plame leak, after all -- there's just not much of a learning curve there, and potential solutions aren't nearly as complex and difficult to formulate; and gossip is always easier than thinking about nonrenewable resources and intricate scientific issues.

    Anyway, my point (and I do have one) is, I think we do care about energy, collectively speaking.  We're just kind of scared and overwhelmed at the magnitude and difficulty of the issues.  But your work, and that of the other folks writing about the issue, are enormously useful in getting us to look at it and think about it, and probably have much more impact than is immediately visible.

  •  Holy Smokes, Jerome.... (4.00)
    Yours are THE BEST write ups on the subject of energy on any given day. I think lots of people are simply INTIMIDATED to make energy diaries!!

    I am pleased with the attention that energy/environment/science gets on this site, considering it is primarily a Democratic blog in the sense that it tracks races, D.C. activities, etc. closely first and foremost.

    I TOTALLY care, and I know most Kossacks do.

    Reigning Welterweight Female Piefighter since 1998

    by ablington on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 01:54:11 PM PDT

  •  I think (3.66)
    That part of the problem for me (and I'll only speak for me), is that I know what I can do to save energy - drive less, buy a hybrid, shut the lights off etc - but have no control over the delivery systems of energy (my power company monopoly, who supplies our oil, etc). So I'll read your posts and think "hey that's a good idea" there's no way for me in my little corner of the world to execute some of these ideas.  Nor am I in a position to influence someone of power to execute these ideas.

    I thought his title was president of the United States, not of Iraq. -- Patrick Maunder, Seattle

    by mlk on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 01:56:15 PM PDT

  •  The problem, you see, Jerome is... (4.00)
    ...what you're asking is about taking a stand. If Democrats take a stand, it can be used to attack them. Therefore, Democrats have learned to not stand for anything. Democrats today are about "getting along and not upsetting anyone." I mean that in the political sense, not the DKos member sense.

    As for why it isn't picked up more here, I would have to say it's because the Democrats as a whole don't really have any policy ATM. I know Howard Dean touched on it and I think Markos is probably concentrating on how to tranform the Democratic party before America draws it's last breath; The race is on!

    As such, I think you should be front paged at DKos to discuss energy policy and how addressing it or not addressing it will effect democrats. Ever since Jimmy Carter, Democrats have been afraid to try and deal with energy policy. It's much easier to go along to get along then it is to stand and fight for something that matters. Of course, you have to consider that energy policy is just one of many areas that are constantly under attack by the enemies of Democracy that, unfortunately, control America now.

    I do think, however, that the combination of Katrina and rising energy policies will get to the point where the Democrats can no longer avoid it. Especially if Delta and Northwest airlines end-up not being able to survive Chapter 11 reorganization. both of those airlines will reportedly be filing in the near future as a result of AvFuel prices. Of course, for all I know, they could just be doing that to drive wages down even further. As say that, because I no longer trust any large corporation or Republican and must consider tgeir motivations suspect in everything they do until proven innocent.

    Anyway, that's just my take on it. It hasn't cost the Americans that much, but now that they are beginning to feel the pain, I think that will change. I don't think you see the front pagers really addressing it simply because it hasn't been a factor in politics here in he past, except in terms of losing an election for mentioning we can't have everything we want. Americans, partly as a result of a right wing media that doesn't really want to inform the people are looking for people to tell them what they want to hear, not what they need to know. When enough Americans die from it, then America will care. I can't say whether or not Katrina was enough in that regard (In terms of the country as a whole, not the people here, obviously ;).

    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it. -Tom Paine

    by Alumbrados on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 01:57:02 PM PDT

  •  well jerome, as one of (4.00)
    the small group of energy issues bloggers you mentions, I share your frustration.  Also about environmental issues which, as you know, I think could win we Dems HUGE ground.  That frustration is why I've been around less and less here.  Beyond a very small group, its all about the latest scandals or the momentary headline.  I too am frustrated.

    For the moment at least, I'm not going to bother screaming to a NYC (or Paris or Taos) street.  I'm just going to work to make sure the changes happen.

    As for you, please dont stop.  I read everything you write and have learned tons.  Thank you.

    A real soldier died in his 8mpg Hummer so you could play soldier in yours.

    by environmentalist on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 01:58:08 PM PDT

  •  ecommendedray (4.00)
    Now where are the frog legs you promised?

    The most un-American thing you can say is, "You can't say that." -G. Keillor

    by Eddie Haskell on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 01:58:13 PM PDT

  •  Single Party Ballot (none)
    I love the poll.  This is the way elections were run in the single-party Soviet Union, or so I was taught in secondary school.  And its the way they are run here... Oh, never mind.

    I would have voted for more energy coverage even if I had other choices, though.  Promise.

    I think the new slogan should be, "It's the Energy, stupid."

    "Have you no sense of decency, sir. At long last, have you left no sense of decency?" -- Boston Attorney Joe Welch, taking down Sen. Joe McCarthy.

    by BostonJoe on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 02:00:08 PM PDT

  •  you've got me puzzled, jerome (4.00)
    i think you might be confusing a lack of impassioned debate due to general agreement for apathy. i read every single one of your diaries, and have spent not a small amount of time afterwards mulling them over offline, and i would imagine a good number of other invisible readers do the same. just because i have little to add to the discussion does not mean that i am indifferent. perhaps the reason why you don't get the massive 400+ threads is because people largely agree with your analysis, and don't feel like posting another "yeah, right on" comments. energy issues, peak oil, etc. are not issues that i have seen downplayed on this site, even if the controvery and redundant diaries tend to be on other topics. information and discussions informed by your diaries pop up in other diaries' discussions all the time, in a manner quite similar to those of bonddad and kid oakland, actually.

    crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

    by wu ming on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 02:00:46 PM PDT

  •  Don't stop (4.00)
    It takes forever to shift the mood or make a dent in public perception.

    Only now after almost five years of us jumping up and down pointing out that the emperor has no clothes is anyone else even beginning to notice that he's stark naked.

    I live through the entire Vietnam era and it was the same thing. From seeing radical SDS types ignored and trivialized till years later when the public mood finally changed.

  •  Well (4.00)
    I guess my feelings about it are:

    a)  we will get more good work done on energy policy by getting the Neocon Republicans out of office in 2006/8, than by bitching at them about it now.

    b)  Democrats could certainly employ better rhetoric about energy policy, and use energy policy against the Republican Nemesis.

    c)  On a personal level I do as much to reduce my energy footprint as it is possible for me to do in the kind of city I live in.  I bought a small house in an older inner suburban neighborhood; I'm getting all my old windows replaced with energy efficient windows, and will make other energy-efficient changes as I can afford them.   My house is a bikeable distance from downtown and shopping and about 8 miles to work.  If I had to (extended fuel shortage) I could figure out the back roads and bike it daily.  My neighborhood will have a streetcar linked up to the city's planned light rail system within the next few years.  My current car is compact; my next car when it becomes cost-effective to replace will be a hybrid.  I buy fruit and vegetables from the local farmers' market and use minimal packaged food.  I try to shop adjacent to work or home and minimize unnecessary trips to the farflung burbs.

    So what I'm saying is, we do care.  Even the city I live in seems to care.  They can't pony up and complete a massive public works project all at once, but they're planning for increased ridership and growth of the area.  I may even vote for our current "business-friendly" GOP mayor, because he's got a mass transit plan and he seems to be using it.

    What else would we have to do to show we care?

    We're paralyzed...from the Oval Office on down.

    by kismet on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 02:01:21 PM PDT

  •  Maybe they can bounce a few of your diaries to the (4.00)
    ... front page.

    Pardon me in advance. I have no tolerance for jackasses at present.

    by Bob Johnson on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 02:03:12 PM PDT

  •  Boring... (none)
    I dunno... kinda boring really. I know we're screwed... but I guess Kos should talk more about energy issues.
  •  Jerome (4.00)
    I always learn something from your diaries but I feel as though I don't have the background to add anything important.

    Energy is something that should be at the forefron. Don't be afraid to lead us.

  •  Well, to pivot on one point (4.00)
    that you made, Jerome, I think we'l all pay a lot more attention to it when ELECTRICITY costs go up due to higher nat gas prices in the next few months.  I appreciated your explanation of natural gas-generated electricity taking over during peak periods of demand (beyond the "fixed" hydro, coal, and nuclear generating capacity).

    And to follow a vaguely related idea, WHY is it that there is no (very little?  - I've never heard of it) peak-pricing of electricity in the US at the household level, as in most of the rest of the world?  I recall distinctly waiting until the evening surge at the meter when wee lived in France to start the washing machine (w/ built-in elec. water heating element).

    I know that big industrial/commertcial customers do get peak/off-peak pricing, and save money (and generating capacity) by, for example, chilling water at night to use for cooling buldings during the day (very relevant here in Dallas - heating matters in other climes).  Is this analogous to the reason that household recycling makes so little difference in the total waste stream that goes to the landfill, that it makes more sense to concentrate on the big generators (industrial, commercial) of waste for effective recycling.

    But if plain ol' Americans aren't made aware and given an incentive/disincentive to use power wisely, then we'll pay it little heed as we dod now.

    Thanks as always for your informative posts.

    Je t'ai envoye un message le 26 aout a propos du decouvert de gaz au Chaco au Paraguay.  Pas de reponse?  Quand tu as le temps.

  •  Sharing your pain bud... (4.00)
    I have been walking this trench for decades, one problem is that people assume that technology will bail them out in the nick of time, afterall, it always has before right?  They don't care which technology wins, as long as they can keep warm in the winter and drive to the beach in the summer.  

    Back in June I had a conversation with a group of people in the recycling industry.  I asked them what they would do if gas hit $5.00 a gallon.  Almost all of them said that they would be out of business at that price.  That was in June when we were all wailing about $2.00 gallon gas.  In the past week I have heard of three small recycling businesses failing with gas at $3.20 a gallon.  But everyone else appears to be going on, business as usual.  Energy will be like global warming.  People will only get scared when it is too late.  And Rush Limpdickbaugh will still find a way to blame the environmentalists.    

    Fringe is the new black. - Me

    by chillindame on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 02:09:20 PM PDT

  •  Is Energy too big? (4.00)
    All the way last spring, I posted a 4,000 word diary outlining tactical steps and specific legislation to move the US toward reduced oil consumption and increased renewable energy.  You want to talk disappointment?  This thing was the magnum opus of my energy diaries, details on everything from plug-in hybrid cars to tidal generation.  It got fewer than a dozen comments and was gone in a flash.

    However, other diaries I've posted -- on cars or coal or oil -- have crept into the recommended list.

    Is "energy" simply too large a concept to capture a conversation?  Would we be better off writing diaries that attacked the issues piecemeal?

    Of course, when I've tried to write them a bit at a time, I've gotten comments saying "you ignored XXX" or "that's great, where's the details?"

  •  Talk about a push poll (4.00)
    And yes, I voted in it.

    But you are correct.

    In fact, no matter what energy is at the haert of the entire problem and most Americans are responsible for the current mess.

    we had the opportunity to be totally energy independent by this point in time had we macde the corect choice 25 years ago.

    President Carter started and energy independnece program in the late 1970's and it was killed by ROnald Reagan, who used temporary markety fixes to get much lower oil prices which then stimulated a glut of gasoline and extrmely wasteful uses.

    Reagan killed all other energy programs, including a very promising thermonuclear program which is not at the heart of the joint EEC/Japanese thermonuclear program.

    Not only could we have kicked our petroleum habit in the last 25 years, but the U.S. could now be a major player in supplying other sources of automotive fuels.

    In Germany alone, the demand for biodiesel is so great that their limited agriculture lands cannot produce enough rapeseed oil to meet that  demand.

    The U.S. agricultural capacity could MORE than supply it.

    However gfiven the staet of our economy nad its rejection of alternative energies, the nations to benefit will mst likely be the Ukraine and Canada.

    It has not only been the energy interests who have prevented this but objection from the left to coal or nuclear technolgies that have kept us from being able generate enough electricity to run electric cars or other items.

  •  Maybe it's a subject that some of us don't feel (4.00)
    comfortable discussing because we don't know anything about the technology or the economics.  A lot of people probably read the energy diaries but don't know what to say.  

    All I really have to say on the subject is that Congress has to act to raise fuel efficiency standards in all types of machinery, not just cars, while also allocating a lot of money on energy R&D (with none going towards oil research).  

    Still, I know nothing about the technology or the economics of energy so all I can do is read, learn, and get my budget in order to handle higher energy prices for the forseeable future.  

    Reality is just... a point of view - Philip K. Dick; Beautiful thing, the destruction of words. (from Orwell's 1984)

    by LionelEHutz on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 02:12:14 PM PDT

  •  Putting energy policy on front stage (4.00)
    If the concern is about the discourse at dKos, it is misplaced.  Most of us get it and have read your diaries with nods of agreement.

    If the concern is discussion of how to wake the American people up about this issue, it is more difficult.  In a culture in which Intelligent Design is taking to be appropriate for science class, energy policy affect most ordinary Americans as a big snore.  Or a symbol of wealth or contempt; look at me in my SUV; look how much energy I can waste, you pissant tree-huggers.  Energy policy does not have traction with our families, co-workers, and friends.  And those issue that do have traction are what dominate the diaries.

    The revolution starts now--in your own back yard, in your own home town

    by TarheelDem on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 02:12:29 PM PDT

  •  Don't give up, Jerome! (4.00)
    As far as I'm concerned, you're one of the heavyweights around here.  I appreciate the serious work you do.

    You have a great ally on your side--energy prices.  Nothing will wake up the American people like expensive gasoline and heating oil.  Sad but true.

    I do believe that even Democrats have a hard time imagining the idea of an era of scarcity. It's just too big a change.

    In our sprawling suburbs, most people have no concept of using one's automobile sparingly, carefully planning trips with a week's foresight to minimize gasoline usage, using a bicycle with front and rear baskets to do the grocery shopping, walking 15 minutes over to a friend's house instead of driving, etc. and so many other adjustments that will be necessary.

    The change will be so fundamental, such a "paradigm shift" that people can't conceive of it - but that will change over the next 2-3 years...

  •  Actions (none)
    Well, I think your diaries are very useful. However... here's the thing. As others have mentioned, it's hard to know what to do, and I have to say that most Americans would rather switch to new energy sources (hard) than conserve (easier, to some exent).

    But... here's something you could do. Most energy suppliers in the US are "competitive", in that you can pick who you buy your power from. Most people probably stay with the default supply, but it's possible at least in theory to select a green power supplier and pay more (or less, if coal prices spike or something).

    So... someone (dear god, not me), should figure out the mechanics of doing this for some major liberal cities. If 1000 people in Boston, or 100000 people in America, all switch to alterntive suppliers, it would be a major boost for wind/solar power.

    To start anyone who can do this out, the supplier for Boston/Cambridge/Somerville is NStar.

  •  Amen, brother Jerome (4.00)
    I think there are two over-arching things that Americans (especially progressive Dems) must do.  

    First, the personal level.  Each of us must review our personal energy consumption; an energy audit if you will.  Each of us can easily commit to using 10% less energy this year than last.  And 10% less the year after.  

    For example my hot water heater is almost 10 years old and will soon need to be replaced (in fact I see my neighbor just replaced hers).  Instead of putting in the el-cheapo model I'm going to go with a tankless model.  In fact I bet Jerome uses a similar model in Paris.  These units pay for themselves in 30 months and carry a 12 year warranty (and an expected 20 year life).

    Another example on the personal front.  My trusty 2001 BMW M3 is going to be replaced with a 2006 VW Passat TDI running biodiesel made from waste vegetable oil.  (HA!  Take THAT, OPEC!!)

    Second, the national level.  We need a coherent and sane energy policy.  Not a policy which rewards Hummer owners with $20,000 in tax credits but gives Toyota Prius owners only $2,000.  We need a policy which encourages both the low-hanging-fruit and the long-term research.  Like how to inject more biodiesel and ethanol into the existing fuel supply while researching the next generation (and the generation^3) technology.  Also, we need to increase funding for public transportation.

    We need an energy policy which (GASP) raises gasoline prices by $3 per gallon over the next 2 years and keeps the price at $6 per gallon.  That will fund the R&D and tax breaks for the high-efficiency cars and SUVs as well as the fund the increased public transportation in our urban and suburban areas.  That would also curtail the insane gasoline usage we have here in the USA.

    Given the political situation today there is little we can do on the 2nd front, but every single one of us can do a lot on the 1st.  And if we don't start getting serious NOW it will never happen - until it is far too late.  If we learned anything from Katrina it should be that you can't ignore infrastructure and expect to weather the storm.  

    "Strength and wisdom are not opposing values" - Bill Clinton.

    by RAST on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 02:14:10 PM PDT

  •  Well, (4.00)
    all I can say is that it was one of your diaries back in March that prompted me to start investigating a solar energy system for my house.  I wanted to do something.

    After investingating the cost vs. payback, we had a system installed this summer.  It's been up and running for about three weeks now.  I'm definitely interested in what it does to our electric bill.  In theory it should cover most, if not all of it throughout the winter.

    They're pouring mercury in my orange juice...People take to the streets and scream!!! Jon Stewart, 4/13/05

    by christine in nj on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 02:15:02 PM PDT

  •  Attempted explanation. (4.00)
    1. I would suggest that this is a website about politics, from a Democratic/left perspective. It's about winning elections and putting progressive politicians in office.
    2. Without power in government to implement specific proposals, like a comprehensive energy policy, issuing very specific proposals and expending political capital on them is not just an exercise in futility, but also allows one's political enemies to pick apart and ridicule one's policies without an opportunity to respond.
    3. Policies must fit the election issues, which means that if the public is concerned about illegal immigration next year, Dems will need to develop a relevant policy and then push it. Pushing issues that are of no immediate concern to the electorate will not get one elected.
    4. I'm afraid you overestimate the general educational level and reasoning abilities of the american electorate. Keep in mind that about 33% of americans believe the creation narrative in the Bible, literally, and about 80% believe 'intelligent design' should be taught alongside evolution. A comprehensive, detailed energy policy is beyond the grasp of most americans. The phrase 'guns, God, and gays' pretty much describes the major concerns of many, many voters. If gas prices get too high, they will blame someone and expect the next bunch to fix the problem.
    5. Nobody is going to risk their political career playing Chicken Little (the sky is falling!) on energy policy when there is no crisis, yet. Americans are used to having these problems solved, and thus have no conception of permanent disaster.
    6. Policies do not get one elected. Policies are goals that an administration attempts to implement, usually with little public discussion or participation. The place to push policy initiatives is with those who would develop and implement enegy policy in a Dem administration. Who, exactly, that may be is a good question, as there is no Dem Shadow Cabinet. Perhaps the Ranking Members of the appropriate congressional committees.

    I wish I could tell you something different, as I  also believe energy policy is a key issue, although I think it should be combined with a Transportation/Infrastructure program as they are so interrelated. It might also make it a more saleable program in Congress (lots of 'porkability'). But first, Dems must get enough people elected to take control of Congress, where the power of the purse lies.
  •  Who cut down the last tree on Easter Island? (4.00)
    Energy policy is just that, policy. When there are dead bodies in the streets of New Orleans and Baghdad there is an emotional response that trumps the logic of your diaries regardless of their relevance. And I read most all of your diaries and appreciate the research and insight.

    I suggest tying your policy analysis to visceral stories. 100 year heat wave in Europe? Record hurricane activity? The Iraq War? You can grasp these issues as the relate to energy policy but the issue itself won't become a political issue in the US until it someone finds a way to trigger an emotional response talking about energy policy.

    The GOP is going to press for more coastal and Arctic drilling as a response to Katrina. Democrats will have an opportunity to change the energy debate but only if it has a human face that gets the attention of voters hard pressed to juggle all the demands of their day. US troops guarding pipelines in Muslim countries costs lives two ways - by enabling a doomed energy policy and the loss of lives of the troops themselves. Find the names and faces of those who have had their lives destroyed by energy policy TODAY and you may be able to change energy policy TOMORROW. That's my two cents.

    "A whole lotta HOOAH and not enough DO-AH." - Lt. Gen. Russel Honore

    by joejoejoe on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 02:20:58 PM PDT

  •  Politics vs. Reality (4.00)
    Your point is veyr very well made, and well taken. I couldn't agree more. Figuring out how to multi-task, working on understanding the issues of our times, and I wholeheartedly agree that energy is a gigantic  dark cloud on the horizon, while at the same time keeping track of how we are going to get control of the government back, is hard, and so far we are failing.

    Maybe a division of labor is in order:

    Tracking the races, the elections, and vote-counting issues is one half, while identifying and prioritizing issues is the other side. Everyone has a role to play on both sides, and these things need to be kept in balance.

    We need to regain control from the oil barons or we will never make any progress, but we need to keep the sustainability and social issues at the forefront of our minds or else we have nothing left to protect.

    I started out pessimistic, and now I feel better. Thanks Jerome!!

  •  Preaching to the choir here... (4.00)
    Hey Jerome, no need to admonish me, I read your stuff religously. And anyway, looking over jotter's weekly analyses, you consistently rank in the top 10 of high impact authors.  In my field, you'd be a Rob Weinberg or Tyler Jacks, who consitently publish in the best cancer journals and have consistent manuscripts of high quality.  Honestly, I think that's a better gauge of your diaries' quality than how long they stay up on the recommended list.

    Frankly, the reason the dKos attention span is short on energy is that it's not good news.  It's the same reason that the fraudsters are ignored, some credible conspiracy theorists are ignored, the bird flu diaries are ignored, and even why the Katrina will be a major catastrophe for NO diaries are ignored.  People don't want to believe bad news.  They want to believe that everything's going to be okay, that we can change things within the current system, etc.  It's a rare individual, when, faced with bad news, is quick to admit the problem, most deny, deny, deny.

    In any case, FWIW, I agree with you 100%.  Dkos has recently become the premiere free internet-based news analysis, distribution, and commentary site, and I say that in spite of the political function and the overload of craptascular diaries too.  Personally, that's why I hang around here, not for what kos or Armando think about the latest political outrage du jour (though I do enjoy reading those too).  Please don't leave, you are appreciated here and your views need to be exposed to the large audience we have here.

    I honestly think that this site really transcends politics now, it's major function is to disseminate TRUTH.  And as we know, the admin has declared a Global War on Truth, so even the truths disseminated here are automatically labeled as "liberal" or "extremist," and summarily ignored.  But knowledge is power, and you and I and everyone else here needs to fight the good fight.

    People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

    by viget on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 02:22:11 PM PDT

  •  Listen to Barbara Mikulski now (4.00)
    in the Senate. She's blowing a gasket now about oil oompanies, price gouging, and windfall profits. She's a pistol, that one.

    Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

    by bumblebums on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 02:22:17 PM PDT

  •  Jerome (4.00)
    You're a victim of your own success. You so completely, accurately, and eloquently illuminate the energy problem, that few other people feel they are qualified to write about it. That's probably why armando and kos don't write much. They don't have much to add.

    However, what we SHOULD be doing is demanding that progressive democrats take a stand on the issue. And that is something well within this blogs' expertise.

    FWIW--I read all your diaries, and I'm actively shifting finances to get ready for the big price jumps. I've also converted a number of my friends, and I'm actively debating with friends (daily) about these issues. I've got a friend who is stuck on the idea that the oil companies are simply testing price elasticity and that there will always be sufficient oil. These are topics we didn't talk about a few months ago, and now we're all talking daily. It's the grass roots part.

    I like to think of the Republican Party as an Iceberg--large, white, cold-hearted, not too swift, and can't change direction.

    by DyspepTex on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 02:26:00 PM PDT

  •  Gee. (4.00)
    The poll was a little limited.

    Listen.  I have a blinkin' degree in Economics.  With honors no less.  And I have to admit right here and right now that an articulable solution to the looming Energy Problem isn't readily available to me.  I have the mental capacity to contemplate it but can't see my way clear to how a solution is posited and therefore get frustrated.  I read what you write - I understand it when reading, and then a host of other questions and complications cloud what seemed like a good answer and everything kind of blurs into fuzz.

  •  The Oblivious (none)
    I commute 100 miles a day--no public transportation, my attempts to form a carpool have failed, and the job market for something close to home ain't what it used to be.

    And even with gasoline at $3 a gallon, other commuters zoom around my 45-miles-per-gallon ECHO in huge SUVs filled with only the driver.

    Jerome isn't the only one wondering what it will take to get people's attention.

  •  Nobody wants to wake up to painful truths (4.00)
    Like George Monbiot said once, "we've never had it so good and we never will".

    We in the west need to realize that our standard of living is going to be reduced in the near to medium term, maybe never to pick up again. The question in my mind is whether we wait for the collapse to be catastrophic or we try to manage the crisis into a soft landing.

    Now, if you have two politicians running for office, and one gives you the above realistic message and asks for sacrifice and a change of our way of life, while the other promises you sustained economic growth and that innovation and new technologies will solve all our problems from energy shortages to environmental degradation, who will you vote for?

    Well, you and I would probably vote for the realist because we know the optimist has his head up his rectum, but you and I also know who will win the election. People just don't want to face up to the painful truth, and when isn't truth painful?

  •  I know we are screwed (4.00)
    1. We are way behind on this issue - years behind thanks to the GOP and Clinton not picking up the ball where Carter left off.
    2. The solutions require vast changes infrastructure and we can't even keep a levee in tact.
    3. There are many things we can do as individuals, but for those of us who don't own our homes the real changes we could make in our environments are not doable unless a landlord agrees.
    4. Our tax structure actually favors waste over conservation.
    5. We face Wall Street Journal articles on the topic of increasing auto efficiency that make wild leaps that it would KILL people.
    6. Americans are selfish and stupid.
    7. We are going into a massive recession if gas prices stay high or go higher and our country is more debilitated than it has been in my lifetime.
    8. The majority of legislators we have were not willing to save thousands of drowning people two weeks ago.  To add insult to injury those same people voted down a resolution of inquiry.  We are screwed with a bunch of amoral self-serving assholes on the Hill.
    9. These same people are not for the life of them going to save us from an energy crisis.  They've probably all built gas reserves in their fucking back yards so they have some when we don't.  I admit to snark here, but there is simply no outward or forward view exhibited from the Hill.

    So there ya go.  I read everything you write.  I have little to say about energy that would be meaningful in avoiding the upcoming train-wreck.  Other than that it will suck and there is nothing I can do to change it.
  •  Unfortunately, I think it's a no-win.... (4.00)
    I worked on energy issues for many years, and I totally agree that it's a major issue, maybe THE issue of the 21st century.

    But from a political standpoint, I'm not sure there's a way to turn it to advantage.  What needs to happen is for oil prices to go sky high and stay that way.  That, however, is hardly a winning hand for a political party that advocates for it.  And it hurts the poor, who have very few ways available to adjust to it.

    Prices will go up sooner or later, much more than they already have, and market forces will cause a major adaptation to renewable sources and conservation.  If it happens slowly, all will be well.  The problem is that it's likely to happen fast, and that will bring about a wargasm of collosal proportions as the US and everyone else fights to ensure their supply of what little oil is left.

    Yes, we could (and should) advocate for a program to promote renewables and conservation, higher CAFE standards, etc., but that's basically asking Americans to sacrifice, and history has not been very kind on the subject.  Who remembers Jimmy Carter's synfuels program, the 55 mph speed limit, solar energy tax credits, etc. etc.?

    Sorry to be gloomy, I just don't see a clear strategy that doesn't sound like a bunch of enviro-whackos trying to take away my SUV.

  •  I read all of your diaries... (none)
    ...but then I am already in the choir, preacher. I ride a bicycle everyday to work and most often to run my errands.

    I do not need convincing but good luck with everyone else.

  •  Well, Jerome... (4.00)
    I rarely comment in your diaries (although I do often recommend them) because I don't really feel I know enough about, while I learn TONS from your diaries...I often don't really have anything to say that is in disagreement with you or your ideas.

    The other thing is...I get ABSOLUTELY paranoid about Peak Oil. I read an article about it that someone here recommended (probably you), and afterwards, I emailed my friend who is getting her PhD in Economics and was basically in tears mourning the end of the world as we know it...and telling her that our entire way of life is going to be destroyed within the next few years...and that we're all going to have to learn how to grow our own food, and everyone will be destitute and homeless, etc. etc. You get the drift. I FREAK the fuck out when I start to think too much about this stuff...that doesn't mean that I don't try to limit the energy I use. I do. I'm constantly running around the house after my boyfriend turning off all the lights he leaves on, I won't turn on a light in the house until sundown (unless it's super cloudy), I won't go ANYWHERE I don't have to with my car (which is a little Corrolla and which I plan to trade in a year for a hybrid) other words...I try to do what I can, and I sign petitions and read emails from the Union of Concerned Scientists (and others), and I plan on getting solar power in my house (when I actually buy one)...and of course I pass along the important info to everyone I know.

    I wish I could to more...but I don't know what else there is. So, please please please keep posting diaries on energy, and pretty please put advice in those diaries for how we can directly help make changes to better the situation. In the meantime, thanks for all your hard work!

  •  End of Oil and Revenge of the Atmosphere (none)

    Have no doubt about it, 2 of the biggest stories of the early 21st century are going to be the slow end to easily available fossil fuels and the rising impacts of global warming.

    We are seeing the curtain call for "End of Oil" with $3 gas.  But it is just the beginning.

    And we just saw the first act of "Revenge of the Atmosphere" in the U.S.  But this drama has already been playing in other corners of the globe for the past 5-10 years.  Anbody paying attention to the evacuation of Tuvalo because of rising sea levels?

    Come on politicians - people are starting to get it, and we need leadership to take our country back from the 19th century policies of ExxonMobilBush and GeneralMotorsCongress.

    Follow the yellowcake road 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

    by oregonj on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 02:47:26 PM PDT

  •  Jerome (none)
    I just want to tell you that the information you post here is invaluable to me. I have started my own Jerome Library, Usually by the time I get on the site you're already in the Recommended list.

    I have sent more information to ohters I received from your diaries than any others because you reinforce them with such great information. I don't know about kos not promoting it enough or not, maybe he feels comfortable with you leading that role. I know I do.

    thank you for all your great work and information.

    Keep it up!

  •  Hmmm... (none)
    I guess I've always considered Jerome's diaries a little self-serving - my understanding is that he is in the energy investment business.  Kind of like the same feeling I get when I open advertising mail at home and read how it's absolutely critical that I invest in "X" today.  Didn't he float some kind of dKos energy investment idea one time?  Or was that another diarist?

    Also - I think there's a general fatigue that sets in when the same person posts diaries on similar topics over and over again.  The Wal-Mart diary series springs to mind.  As do Jerome's energy diaries.  

    I'm sure this issue is important to Jerome.  And I'm sure the economic and sociological implications are huge.  But there are other big issues out there that get far less press - such as water resources.  For what it's worth, I think scarce water resources, and the lack of access to clean, potable water, is another looming crisis that is generally ignored. People don't think about it much.  But they will in due time, particularly if global climate change substantially alters precipitation distribution over continental land masses.

    I don't have the time or energy to write diary after diary about it, however.  Maybe someday...

  •  It's the implications... (none)
    The implications of oil's end as the preeminent fuel are too much for people to grasp.  People don't want to hear that life is going to fundamentally change from top to bottom.  They want to hear that with a few reforms, life will go on as usual, status quo.  

    They prefer, "Ok, so I have to drive a hybrid SUV to my house four-five miles away from my job," instead of "I can't own any car, and I have to squeeze my family into an inner-city apartment where we turn off the water heater at night."

    And they have a myopic confidence in science & technology to solve this crisis, like it has so many times before.  So they ignore the cognitive dissonance in their head, that this existence is not sustainable, and instead, go on shopping, consuming, driving, etc.

    I'm as guilty as anyone on this.  But I know it's going to end.


    Maryland School of Public Policy Master of Public Policy Candidate

    by magicrusslc on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 02:50:39 PM PDT

  •  Denial is the path of least resistance (4.00)
    Look - most of the readership of dkos are Americans addicted to oil. I would be really curious to know how many of you all have one or more cars. How often do you drive? Did gas mileage have any influence in purchansing your current ride(s)?

    I personally am an American. I live in Norway. (Long story. Married. Divorced. Kids here.) Now Norway is the 3rd largest oil exporter in the world after Saudi Arabia and Russia. Yet gas prices at the pump here have been over 5-6$ a gallon for a long long time (years) now - because the government's taxes represent about 70-80% of the price.

    That's right: a leading producer and exporter of oil has the environmental conscience to tax gas at a very high rate and earmark much of that money towards mass transportation.

    I personally care about energy and the environment. I refuse to own a car. I use trams, trains, buses. I walk a lot. Bike too.

    So, I for one, have no conflicts of interest in talking about energy. Caring about energy. I would hazard the guess that even among many of my fellow liberals here at dKos, you don't think much about what you personally can do to be less oil-energy dependent.

    Look. I certainly don't want to come across as holier-than-thou. I sinned for years. Owned two cars once. But I grew. I matured and I came to my senses. We all can.

    "Just a quick observation, when people don't want to play the blame game, they're to blame." --Jon Stewart

    by Marcus Junius Brutus on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 02:53:05 PM PDT

  •  Jerome, (none)
    I love your diaries even if I don't comment. In fact, I have my browser set so that your name always shows up as blue when you post so I don't miss it. Even better, you're the only diarist here on which I've done so. Keep the fine posts coming--I've learned so much and have yet to give the feedback so you would know. Kudos to you.

    What I really like about the President is his wonderfully uncluttered mind. - Tony Blair

    by agincour on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 02:54:06 PM PDT

  •  Jermone, mon cher, these frogs are driving (4.00)
    into the boiling water in their SUVs and gas-hogs.  

    While I agree with you completely, and I pay the equivalent of $7 a gallon to fill my car (which is diesel so gets 60 mpg), I also have a father who lives in California.  He drives an ancient Cadillac that gets 8 miles per gallon (petrol/gasoline) on a good day rolling downhill.

    He is a lifelong Democrat (bless him), but if you or I ask him to drive a fuel efficient car he rants like the most rabid Texan Repug.  He will not give up his God-given right to consume as much gas as he can afford (subsidised by his children) "so that Third-Worlders can live better".  

    The American identification with the gas-guzzling automobile goes deeper than politics.  I despair of my beloved Pater, and I despair of many of our fellow Kossacks.

    And yet, I want you to know, that you are extremely important as the conscience of us all on energy.  Even if we do not heed you, we know you are there and that you are right.  Like any selfish adolescent that spurns good advice, we continue in our bad habits, but when we grow up we will regard you as the formative exemplar of what we later aspire to become.

    "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

    by LondonYank on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 02:54:18 PM PDT

  •  similarly... (none)
    I read a great diary about China and Chinese exports today. It currently has two comments, total.

    So why aren't more people piping up on these issues? Well it's easy to chime in with support, or with your opinion on a political issue. Facts often aren't required, and research is generally pretty easy. I think economic issues are different however, (higher learning curve and thus barrier to entry) and this is a political blog.

    Now I like to follow the economic stuff. Trade, energy  policy, market bubbles, whatever. I wouldn't call myself an expert by any means, though--at best I'm a somewhat informed layman. Basically, I know what I read, what you tell me, and what my (meager) grasp of basic economics, supply and demand, etc., tells me. And still, relatively speaking, I'm probably doing pretty well around here, in either or both of my interest in, or my grasp of, these issues. Still, most of the time I don't have much to say. Heck, usually I'm pretty much in agreement with your arguments and your conclusions. What do you say to that?

    What's worse is the reality of the political situation--the Republicans still control the agenda, increasing CAFE standards has gotten no traction, up until recently conservation has been just another dirty word, etc. So we know there's a crisis, and we know that nothing is getting done about it, and as it is inconvenient, it probably will get swept under the rug for as long as possible. However, "energy independence" is a winner of a political issue. Go figure.

    Now if I wanted to push an energy agenda, I'd propose (in addition to the obvious conservation measures) more funding across the board for the next generation of energy technologies, with incentives for results in each major field and a focus on alternative energy sources and emerging technologies. I'd like to see programs in place and tax breaks for people who want to become part of the solution and produce energy for their own needs and/or to be added to the grid.

    I'm a big fan of solar power, and I hope to see it become increasingly cheaper and more efficient, to the point where the house without solar panels on the roof will be the exception, not the rule.

    Also as gas gets more expensive, I expect we'll see more hybrids, more diesel-powered vehicles on the road, and more alternative fuel sources.

    Anyhow, cheers, Jerome, I appreciate your regular diaries; here's to more like them, from you or anyone else!

  •  I care about energy (none)
    but I also care about a lot of other issues. I don't feel some of the issues I care about most get enough attention on this site, but one way to look at it as that before 2001 our government wasn't doing all that great a job, and since 2001, it's been doing nothing of real use. In fact it's making things worse in almost every area of life and politics.

    So in response to your "[l]et's not wait for the energy crisis to become so acute ..." -- some people fear for Roe v Wade, the LGBT community deserves the right to marry and get other equal treatment, some of us think the country will be a banana republic in a few years due to debt and outsourcing (even if we solve energy), Katrina highlighted still existing poverty and race problems, wage growth and job creation sucks, our civil rights are being eroded by the Patriot Act and similar things, the war in Iraq goes on and hardly anyone even remembers we still have troops in Afghanistan too, there's genocide in Darfur, our education system is crumbling, college tuition is skyrocketing, we're not prepared to handle natural disaster or terrorist attacks, some of us are concerned about BGH and geneticly altered foods - I'm sure I missed one or two, probably stuff that's extremely important to someone else.

    In addition, all the frivolous stuff that people sometimes complain about goes a long way to building cohesion within the community and creating an attractive community/site. There are some terrible diaries, but not everybody starts out as a topnotch poster (I probably haven't written a really good diary yet), and people need to learn. If this is a democracy and not a top-down technocracy, then we're going to spend a lot of time listening to things that bore us or we find unimportant (ever been to a town board or city council meeting? - even the little I heard of the Roberts hearing this morning was mostly wasted time).

    Energy is getting attention here - maybe not as much as you'd like or as much as it deserves, and the situation is much worse in the real political arena, but there's a lot of other stuff going on too.

    We all go a little mad sometimes - Norman Bates

    by badger on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 02:58:52 PM PDT

  •  priority #1 is getting rid of Bush (none)
    And when the Republicans are back under the rocks that they came from, we can start actually fixing things.

    Like energy, the enviironment, health care, etc.

    Until then it's a waste of (ahem) energy

  •  The strength of the Koss community (none)
    Is the nature of its distributed networks/systems/community. I am learning that this is the model for sustainable energy distribution models and homeland security models.

    Jerome initiates a discussion and gets frustrated when it doesn't blossom into a movement. The sense of urgency is there, the comments support the validity of the issue, but the discussion lags ... the "next step in action" doesn't occur.

    In my community we are doing (fill in the blank) ... this is the next step in action. I live in rural, coastal Oregon. Solutions to the problems of sustainable energy systems here are different from urban solutions, desert solutions, mountain solutions, industry solutions, farmer solutions, etc.

    A big thank you for engaging the macro discussion, but we are at a point where we need to be packing up the emergency kit. What to do now is the issue for me.

    This is a political organization issue. We can't wait for a Cindy Sheehan of energy politics to fire up the masses. For us, its still the time of individuals on streetcorners with protest signs.

  •  I love the train!! (none)
    After commuting for decades by car, having gotten the opportunity to work in the city meant commuting in by train.  At first I was griping at being a slave to train schedules, but then of course loved the freedom of NOT having to drive and being able to - gasp - read again!

    But honestly - it was much more expensive to travel in by train than to drive when I first started to train commute - and now with gas prices shooting up, it may be more equal.  But they're talking about hiking fares up AGAIN.  In the 16 years I've been commuting in, I'm now paying $1500 USD a year more than when I started.

    But money is NOT spent on improving trains or mass transit.  Whether it's at the local, state or federal level.  And of course Amtrak here in the states are going down the tubes.

    A friend in Poland told me to stop griping about US gas prices long ago.

    Train travel in Europe used to be a whole lot cheaper than it is now, though.  When did that happen?!

  •  I know the feeling, Jerome (none)
    Because the Iraq invasion is clearly about oil, I've been watching the coming energy disaster for three years.  It's not like there's no warning: I posted a diary last night about DuPont's decision to raise prices on 35,000 of its products because of energy costs. Then there was yesterday's call by Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, for independent audits of Saudi Arabia's fields (among others.) Plus wide-spread warnings that natural gas will rise up to 70% this year.  I dunno, what WILL it take?

    I consider your entries among the most informative on dkos, Jerome.  Please keep doing what you're doing and those of us with at least some awareness will keep pushing our representatives to address the looming problems.    

  •  We care a lot (4.00)
    The problem, for me anyway, is that I don't see how any of your wonderful recommendations and ideas will ever be implemented in the current administration.  I mean, these are the people who think the solution to all life's ills is to drill holes into Alaska, for Pete's sake.

    If - no, WHEN - we can get some folks into government who are not in the pocket of the oil companies, then we can start moving in this direction.  Until then, of course we can all make our small contributions to heading off the inevitable crisis.  But that's all they'll be - small contributions.

    Please, though, Jerome, don't stop posting.  You do great work.  Whether or not it looks like we're paying attention, trust me.  We are.

  •  my rant - we try (4.00)
    in different ways -- adding insulation, careful settings on the programmable thermostat, short commutes, combining errands to save trips. I keep trying to talk my spouse into solar, better lights bulbs, shade trees, newer more efficient furnace, etc along with teaching my son to be aware of energy use, and a mindset of saving for his generation.  

    Then I look across the street and down the road at all the new huuuge houses brightly lit up, and feel like every bit of electricity & natural gas we save is going to be sucked up lighting, heating and cooling those oversized dwellings. On cool nights when we open our windows, the background noise we hear is the neighbor's AC running non-stop. The gasoline we save driving compact cars  on short commutes in non-rush hour will go to the big SUVs parked in front of the oversized houses, or to fill the tanks of the riding mowers those folks with a half or third acre or less bring out every weekend. (where the grass grows a lot because of the sprinkler systems in regular use but that's another argument) (then there were all the trees that were removed to make room for the new houses, yet another argument)

  •  Jerome I sympathize (none)
    I truly do.

    But I think so many of us are in overwhelm, and not simply about Katrina and Iraq and the pitiful decrepit state of the union.

    I'm in overwhelm because every tme I make an energy decision ON MY OWN, contradictory info seems to appear.

    Oh sure, some of the decisions have been easy and clearcut and obvious. Put on a new roof with good insulation, and your heating/cooling bills will drop in half! Use that solar oven as often as possible!!! Caulk caulk caulk, and drive as little as possible!!

    Beyond that, though ... WHAT THE HELL??? I mean, seriously. There is almost nobody in office today who is the least concerned with any of this. No policy is even being mentioned. So it's like a giant pipedream.

    Add to that, it's not just a pipedream, it's like trying to fight off 40 grizzlies and 25 packs f hungry dogs battling these crazy Left Behind wingnuts who think The Energy Crisis is: a) a librul lie; b) a glorious beckoning of Armageddon and The Rapture, PRAISE be!


    So we here are kind of stuck between a rock and a hard spot.

    I sincerely hope we don't frustrate you so much that you quit posting about this though. But truth is, looks like we're pretty much on our own in dealing with this coming catastrophe. :-(

  •  Don't despair, mon ami! (4.00)
    Hi Jerome,

    Your diaries have made a huge impact! I've sent them on to family and friends.

    Some immediate results: my brother-in-law went for debt counselling; my mom is looking into geothermal. And here in Seattle, neighborhoods are popping up with sustainability groups. In fact, I'll use your diary to plug our upcoming Sustainability Fair this Sunday for any Seattlelites reading this. Among many great panelists is the editor of Yes! Magazine.

    Peak Oil was discussed in the magazine section of the New York Times just a couple weeks ago, and now today, the Washington Post has an article entitled Cheap Gas Is a Bad Habit.


    "What this country needs is $4-a-gallon gasoline or, maybe, $5. We don't need it today, but we do need it over the next seven to 10 years via a steadily rising oil tax. Coupled with stricter fuel economy standards, higher pump prices would push reluctant auto companies and American drivers away from today's gas guzzlers. That should be our policy. The deafening silence you hear on this crucial subject from the White House, Congress and the media is a sorry indicator of national shortsightedness.

    One way or another, Americans should know that the era of cheap gasoline is history."

    So, please don't give up teaching us :-)  Thanks.

  •  Our 25 years are up (4.00)
    We had fair warning back in the 70s.  Some of us learned.  At the time, the general tenor of the discussion was this:  "We have about 25 or 30 years to rearrange our energy consumption and production patterns.  Best estimates are that is about how long it will take to develop meaningful alternatives to a fossil fuel based energy picture."  We read Amory Lovins and Barry Commoner, looked at the work of Dr. William Heronimus, they provided us a pathway.

    Which the largest part of the American people, and more pertinantly, our political and economic leadership, ignored, rejected or forgot.  Some few of us kept driving 4 cylinder cars, and kept our thermostats down, implemented low-cost/no-cost energy conservation measures in our daily life.  Mostly those that did so were those of us that took such measures as a matter of economic necessity.  But in those same years we saw the rise of the SUV and the McMansion, Reagan scrapped the Carter energy program, the Bushes are oilmen for god's sake, and Clinton simply ignored the looming crisis.  On the corporate side, American business failed to seize the market opportunites  for renewable energy that were developing.  In 1979 American research was far and away ahead of the world, today we lag behind many other nations, good grief, the Danes have lapped us.

    We had the time.  The past quarter century saw a massive failure of national leaderhsip across the board in dealing with energy.  Now we get to reap the whirlwind.  

  •  n/a (4.00)
    I've wondered the same thing, but I think it's really along the lines of everyone has their little pet issues and their cheerleading for various politicans... and no one wants the BIG bad news to ruin the party.

    The fact is, nothing we talk about here really matters in the big picture except for this coming shock to our energy infrastructure.  Nothing.  I know it, the people who are interested enough to read to this point in the diary know it.

    Personally, I've started looking into eco-villages, communes, plots of land and various means of getting off the grid, because from the looks of it, the sky really is falling.

    I don't want to be running around like a jackass when the chaos hits.

  •  Your energy diaries (none)
    ... I read them all, pass them onto friends. But I never comment (is this my first comment ever??), and  don't recommend unless it's a new diary that needs a  bump.

    Isn't there a way to track the number of "hits" on the story? It might be more reflective of importance than recommendations.

  •  It's because (none)
    of exactly the same reason that it takes a hurricane to realize that hurricanes cause flooding: Until there is a really obvious in-your-face problem, nobody cares. And by "real problem" I don't mean a $50 SUV fill-up, but more like a $300 SUV fill-up... It will be a while yet.
  •  Cause and effect (none)
    The problem is that you're just a blogger. Until something forces energy as an issue into the national consciousness, your impact will be limited No matter how much we like to pat ourselves on the back, posting shit on the internet has an extremely limited reach.

    Perhaps those who see this as a serious issue can take things to the next level. Collect some money for ads. Try to work your way into contact with a public figure with some broader reach. If the profile of energy is on the rise nationally, it will be discussed more here. The inverse is not true. It may be time to look beyond the Kos community in pursuing your concerns.

    But the time is right to start pushing the idea into the public sphere. Look, two months ago I was drivng through Arkansas. Truck stops there still have the 1 (you know, for when gas is a buck-something) painted on to their giant billboards. Most have it blacked out, but haven't yet replaced it with a placard they can rotate along with the cents part of the price. Sticker shock is one way to wake people up.

    I'm traveling the US this summer with a couple friends. We'll let you know what we find:, baby.

    by Outlandish Josh on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 03:24:04 PM PDT

  •  One explanation (4.00)
    Speaking solely for myself, I know it's been difficult for me to keep up with energy developments, even though I find them fascinating. Also, when you work full time it's hard to research adequately, especially in a field in which you have no prior experience or education.

    My own take for a long time was that anyone who claimed to know what would happen in the way of oil depletion was foolish, as nothing can be stated for certain about depletion and inventory rates. Yet it's really interesting to read what people like Simmons and Defreyes and even Kunstler say, since they do make relatively confident assertions about the future of oil.

    Now that Katrina has hit, the data becomes even more overwhelming and confusing. I think it's safe to assume that we'll face some shortages and higher fuel prices this winter, and the natural gas situation is really quite dire. I got a lot from your diary on natural gas and shipping, but had barely enough time to study it to do it justice or to read the comments on that thread. Honestly Jerome, sometimes I have barely enough time to hit the recommend button, though I always want to study your contributions.

    Anyway, energy is the most significant national security issue that we must address as a nation, but because speaking to the future of energy requires a technical expertise that few possess, I imagine it's difficult for most people on Kos to contribute meaningfully to the discussion (though many here have niche expertise that one can find nowhere else, particularly in the way of alternative fuels and systems).

    In any case, it doesn't matter whether we write about it or not, energy will hit the economy and politicians pretty hard this year and next, and, just as Hurricane Katrina has so graphically illustrated, our political and security fortunes will be tied more to fate than to any rational planning policy.

    Jackals, weasels, polecats, and donkeys. Boobus Americanus.

    by Thaxter on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 03:27:53 PM PDT

  •  This is certainly (4.00)
    one of the issues of our times. I totally agree with you that it deserves far more attention that it gets. If the Bush admin and its allies spent on energy research the kind of money they spend on war and weapons we might well be on the road to solving our energy problems by now.

    Why do Dems largely ignore the issue? In part I think they remember the hammering Jimmy Carter took over it. People flocked to Reagan over Carter because Carter was trying to sell tough medicine that everyone would have to swallow. Reagan was selling even tougher medicine that only the poor and disenfranchised would have to swallow. I'm afraid that Democrats aren't willing to relive that experience. Fear of terrorism gets votes, gloom and doom about the future of energy gets the other guy votes.

    I don't know how we can change this politically without a major crisis. So far the approach remains that the US will fight to control oil. Things in Iraq may be going badly, but they could get a helluva lot worse and still continue if the American people thought it was the only way to get their oil fix. I think warfare will be used for quite some time to come as the preferred US method of maintaining and energy supply, even after Bush is gone.

    Time flies like the wind, fruit flies like the bananas

    by Warren Terrer on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 03:29:19 PM PDT

  •  D'accord (4.00)
    My strong contention that gas prices are still much too low (but will get a lot higher pretty soon by force if not by choice) falls on deaf ears beyond a small minority.

    I live in the American Midwest and am continually surprised by the use of "exorbitant" gas prices as a   populist rallying cry.

    Mentioning that one wishes gas prices to at least stay the same or rise higher is like farting church.  The last time I said this here at DKos, I was accused of being a liberal elitist.

    Heads are a little thick around these parts . . .

    "A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both." --President Eisenhower

    by rhubarb on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 03:29:58 PM PDT

  •  Right there with you on this (4.00)
    This is a political blog, not an energy one. Yet even the Energy Bill got yawns and nods as it slimed its way through the House and Senate.

    I had a recommended diary on it, specifically the repeal of the Public Utility Holding Company Act, I believe, only by framing it in terms of a case of "sell out Dems" voting to undo a big piece of FDR's New Deal. Meteor Blades also did a front pager on it which got 70 plus comments.

    So the Energy Bill passed. And we are vastly more fucked on account of it. But energy policy will never get the attention it deserves until people realize how important it is.

    If you chart petroleum consumption with population growth in the 20th century, they are syncronous. Our exploitation of cheap, abundant fossil fuels has actually spurred the rapid growth in our population. And that of our pets.

    I can't think of a better point to illuminate the importance of energy on modern civilization. We are like many of the aliens depicted in bad sci-fi movies who flourish on some substance, usually one we humans think will kill the aliens only to find out that our deadly weapon is actually their tasty food.

    If we were bacteria, cheap energy would be water. Add some and watch us grow.

    The problem is simple, we completely take it for granted. We flip on a switch, and light appears. All the while never considering the incredible processes that made that happen.

    I came up with a product idea years ago: a little insert device that plugs into and electrical socket that will tell you how much electricity you use. You plug it in and then plud your TV, stereo, computer etc. into it and it calculates not only how much energy it is using but how much it is costing based on your provider's going kw/hr/$ rate.

    Turns out this was patented years ago. But its not on the market for exactly the same reason energy diaries don't get the attention they deserve: people take energy for granted.

    Recent events may put energy and energy policy back on the front burner. But conservbation, by far the most effective solution we have available is political taboo. In a society where manhood is measured in horsepower, conservation is a pussy word. Jimmy Carter and solar power and flower power.

    So I suggest we reframe the issue from conservation to maximising effency. Real men like efficency.

  •  Read Mancur Olson (none)
    How are the benefits of our current energy policy distributed? How are the costs distributed?

    Energy costs are distributed widely and otherwise masked so individuals pay relatively little attention to energy policy -- meaning no one really cares until costs really begin to hurt.

    No on cares because no one has an incentive to care.

    If you want an indication of what future US energy policy will look like take a look at Jared Diamond's collapse.

    Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

    by Benito on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 03:39:12 PM PDT

  •  As long we are talking here about ignored energy (none)
    diaries, let me link to an underappreciated one on the topic  by Rimjob from a few days back:  Could Oil Be A Renewable Resource?

    And hopefully to liven things up, let me immodestly cite my own  [bombthrowing] comment made in that diary, in support of the title premise:

    The simple geochemical reactions

    The simple geochemical reactions

    occurring in subduction zones constantly that the peak-oil marketeers and oil futures speculators don't talk about, and don't want you to be aware of:

    1. CO3-2 (carbonate from limestone etc) + Fe+2 (ferrous iron, eg pyroxene) + H2O  (>500 degrees C and high pressure in lower crust upper mantle) -->  CH4 (methane) + Fe+3 (Ferric iron eg Fe2O3)

    2. Methane -->(natural Fischer-Tropsch-type reformation chemistry deep inside upper mantle)--> higher hydrocarbons

    3. geochemically formed methane/hydrocarbons + methanaotrophic Archaeae in upper crust --> biological debris (hopanes=bacterial cell wall steroid-like structural building-block chemicals) in geochemical hydrocarbons = "petroleum fossil fuel"

    Its not magic or decayed dinosaurs. It is simple geochemical recycling of carbon (the 4th most common element after H, He, and O) on a planetary scale.

    Please See: Generation of methane in the Earth's mantle: In situ high pressure-temperature measurements of carbonate reduction

    That is why we are not really running out of "fossil fuels".  

    What we are running out of [imho] is unmonopolized and unmanipulated energy supplies.

  •  I Care! Very much! (none)
    I'm evangelizing to the eye-rollers and my area parent community.  

    On Kos, though, I mostly lurk, think, and get great stuff to pass along.  I think it's against Dkos policy to add a comment along the lines of "yeah." and "um hum."  Those are my comments because I'm listening, gathering and weighing.

    Jerome, you are AWESOME.  Your stuff is my in my top 3 favorite, if not actually #1.  Thanks so much for giving all this time and devotion.  Trust me, you just can't see the ripples from your stone.  They're here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the Chicago suburbs.  

    Living life in an uproar.

    by MilwMom on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 03:46:10 PM PDT

  •  At least SOME people are ... (4.00)
    ...listening now, Jerome. As soon as oil prices started on their downward plunge in 1980, it was for two decades almost impossible to get more than a handful of politicians even slightly interested in the subject. And although Hubbert's theory had proved to be right for the United States 10 years earlier, most people ridiculed the idea.

    You've got it easy, monsieur.

    Thirty-one million new blogs are created each year. Try ours at The Next Hurrah.

    by Meteor Blades on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 03:55:20 PM PDT

  •  The biggest problem (IMHO) is (none)
    that people like to talk about the latest news - the latest crisis - and energy has not reached that crisis level yet.  Of course it will in the future; when people are dying because of a major blackout, or we have to go to gas rationing, everyone will be outraged and screaming (mostly at the politicians) "Why wasn't something done back then?? You knew this was going to happen!". (Of course those culpable will probably be gone, leaving someone else to clean up the mess).  

    Thanks for bringing it up, Jerome.  It's really only one of many major problems looming on the horizon that we should also be discussing - global warming, SDI (Star Wars), the deficit, world poverty, etc. etc.  

  •  Need Category for Energy (none)
    Maybe there's already a category for energy.  If so, the mechanism is invisible to me.  With categores (or meta-tagging, or whatever) we could self-organize.

    First and foremost, dailyKos is about the horse-race.  Getting Democrats elected.  Stampeding the toadies.  Etc.  Congratulations to them.  Alas, it's favors breadth over depth.

    Your pet issue, energy policy, is victim of the color and play-by-play treatment current events is given by kos and Armando.

    You're not alone.  My pet issue, fair voting and electorial fraud, sometimes, almost, registers a trickle of interest.  And no wonder.  When Armando decrees that electorial fraud will not be discussed on dailyKos, it's kind of like having someone pee in your morning bowl of Cheerios.

    With categories or meta-tagging or something, we could filter the stories that come through.  That would go along way towards permitting the formation of various interest groups and communities hosted at dailyKos.

    Alas, encouraging emergent self-organization doesn't seem to be part of the plan.  That's cool.  It's their perogative.  The solution is to branch out.  dailyKos has definitely seeded other activities.  Like ePlubius.  That was cool.

  •  Dear Jerome.... (4.00)
    I know how you feel, especially when you obviously put so much work into your articles. It's a rare pleasure to read someone who's positively 'Chomskyian' in backing up their arguments with facts and precedent. But I think you are being stymied by 2 very large, broad reasons that are not limited to this site. To add my 2 cents:

    1) When it comes to issues as large as 'energy policy' there's always going to be a certain amount of apathy, simply because of the staggering size of the issue. Like macroeconomic policies or global warming, I think most people are basically overwhelmed when confronting, shall we say "Big McLarge Huge" issues. What can anyone do? Take global warming, for example. Everything I've read said that as far as effects go, we can't change anything for the next few decades, even if the whole world was to adopt double strength Kyoto protocols tomorrow. Now don't mistake me here. I'm not saying that we should not act on these issues because of this, or that we should not lobby for change in relation to these issues, or anything of that nature. Rather, I'm just saying that it's harder to fire people up about such things. (Especially with regard to most people on this site, who, as other posters have pointed out, are focused on winning elections, the political process, that sort of thing. )

    For example, the main problem with fuel prices is that there are three big time guzzlers out there: China, the USA, and India. Now, I suppose the President could tell

    2) Energy issues in general suffer from a "boy who cried wolf" syndrome. Too many times have various experts made dire predictions that have failed to come true. The two energy crises in 1972 and 1982 have magnified this effect so that people have her d at least twice a flock of experts predict that the end of oil was coming shortly, and stridently demand some industry quota of electric cars or Wankel rotary engines be manufactured. With that damn color coded terror threat system, a lot of people have noted that it is singularly ineffective to stay at an elevated or high alert constantly, as people quickly learn to ignore such things.

    So let's say for example that every prediction you make is 100% accurate. People would STILL ignore it, as they've heard warnings exactly like this at greater or lesser volumes for the past 30 years. You can't blame them, really. The same instinct that makes them ignore warnings on energy is the same instinct that causes people to ignore the latest 'terror alert' from the FBI...

    But all that said, it's also a sleeping giant of an issue, one that has a great potential to cut across party lines. Here in Canada, I was shocked to read that 50% of Canadians favor NATIONALIZING our oil industry. In a nation that produces way more energy than it communes, too! The reason, I think is that many, many people are upset over oil companies 'gouging' them on price. Any politician in 2006 who vows to 'combat gouging at the pump' will be cooking with gas, ha ha ha. Another thought along this vein is a politician explaining that increasing use of alternative energy resources and increasing fuel efficiency will have the effect of DECEASING the price of gas, a seductive pitch even to those republicans currently driving big block Chevy Suburbans.(As demand goes lower, the price will go down, etc.)

    Oh, and one more, recent factor to add: a fair chunk of Dkos is concerned with criticizing the current administration right now. And criticizing the current administration for bad energy policy would be like criticizing Enron for having an insufficiently creative corporate logo: it's pretty far down the list as far as `things to criticize' are concerned. Consider how these two statements grab you: 1) "The Bush Admin. Has a bad energy policy that looks backwards, not forewords!" 2) "The Bush Admin. Incompetence lead directly to the destruction of an American city and the death of thousands of people!" One kinda has a bit more sting than the other, which is maybe another reason why people are not up in arms right now (the arms, so to speak, being currently full with other issues.)  

    SO in conclusion Jerome, I don't know if this has helped you any. But like everyone else here, I encourage you to keep writing. After all, who else will educate us on this important issue?

  •  Jerome, (4.00)
    I love your diaries, as you probably know, as I always recommend them. Someone already said this I bet, but the reason most folks don't pay that much attention is probably due to the fact that people need hope - and there ain't really any hope when it comes to peak oil. I myself have decided to concentrate on getting someone with a brain into power, and to focus on the sort term  - because there is a bit of hope there. It's kind of like getting an aids diagnoses in the late 80's. Knowing you have a year maybe two left to live has quite a way of focusing the mind on today. I do what I can, when I had an opportunity to talk to Howard Dean I brought peak oil up to him, and arranged to get info to him on it.

    The other problem, at least for me, is I am not sure I wan't to live in a post industrial world. I keep remembering visting my step-grandfather's parents in Brady Texas. He had some cows, she kept chickens and had a garden. After dinner they sat around the table and waited for bed. They just sat there doing nothing, not talking, doing absolutly nothing. I hate gardening, I hate sewing. I will be 50 on thursday, and it took me 45 years to find my passion. I have been working as a therapist for 5 years and absolutly love it - and I know it will be gone soon, no way will that career path survive. I ain't cut out to be a farmer.

    We are all wearing the blue dress now.

    by PLS on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 04:09:53 PM PDT

  •  I've read many replies... (4.00)
    On getting a hybrid car, or gas prices at the pump problem, or greenhouses gases, etc...

    In facts those are just the emerged part of the iceberg! The biggest consumer of energy is the industry!

    Don't forget that each time you fit a steel beam or rebar in concrete, you use coal (you can't have steel without coal!). But of course you can buy low grade steel to the Chinese (who have coal) and get it at a better quality in your own country (using energy again). Steel is getting as rare as oil! (Mostly because of Chinese development!)
    Making glass is using energy, as making plastics, as "baking" silicon (for computer chips), as... It's endless!

    It's a global-local problem you have to deal with a very wide perception of what you really want to achieve!
    Buying a bicycle, is getting a good habit, but won't really change anything if industry doesn't start changing.

    Atmosphere pollution can be controlled quite seamlessly by industry (with some regulations) but it won't change the energy problem... The two are distinct and must be seen as such.

    Oil is... Gone! Or at least we will need what is left of it for other means in petrochemicals (until we shift that back to the original origin of plastic, the vegetal cell membrane!)
    At about 50 to 70$ the barrel, many other alternative exists (they are not viable alternatives at 15$ the barrel... yet)!

    Nuclear breeding plants, while scorned by most green guys, and scary as it is, is the only quick alternative to keep industry productive... For the next 50 to 100 years.
    It is not a "clean" source of energy... But we haven't so many choices in the short term.

    Building is another main energy consuming market. All those little wooden houses are not really "green" in the long term in land management! Steel and aluminum should be used only for specific things (like planes) where replacement materials are not so easy to get. In Germany aluminum is banned for windows (too much energy consuming (chemicals and electricity).

    Don't forget that when you get an electrical car (or hybrid), industry builds it with batteries ("heavy metal" toxic ones, like Cadmium, Lithium, not to speak of the old "lead" one with acid) Those are toxic wastes just as dangerous as nuclear ones!

    And hiding behind the oil and industry nightmare, there is the water problem (with the plumbing's and al).
    Car and traffic pollution, is just the tree that hides the forest!

    Most of today's alternatives are not really efficient for "heavy" use... And much too complex for many countries... Unless everybody is ready to really modify his way of living (try using only 15 liters of water per person per household, washing, drinking, cooking!), we are getting there quickly...

    So when you don't really fund research on those topics, you go nowhere... When you don't "educate" people with real incitatives,  you have to stick to the next worse thing that could be cheap enough...!

  •  Guess you got some..... (none)
    attention over her at Kos this time.  I don't like reading your stuff, but I'm glad you are passing on your knowledge.  Denial is a powerful force to overcome!

    When the middle class is gone, who will support the Republicans in the manner to which they have grown accustomed?

    by keepinon on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 04:25:28 PM PDT

  •  from a frog in the water (none)
    i don't read your diaries because (I feel) i don't know enough about energy and our energy policies to a)understand why you're always so worked up about it and b)understand why I should get worked up about it.  

    lame, but true.

    i have a decent understanding of economics, which is why i follow bonddad ardently.  

    "Talking to you is like reading Revelations." -A colleague to me.

    by lapolitichick on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 04:49:23 PM PDT

  •  FWIW I read every one of your diaries (none)
    top to bottom.  I rarely comment because I have little to add in terms of insight, and know you can't respond to all questions (and there are usually a hundred comments by the time i catch it).

    But, I DO use what you say almost every day in discussions and so on.  There is this one guy at work, a real wingnutter, who is always going on about how there are more important things ("moral decay") to worry about than the price of gas.  fuckwit.  He doesn't understand that as energy costs go up, people will DIE.  I appreciate your diaries if for no other reason than to know I am on the side of the facts.

    just more days!

    by joewlarson on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 04:49:48 PM PDT

  •  Jérome, (none)
    i'm always delighted when i come upon one of your diaries.
    Even through they scare the s**t out of me because i can't see how we can't avoid a "mad max" endgame.
    I don't comment them because i find myself not knowledgeable enough to make a cogent contribution.
  •  I've done what I can personally. (none)
     When my car died, I left it parked. I take mass transit everywhere now. I walk a lot more as well.

     I live in a place that requires very little utility usage, especially heat.

     There's not much else in the way of energy I can personally save beyond that save by unplugging everything. I'm unwilling to go that far, though. 8)

    I tell you there is a fire. They have this day set a blazing torch to the temple of constitutional liberty and, please God, we shall have no more peace forever.

    by Anderson Republican on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 04:59:17 PM PDT

  •  I whine, I boil, AND I conserve. (4.00)
    I just spent the day insulating my house, crawling around the crawlspace with a respirator and putting in insulation. next is finding any airspace that lets cold air in and sealing it. I'm fortunate I work at home- but I've cut my driving in half by consolidating things into one trip and avoiding spurios trips. I agree that Americans use too much gas, as was evident in my last trip to town, seeing only one occupant in just about every SUV (there are a lot of them here in colorado). unfortunately, America never invested in mass transit. I do care, and I think $4-$5 gas might wake a lot of americans up as to peak oil and whatnot. a fuel tax earmarked for mass transit would build the infrastructure needed to deal with peak oil and rising prices. and would only help the economy in the longterm .
  •  I'm ashamed to admit (none)
    I used to work in the energy industry and I haven't participated in any of the discussions here at dKos. I don't know, maybe I just got got burnt out years ago w.r.t. trying to tell everyone about the coming crisis and just being regarded as a nutter.

    To see all my predictions coming true doesn't even give me the satisfaction of schadenfreude since it always wacks the poor waaay before the rich start to feel a pinch. I wish we could scale the cost of energy with income so it is felt broadly, but there isn't any feasible way this could be applied in time.

    Just call me bummed out about the whole thing.

  •  Neighborhood organizing (none)
    I take this seriously enough to joke about it (the end of the ultimate dKos lightbulb joke). My personal slant on peak oil is neighborhood organization. I'm hoping to pull together a neighborhood organizing kit with the people from Portland Peak Oil. We have a window of opportunity with Katrina to talk to our neighborhoods about emergency preparedness, which can lead to wider talks about peak oil preparedness. I hope.
  •  This is.. (4.00)
    in part a societal problem.  We have WAY too much issue du jour here in the good ole USA (the ~500 diaries about Mike Brown resigning his post).  The timescale of interest for energy issues (though you and I know it is not long) is WAY too long for people to care.  Look at our "solutions".  My favorite being "cut the taxes on fuel so it is cheaper".  Huh?  

    Education is also a key.  I think - perhaps not on dkos but certainly the populace of this country - that people do not get that oil is a non-renewable resource.

    I am in you camp.  It is the issue that must be addressed.  But i feel too powerless at this point.  Frankly it gets me depressed.  

  •  shiiiiiiiiiiiiiit (merde) (none)
    not only do i read your diaries, but i just the other day sent one to my girlfriend (who told me to stop depressing her with political stuff so i sent her your uplifting energy policy diary).  i only drive 10 mi per day (to work and back) and do every other trip by bicycle.  i don't run any excess power during the day; i shut off my 2 window unit ACs entirely despite being deep in the heat of texas.  when i'm home, i only run one at a time depending on what room i'm in.  i've even quit eating meat (well, anything with lungs anyway).

    it slays me how entrenched we are in the fossil fuels game.  go to los angeles or houston or atlanta if you want to truly be repulsed.  if you want to be only moderately repulsed, watch anytown usa during rush hour and see all the cars bumpered to bumper, heading in the same direction with one person in each vehicle.

    here in austin we have some free monthly magazine that i picked up yesterday from the smoothie store that featured two articles about peak oil.  it's sad that it takes peak oil to get us to sober up and kick (or at least think about reducing our need for) the junk.  seeing pictures of the oil in the water following hurricane katrina should be incentive enough, but the fuckyoumobiles, as bill maher puts it, continue to burn their 8 miles to the gallon.

    part of the problem, from my perspective (greenhorn as it may be) is that we live like we've always lived this way.  electricity is a forgone conclusion, just like the combustion engine.  just like this notion that if you earn more money, you are entitled to depleting more resources through your lifestyle choices.  indoctrination has been substituted for reason.

    alors, il faut que je vous demande, jerome, what does just one of us do?  one of us peons who reads your diaries but doesn't have the clout to bring it to a national (or municipal or state) stage?  you're right, the democrats aren't doing anything about it.  the democrats are largely financed by wall street just like the republicans.  the system is broken.  and you're right again in that this crisis is headed towards being used for republican exploitation, but WHAT DO WE DO WHEN NOBODY IS LISTENING?!

    my new best strategy is to hope there's a god who appreciates my attempts to tread lightly on this planet, because i too get the feeling that man doesn't appreciate my efforts to save our asses.

    "Private property means you get nothing"
    -Jeff Ott

    by mediaprisoner on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 06:03:48 PM PDT

  •  Anybody read "The Long Emergency" (none)
    by James Howard Kuntsler (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2005)?
    Another ignored hero.
    Kuntsler summerizes the current energy/population/environment situation and comes to the conclusion that we're probably fucked as far as maintaining our modern industrial society. Energy Alternatives? Sorry, too little too late. Maybe by the end of the decade, late 2020s at most, it's all over.
    Not completely convincing, but pretty convincing. He is not hopeless, however, and feels that some kind of civilization will probably survive. Very entertaining, & scary.
    I bought 10 copies, and am about to buy 10 more for distribution to my friends, media, and local pols.

    PS, if you live in the Southwest, you're REALLY fucked.
    France, he says, is in pretty good shape, though.
    pps. Kuntsler's blog is "Clusterfucknation".
    Did I say he is darkly humorous?

    Book of the Millenium,IMHO.

    "Go in peace, errant sisters." -Horace Greeley, April, 1861

    by faithnomore on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 06:07:11 PM PDT

  •  state governments? (none)
    california has some subsidies for renewables and research although there is a money problem here. perhaps a new governor would help as I don't really trust someone with multiple hummers to be interested in the environment much beyond pr. fuelcells are not a power source.

    I also think environmentalists have to choose their battles, if it is a choice between dirty coal and oil wars and making drastic energy cuts I have a guess on what Americans will pick.  for example I don't think protesting hydroelectric or wind power is justified in most cases.

    I agree that this current spike is caused by speculation, although there are good reasons why the speculators pushed oil up that high this time.

    as for dkos, how can Democrats run on a platform of higher energy taxes and win elections? that will be the framing challenge here.

    as far as I can tell Republican strategy is getting cheap gas by drilling ANWR, getting rid of all environmental laws, and threatening other countries. surely we can run on something better than that.

  •  Energy Blogs? (none)
    Are there any blogs on the topic people should be regularly checking?  It may be easier for individual stories/issues to get traction with a central location from which stories can percolate to the rest of the blogosphere.

    You could certainly count me among the members (lurkers, at least) of such a blog.

  •  Don't give up on us Jerome (none)
    And please don't quit writing diaries about energy. We've got a lot on our plates over here and we're being led by, and are surrounded by, imbecilic energy pigs. We feel helpless much of the time because things usually have to hit absolute rock bottom here before they begin to improve. When this country finally comes to it's senses, it will play a leading role in conservation & alternative energies. In the meantime, most of us progressives are doing all we can to conserve. (Ironic, eh?)

    There is no force more potent in the modern world than stupidity fueled by greed. -ed abbey

    by elkhunter on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 06:54:04 PM PDT

  •  I share your sense of urgency (none)
    entirely. It is especially maddening to talk with "progressive" friends who complain about the "high" price of gas and use it to take cheap shots at Bush.  

    The truth is that fuel should be taxed up to two or three times it's current price with off-setting reductions on the low end of the income tax and/or social security.  We could probably remove everyone below about $50K/year in income from the tax rolls with higher fuel taxes.  The incentives would work wonders to stop energy waste.  Many other positive benefits would also flow from higher fuel taxes.

    That we as a nation are not discussing energy more is staggering testimony to the ignorance of the American people and to the incompetence/irrelevance of the American press.  

    While this a hugely important domestic issue, it is even more important as a foreign issue.  American policy has essentially degenerated to supporting two distinct goals: 1) the control of the world oil supply (and a few other key minerals); and 2) the expansion of the Israeli borders.  Not only are both goals stupid for most of us on the face of it, they are even at cross purposes with each other.  

    We are hurtling toward certain disaster ignoring all of the obvious warning signals because it might cause us some inconvenience to change course......kind of like the Titantic.


  •  The Supreme Court Will Greatly Limit (none)
    what we will be able to do till the middle of the century.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 07:02:21 PM PDT

  •  Every time (none)
    I go to a local Dem function and see local politicos like the Mayor.  I advoctate getting at least one of our deep water wells off the grid.  We need to at least prepare to have the means to keep a few pumps going when the grid goes down.  Pumps for outgoing sewage are crucial to preventing a health disaster.  Most folks think I'm crazy.
  •  Is John Conyers paying attention? (4.00)
    The environmental crisis and Bush crisis are almost one in the same.  At the exact moment in history that we reach a turning point on energy and global warming we get saddled the worst president on environmental policy in history.  Getting rid of Bush and the repugs will go a long way towards at least addressing the looming crisis.

    This could be the issue that the dems could take hold of that would trump religion, family values, gay marriage- all those non issues that the repugs use to get the base stirred up.  It will work because the energy crisis will affect everyone's wallet no matter what party they normally vote for.  And global warming will threaten the lives of all they know and love no matter what god they believe in.

    A small example.  Had dinner with my boss the other day.  He's an arch republican, Bush supporter who has ridiculed me for years for being a "tree hugger".  Over dinner the only thing he could talk about was oil prices and how it is going to affect absolutely everything.  For a smart guy he's pretty fucking stupid to just now put two and two together, but he's on the way.  It'll take him some more personal pain to realize that maybe there is something to conservation and all the things environmentalists have been saying all these years, but common sense comes to most people once it's a matter of putting food on the table rather than just how big their next car is going to be.

    So Jerome's diaries are very important and smart dems like John Conyers who like to visit this site should take notice.  When the conservatives in this country wake up one morning and realize that the energy crisis/global warming is not just something that future generations will have to deal with but a burden that they themselves saddled their own children with they will have a hard time looking at themselves in the mirror.  Will the Democratic leadership be ready take their hands and show them the (real) light?

  •  Half way... (none)
    I only made it half way through the comments.... I guess I have to say a lot of people are too scared to think about.  Also the "cry wolf" syndrome is at work.  (I'm old enough to remeber the 70's and the sky is falling mentality which went poof.)  

    Likewise, Bonddads stuff quickly goes through the diary's.  So much good stuff goes by so fast.  I wish we could have a longer list of recommended diary's.  Or maybe two or three shorter Recommendeds by topic such as foreign, economic, politics....

    I know it is grown pains.  And the site is huge.  I personally read a lot of the economic and financial stuff, you, Bonddad, some others.  And I skip many of the other topics.  And I'm totally not interested in the flame wars.

    But I do appreciate what you write.  And I do recommend.  And we have done things to make our lives more energy efficient.  And re re-cycle.  But I don't comment as offten as I should.

    Keep up the good work.  If what I think is going to happen with gas and heating this fall happens, there may be a lot more people reading what you write.

  •  Jerome... (none)
    ...I agree. The biggest issue of our time. As another poster said, everything else we do is naval gazing if we do nothing about this issue.

    It's not even a partisan issue: but it should be! The Dems have their heads in the sand about this as much as the Republicans (look at Ed Markey's foolish suggestion to release oil from the SPR to prick the supposed "oil bubble"). And of course, George Bush is a tool of the oil industry, look at his ridiculous mirage hydrogen economy he keeps touting.

    Another issue with situations like this is that they can result in cascading catastrophes. The end can come very quickly. I'm afraid that instead of 15-20 years of slowly declining oil supplies and painful adjustment, we're going to run into a series of sudden catastrophes and everything is going to go south in a very short time.

  •  Alternative Fuel & Energy Sources (4.00)
    must be a priority! I for one am insisting that the Democratic Party make this one of the biggest issues for the 2008 election cycle and Congress has got to get their shit together and start seriously supporting new technology to ease dependence on Saudi oil.

    Nothing would make me happier than to see the Saudis back to riding camels and living in tents because their "black gold" is worthless one day... and American Big Oil go begging to sell their ill-gotten petroleum harvested from environmentally sensitive areas (Gulf of Mexico and the Artic Wildlife area.)

    September 2nd Senator Hillary Clinton addressed this very issue, to wit:

    SYRACUSE, N.Y., Sept. 2 -- Pressed by constituents alarmed by skyrocketing gasoline prices in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) accused oil companies of manipulating energy markets to enhance profits and decried a lack of national leadership for a plan to free the country from dependence on foreign oil.

    "I think it's time to send a clear message to what has become the most profitable sector in our entire economy that they're being watched," she said in explaining her call for an inquiry by the Federal Trade Commission. "I think human nature left to itself is going to push the limit as far as possible, and that's what you need a government regulatory system for: to keep an eye on people to make the rules of the game fair, to make a level playing field and not give anybody some kind of undue advantage."

    Clinton criticized the new energy bill, which she opposed, as inadequate to solve the country's long-term energy problem. She said the United States has regressed over the past three decades, since the first oil shocks of the early 1970s. "We've had 30 years to do some things we haven't done," she said. "In fact we've gotten, we've gone backwards in many respects.

    "I am tired of being at the mercy of people in the Middle East and elsewhere, and I'm tired frankly of being at the mercy of these large oil companies," Clinton said.

  •  Please keep posting! (4.00)
    The stuff that you, bonddad & Sterling Newberry write are some of the best stuff I read, and I read all day due to the nature of my job.

    I do wish they would have a separate section where economic topics(vs purly political topics) remain for longer periods of time - sort of like an economics diary that gets maintained by Kos.

    In fact, the site is getting so large that some compartmentalization needs to take place.

    The best thing about these types of posts is that the government (& by extension MSM) has lost control of the news topics.  When you think about it, it is not the way the MSM slants a story that is the most dangerous. It is what they decide to cover and not to cover - the setting of the agenda.

    While the raw numbers of those of us who read these pages (Kos, Americablog, TPM, Atrios, C&L, Huffington, ...) are small compared to the number of sheeple watching the networks (+ fox news and CNN), the growth has to be scaring the shit out of "the powers that be".  

    Keep it up!

  •  Keep chuggin! I tried to get a serious marketing (4.00)
    meme discussion on energy started yesterday, and only got 4 friggin' responses!  Disasppointing to say the least, as I was trying to build on your well-researched and debated threads by putting the issue into market-speak.

    One thing I believe we need to get American voters interested and excited about the issue is a succinct phrase that captures both the sense of urgency (downside) and the glorious benefits to be accrued (upside).  Not trying to find a cute phrase for pure marketing sake, but I am trying to distill the issue so that both politicians and voters can get squarely behind it.

    Look, we didn't even start thinking about going to the moon until Sputnik kicked our nationalistic ass.  What is the 'burning platform' that we can use to motivate folks to care?  I thought it was the Iraq war.  And it should certainly be Katrina.  But maybe it will be Katrina's after-effects, combined with an intense cold spell during the winter, maybe with another unforeseen calamity thrown in on top of it (maybe massive power outage or something).

    I know it sucks to be a pioneer, as you always end up with the arrows in your chest.  But what you are doing here on dKos is both very important and highly worthwhile.  Do not give up!!

    Demand Energy Independence by 2025!

    by Doolittle Sothere on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 07:48:27 PM PDT

  •  Change Society--Save Energy (4.00)
    Dependence on the auto is dragging us down--using huge amounts of capital, oil, and time.  But things really are changing--and not just from higher gas prices, but from inefficiency and the time squeeze that we all experience when we spend hours commuting by car.

    From our politicians we need laws (social policy) that facilitate a smooth transition into the post-automobile society.

    Here is how the future looks to me, and it is friendlier and more sociable:

    1. Densely populated communities with most things within walking distance.

    2. People working and attending school from home, while forming strong social ties in their local neighborhoods.

    3. Robust, inexpensive, universally available infrastructure for Internet communications.

    4. An excellent rail system connecting cities.

    5. Goods not available near home are purchased over the internet and delivered to homes by efficient trucks.

    6. Corporations with network-style organization rather than top-down, heirarchical, command and control structure. (Few face-to-face meetings)

    7. Multiuse of large buildings for longer portions of the day is more efficient.  

    "Nine Shift" by Draves and Coates describes these changes in an interesting way.
  •  in the end, what we can do... (none)
    there's a macro level and a micro level.

    The macro level is national energy policy, which we can only get moving in the right direction if we get Democrats elected and and fight to get the most effective policies we can wring out of the body politic. Which means, focus on electoral politics.

    Meanwhile, each and any of us can create personal energy policies of our own, adhere to them, and each help in some small way, or large, if you are dedicated/desparate enough.  Ride a bike, use mass transit, grow a garden, even if it is just some planter boxes on a balcony, buy a hybrid, drive the same car for 250 k miles, create an entire, off-grid lifestyle. Whatever.  Replace all your lightbulbs with a more energy efficient substitute. It matters less WHAT you do than that you do it and tell all your friends you did, and encourage them to, also.
    That's the micro level.

    don't always believe what you think...

    by claude on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 07:55:46 PM PDT

  •  I wish others would care about environmental (none)
    issues, too.

    They are, often, intertwined.

    I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

    by jillian on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 08:34:20 PM PDT

  •  Absolutely (none)
    I for one greatly appreciate your diaries, Jerome, and share your frustration. I think some people avoid the topic simply because of how depressing it is. Frankly speaking, we are headed towards a catastrophic energy crisis, one that could lead to massive social upheaval and the deaths of millions due to a lack of food. That may be too difficult for some people, even fellow liberal bloggers, to deal with...much easier to talk about the latest political controversy, I suppose.

    But in my mind there is no larger problem than the end of the cheap oil era. Nothing else will have the same impact on our lives. We all need to get serious about the changes necessary to survive, both on a personal level and a social level.

    Above all, we cannot afford to delude ourselves into thinking that small measures will be enough to avoid a crisis. Recycling ain't gonna cut it, nor will simply buying a hybrid (I drive a Prius, for what it's worth) be enough, though it can buy us time. We must begin the difficult task of drastically redesigning our cities, embracing the principles of the new urbanism to end our car-based way of life. We must also immediately change how we grow food, as our current system is heavily reliant on fossil fuels and thus unsustainable.

    But above all we here at dKos need to start taking this issue seriously. We need to take advantage of the current situation, where Bush is at an all time low and gas prices are seen as incredibly high (though I agree with Jerome that they will escalate quickly, making today's prices seem cheap). If surviving in the future is not enough motivation, political points should be enough.

    Want to talk environmental policy with fellow Kossacks? Visit Greenstate Blog today!

    by byoungbl on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 08:46:33 PM PDT

  •  Frameshop (none)

    This being a political board, perhaps these frames would aid in discussion.  


    Bring back the milkman!

    In the Good Old Days people had milk delivered to their door.  Having twenty trucks from the dairy delivering milk to houses in the neighborhood would be much more fuel-efficient than trucking milk to a supermarket and having 1,000 people drive to pick up their milk.  For that matter, why not deliver bread, cat food and other needs?  

    Traffic alleviation

    Maybe you, Mr. SUV Owner, would not like to give up your drive, but you hate traffic jams.  More people on the train mean fewer on the road and fewer traffic jams.  Wouldn't you like to sleep in an extra hour and come home an hour early?  


    For each gallon you put in your tank, another penny goes to Al-Qaeda. (Numbers are wild guesses, but if it's good enough for the WSJ...)


  •  Whatever will be will be... (none)
    I'm fully convinced of the reality of Peak Oil production, and the Kunstlerian Long Emergency that we face.

    I do not however believe that we as a society can actually do anything about the coming disruptions.

    They will be profound.

    We will begin to respond as the price of hydrocarbon energy rises.  

    Everything will change.

    Nothing will change until the price of energy changes.

    Once it does change significantly, kiss the world as we know it goodbye.  

    I've tried to imagine policies that we could adopt now that would make a difference five years from now, and I do draw a blank.

    I find proposals to conserve, buy more fuel efficient cars, mandate the production of more fuel efficient cars, and develop alternative energy generation systems (wind, solar, geothermal, whatever) to be ABSURD.   Every one of those things will happen when the cost of hydrocarbon energy causes them to make sense.  Government policy can shift the speed of their deployment by a few years at most, and maybe not even by that much.

    So the storm is coming, and it's going to hurt.  Put your own house in order.  But as a society, an economy or a nation, what're you going to do?

    Don't go running around the middle east trying to control the oil... it's running out anyway and you'll just make a lot of enemies... they'll sell you the oil anyway... they won't be able to afford not to.

    DO buy lots of SUVs because the sooner we run through the oil, the sooner we will begin to develop alternatives... or don't buy SUVs because... what? ... we want the oil economy to last LONGER?   I think it actually  makes more sense to waste the oil than conserve it.

    Makes more sense to me to hasten the crisis than to delay it frankly.

  •  Your diaries are appreciated (none)
    I always read your diaries when I see them and will recommend them more often. They are very informative.

    As to why there's little interest, here's my perspective:

    Beyond basic conservation, what can we as individuals do?

    We need a huge investment in developing alternative energy sources and a clear-eyed look at global warming, among other things.

    This won't happen until Democrats are in office. Even then it might not happen given the death-grip that the energy companies have on politicians. This country needs reform on so many fronts.

    Please keep writing.

  •  Keep writing 'em, Jerome. (none)
    I've found 'em all fascinating and useful.

    Suggestion:  Maybe one thing we can do is start to bring this to people in other, more immediate terms, e.g. a diary on:

    What's a list of 10-12 things I could look into to save $$ on this winter's heating bill/electric bill?

    It's going to be a helluva winter for the poorest, and an opportunity to raise efficiency issues with an economic/money-saving frame.

    I've been wanting to develop something simple along these lines to share with friends, but just haven't been able to focus in on it very well when I get home from work after long days at the office.

    Let's get serious about renewables and efficiency. It's time to Win the Oil Endgame.

    by by foot on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 09:54:10 PM PDT

  •  We're paying attention ... (none)
    ... and at least some of us who write little but read much are working to put the information to constructive use. For example, my (Rep) state legislator is forming a task force on renewable energy that will recommend policy and specific legislation for Arizona in the coming session. I expect to be part of that panel, and your diaries, Jerome, are important resources for me in shaping my own concerns and ideas. We have an opportunity to do a lot of good here, and I'm optimistic that it will go forward soon on a bipartisan basis. Please keep up the good work.
  •  Cassandra (4.00)
    A word of heartfelt support for your efforts, and expressing my gratitude for I learned a lot from your diaries.

    Personally I believe America is fucked. In 5, 10 years tops, it'll look like a cross between Argentina and Russia, with a bit of Nairobi thrown in.

    Nothing can stop it; only the exact "when" and "how"  remain to be seen.

    You're Cassandra screaming at the Trojans.

  •  Post fossil fuel era (none)
    I have to admit that I am not all that concerned about the future of energy in this country. Energy policy seems to be more about grabbin the cash than they are about a lack of resources. When we finally find ourselves approaching the end of the fossil fuel era, I have faith that we will solve these problems without a lot of pain. After all there's money to be made and these oil companies aren't just going to shrivle up and die. When the time comes they will make the neccessary investments in things like bio-deisel and other feasable energy alternatives. The technology and research is already out there. It's just a matter of time and money.  

    If you push something hard enough, it will fall over. Fudds first law of opposition.

    by UhClem on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 11:33:50 PM PDT

  •  How much is spent on the war.................... (none)
    versus the amount of "our hard earned taxes" that is spent on alt. energy research?
    I don't know and am really asking if anyone has some figures.
  •  I htink its history (4.00)
    People just don't want to risk what I call the "Carter Effect".  He was right on energy, warning us to turn down the thermostat, drive energy efficient cars, get some solar collectors for the roof...not because we were at the mercy of OPEC even then (we were), but because the oil would eventually run out.  

    To this day, he is seen as one of the worst and most ineffectual Presidents of the last century, largely because he had the temerity to insist that Americans should sacrifice.  Many people see the Reagan Revolution as his fault, think that we lost a whole generation due to his "weakness" which they mean his unwillingness to pander.  This is, in fact, the central tenet of the DLC.  That is what makes its automatic acceptance around here so ironic.

    It is my opinion that Carter was one of the best 2 presidents of the 20th century...not one of the worst.  He asked us to rise above our selfishness, to work together for the good of all mankind...and we (well not me, but oyu know what I mean) laughed at him and elected a fake cowboy.  Does that make him bad or us bad?

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety -- Ben Franklin

    by TheGryphon on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 04:43:30 AM PDT

  •  Profound changes... (none)
    are coming. I totally agree with your diaries about energy. In fact, over the last month I've become convinced that modern life, as we know it, is on the verge of a complete transformation as a result of oil shortages and finally the lack of oil altogether. Why is it that when I try to talk with someone about this, they look at me as if I've said aliens colonized the earth?

    I think we have so bought into the myth that everything will be okay - keep buying those SUV's and building those suburban communities miles from the center of towns - that to consider anything different is, frankly, terrifying.

    I'm quite sure that Cheney and the govt are also very aware of this fact, and it drives everything they do -- it's all about oil. Maybe it's not all just about money for the rich -- maybe it's the ultimate end game -- grab as muich oil as possible as quickly as possible or game over.

    The American way of life and the world economy will change in ways that are hard to get my head around. It's overwhelming.

  •  if it makes you feel better (none)
    I've been reading your energy diaries recently and I usually have little to say except for "Amen."  Which doesn't contribute much to the discussion, so I usually don't say anything at all.  Which, of course, contributes less to the discussion.
  •  You are right Jerome (none)
    Once you understand Peak Oil, and it takes time and research to understand it, then it becomes very scary. It is only since cheap energy became exploited through transportation, manufacturing and agriculture, etc. that the world's population has soared. We cannot support this population without petroleum based fertilizers and pesticides. Impossible. We cannot travel or ship products with out this cheap energy. All of our urban/suburban planning, economics, and everything is based on cheap oil.

    Understanding this is fundamental to understanding what Cheney Inc. has been doing. Why did he change his view that invading Iraq in the first Iraq war would be a quagmire. Did he want a quagmire this time around? I doubt it. in his mind we are succeeding in Iraq because we are sitting on top of the oil there. Look at all of the bases we opened in Central Asian countries. We circle the oil, and we are between it and China and Russia. If you believe that "the American way of life is not negotiable" then this makes complete sense. And so do the lies to get into this war to begin with.

    Understanding our energy predicament also allows an opening of the mind with regards to 9/11. I think the Katrina disaster was made worse through pure incompetence, but if they did purposely delay responding, it could be to create "Demand Destruction" naturally with out getting blamed out right for it.

    You are right Jerome. This is the single most important issue. There was a post yesterday about a neocon conspiracy to depopulate the world. That idea fits nicely with Peak Oil. Capitalism isn't working as we learned it should. These guys are rigging the system everyday. They are going for it all. They are working on giving themselves the best chance for survival. Their only hope is that we don't wake up to what has happened until it is too late.

    Actually is is too late already.

  •  Just too big and scary (none)
    I think one interesting thing about this issue is that it's bipartisan. Plenty of conservatives think that SUVs are tools of Al Qaeda.

    So, it seems to me that this is a good swing voter issue and one that could result in the passage of legislation. But it is a really big, huge, scary issue, especially for people who live in areas where you now seem to need a car to survive, and seriously contemplating it is sort of like contemplating the fact that Soylent Green might really be people. I think a lot of people would rather watch video of needles going into eyeballs.

    Maybe another reason that the issue doesn't get that much attention here is that Daily Kos seems to appeal more to people who are interested in horse races and in rather trivial hot-button social issues than to policy wonks. It seems as if maybe the Washington Monthly site might be a better site for formulating an energy policy. Daily Kos is more the kind of place you'd come once an energy policy was developed and you wanted to pillory the wingnut nincompoops who were getting in the way of enacting it.

    We will all follow.

    Transparency + Accountability = Honesty (that way we won't have to rely on trust.)

    by David in Burbank on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 08:37:50 AM PDT

  •  Problem (none)

    The problem with energy as a political issue is that present-day energy prices aren't too high; they're too low by a factor of at least 2.

    We need to use less fossil fuels -- world-wide, which means particularly in the USA. The only reasonable way to manage that is to raise the consumer's price, preferrably with a "carbon tax."

    And energy companies will gleefully point out that they will pass that on to the consumer. "You're cost of living will rise if Palmer's plan is adopted." Now, the answer to a cost rising due to the imposition of a tax is usually to lower other taxes, but the deficit is so large due to the lowering of taxes on the rich that the government can't afford any more reductins.

    So, the governmental solution is electorally impossible.

  •  Daily Kos brings me Jerome a Paris (4.00)
    and Stirling Newberry.

    I'm good. thanks!

    "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

    by marjo on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 09:46:55 AM PDT

  •  Energy in America... (none) a lot like the levees that surround New Orleans.  We all know there's a problem - a big one.  Even those fools who chalk oil prices up to short term speculation must recognize that oil is a finite resource.  The dinosaurs are dead and we can't exactly make more in a pinch.  Oil exhaustion has been a part of industry and scientific discussion since at least 1977, about the time peak production was reached in this country.

    Much like the levees, everyone knows the danger.  Everyone knows there is a solution.  The average person is utterly powerless to make the change and the government remains unwilling to do so.  Yet we go to work every day in the sadow of a looming threat telling ourselves, "someday somebody should do something."  And then tragedy strikes and we run around trying to figure out why nothing got done.

    It's called fear.  A lot of people on this board are in denial just as deep as any self-respecting Poweline blogger.  They don't want to deal with it.  They're powerless to make a change, yet they're the ones that will pay the price when tragedy finally strikes.  

    I've lost all patience for the deniers - those who say that oil won't run out, those who say global warming isn't happening.  Fine.  You think you're so damn smart that you can deny half a century of hard science.  Go ahead.  I've got a plan - how about everyone else?

    No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. - Edward R. Murrow

    by CrazyHorse on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 09:49:15 AM PDT

  •  Democrats should be all over this one (4.00)
    I know others have commented on this (and better than I could), but, I have to add a few me-too words. We need a Cold War-sized R&D initiative from the Federal Government into new energy sources and the technologies to use them. It needs (just as did the Cold War) to involve a top-down re-prioritization of everything from our education system to our national defense. Since energy technology is vital to the public weal, it would mean jobs that couldn't be off-shored because the knowledge and abilities involved are critical to our national survival. It would mean using all of our people (minorities and women included) because one can never tell who will have the best idea to solve a problem. It would mean encouraging start-up companies that employ bright people to create these new technologies. It would mean the revitalization of our manufacturing capabilities because energy should usually be consumed close to where it is generated, hence helping the Rust Belt areas. In short, it could provide the unifying theme for all the new ideas progressive Democrats have been discussing for decades.


  •  You are an absolute necessity here (4.00)
    My brother (he has a MAster's in Sustainable Systems) has been preaching the same gospel for quite a while.  He, to start with, and you more recently, have inspired me to do more to take an active role in energy conservation and renewable energy resources.  My wife an I are building a house.  Of course, it will be Energy Star qualified, but when we have the money we are going to convert to a Solar/Wind hybrid electricity system to power our entire house.  You may not get front-paged like you deserve, but you DO make a difference to this community.  Keep posting!!!!!!!!!!
  •  I care (none)
    I care a lot. But I find myself frustrated at the lack of options available. Any suggestions? I intend to sell my lil truck that gets about 25MPG for a scoter that will get at least 50MPG but STILL requires gas.

    The electric sccoters and cars have a range of 50 miles maximum and are so hard to find you have to have them shipped to you.

    I have moved closer to my work - what was a 30-45 minute drive is now 10 minutes. I'd love to know about other alternatives. Where are the solar cars and why are electric cars being recalled and crushed!?

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." - M. Gandhi

    by leftout on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 11:45:16 AM PDT

  •  I didn't think so. (none)
    Since I am a political newby - still learning much of the subtle or less-used terminology, I searched your diary for the word jingosistic.  Just as I thought- No one commented or helped defined the term.  Perhaps a reflection of widespread ignorance to the term.  As well as American Exceptionalism.

    So I wiki'd the terms.

    Here they are without further comment:

    "...Jingoism is a term describing chauvinistic patriotism, especially with regard to a hawkish political stance.

    The term originated in Britain, introduced by Irish music-hall singer G. H. MacDermott at the London Pavilion during the diplomatic crisis of 1878, when Britain's Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli convinced the Tsar to retreat from Bulgaria, restoring it and Macedonia to Ottoman rule. The chorus of a song by MacDermott and G. W. Hunt commonly sung in pubs at the time gave birth to the term. The lyrics had the chorus:

    We don't want to fight
    But, by Jingo, if we do,
    We've got the ships,
    We've got the men,
    We've got the money, too.
    The expression "by Jingo" is apparently a minced oath that appeared rarely in print, as far back as the 17th century, a transparent euphemism for "by Jesus", but it has also been given origins in languages which would not have been very familiar in the British pub: a corrupted borrowed word from the Basque "Jainko", meaning "God". A claim that the term referred to Jingu of Japan has been entirely dismissed.


    "...American exceptionalism is the idea that the United States and the American people hold a special place in the world, by offering opportunity and hope for humanity, derived from a unique balance of public and private interests governed by constitutional ideals that are focused on personal and economic freedom. Political science defines it as presence of unique traits in the United States, such as high levels of religiosity and the failure of socialist parties, that do not correlate with national characteristics in other industrialized and democratic countries.

    Some interpret the term to indicate a moral superiority of Americans, while others use it to refer to the American concept as itself an exceptional ideal, which may or may not always be upheld by the actual people and government of the nation. Dissenters claim "American exceptionalism" is little more than crude propaganda, that in essence is a justification for a America-centered view of the world that is inherently chauvinistic and jingoistic in nature. Historians and political scientists may use the term to simply refer to some case of American uniqueness without implying that an innate superiority of Americans resulted in the development of that uniqueness.

    Hope this helps someone...anyone.

    Hold on New Orleans...We'll be right back!

    by ssolice on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 12:35:51 PM PDT

  •  389 comments? pure greed! (none)
  •  There have been (none)
    plenty of postings from both Markos and Armando on energy policy on Not to mention several diaries and comments posted by Dailykos members, including multiple entries on energy by a poster named "Jerome a Paris."

    By the way, how's that road to $100 per/barrel oil coming?

  •  go Jerome (none)
    I rarely comment, so I must care, right?

    I think most Amurikans have their heads firmly wedged, uh... you know where.

    Another mom at my son's preschool was lamenting the fact that gas prices have gone up.  They just traded in their perfectly good minivan for one of those monster-sized SUVs that seats 1/2 the town.  (Better yet, they financed it, and they have an interest-only mortgage that they can barely afford.)    Why do they need this?  They have 2 small kids and live within walking distance of the school and many other destinations.  Unfortunately, for such people, I think it's going to take a lot of PAIN in order for changes to happen.

    I see good energy policy as something which has serious overlap with American independence, with healthy foreign policy, with healthy economic growth, not to mention environmental stewardship.  Selling it to the people is important, too.


  • Close


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