Originally Posted by baby boo
Well I, personally, don't have any problem with higher fuel prices. And I have no objection to better fuel economy standards.
During the 1973 oil crises I'm sure that people were arguing, like you are now, that nuclear power is not the immediate solution to our problem. No it's not an immediate solution but if had been implemented at the time we would not be having this dicussion today. We're not going to achieve energy independence overnight and, until then, encouraging conservation, increased drilling, use of alternative sources etc. all have a role to play. As does planning for the future.
In principle there is nothing wrong with letting the arabs pump and sell us their oil. I have great faith in the capitalist system. I think that we should just allow oil to seek its own price level instead of trying to enforce price controls on the oil companies which invariably will result in shortages or gimmicks like releasing supplies from the strategic oil reserves (like Bush has been encouraged to do in some quarters) which is just a temporary solution (if you recall Clinton tried that last trick and it's effect on gasoline prices was both miniscule and transient).
The price of oil will settle at whatever the supply/demand curve dictates. As it rises it will automatically encourage people to conserve thus mitigating the price increase. As it's price falls it will encourage consumption thus limiting its downside price potential. It is also true as an economic principle that the known reserves of a given commodity (such as oil) is a function of the price. Higher prices encourage exploration and discovery of new sources.
So the issue for me is not energy independence for economic reasons. It is energy independence for political reasons so that our foreign policy is not held hostage to unstable arab (or venezuelan) regimes like Europe is currently experiencing now.
My objection to the rabid envirnomentalists is neither new nor politically motivated, your speculations notwithstanding. It is based upon my observation that these people have done harm to the U.S. both economically and politically. Strict polution standards make American business less competitve in the world wide marketplace.They have stood in the way of increased drilling in ANWAR and of the US. While we prohibit drilling off the southern tip of Florida e.g., the Cubans are known to be drillling just a few miles beyond our international borders there. It's just nuts they are exploting (and probably slant drilling) in an area that the environmentalist lobby refuse to allow the US to exploit. The influcence of rabid environmentalists extends well beyond petroleum production unfortunately. Their jihad against the use of DDT e.g., has been responsible for millions of deaths due to malaria in Africa as less effective insecticides are being used over the past several decades to combat the mosquito vector.
Nuclear power has very little to do with our current energy problems. Power plants now use natural gas, coal, gasified coal and nuclear to generate power. Very little, if any oil is used to generate electrical power. The move to nuclear is smart only because it is consistent and requires fewer natural resources [coal and natural gas] but it is very expensive to build, manage, maintain and clean up when the plant is closed.
As for environmentalists, they do both harm and good. The fight to keep drilling off the coasts of the US is meant to do more than just keep ugly oil fields away. In areas where oil fields prosper, fish and wildlife tend to not prosper. Fisherman tend to not make livings, ecosystems die, tree stands go away, barrier areas die and fail. Cities like New Orleans flood easier. The chain of events when the ecosystem is rippled is very complex. Sometimes the environmentalists are there for a reason. We need barrier islands. We need coral reefs that are not polluted. Just because Cuba does it does not mean we should do it also. The Sudan commits genocide, we should not follow suit.
DDT is a known cancer causing agent. That has been a known fact for decades. It also effects wildlife. We, as a society, should not be making chemicals that either harm wildlife or cause cancer just because we want shinier apples and fewer mosquitoes. The African malaria deaths are more due to their local politics, failure to implement and AIDS than the change from DDT.