Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Balloon Junkies


*
You may have noticed yesterday that the POTUS

was making some pretty encouraging statements.

He even talked about being "less addicted".

There is some serious truth in that statement.

As someone in the office said yesterday,

It's a fine goal to be less addicted to heroin.

but the truth is, you are still a junkie.

It's a text book example of addictive behavior.

Here is a good piece on our oil addiction from Foreign Policy in Focus

Breaking the U.S. Oil Addiction
By Daphne Wysham and Nadia Martinez
February 7, 2006

In his State of the Union address, President George W. Bush admitted to the American people that America has a problem: Oil addiction. The first step in overcoming an addiction is acknowledging the problem. The logical second step should be addressing the root causes of that addiction and correcting the imbalances that enable it. But the Bush proposal does little to meet this challenge.

If past is any prediction of the future, one need only follow the money to see who has profited under the Bush Administration's energy policies and who has not.

Exxon Mobil Corp., one of Bush's strongest supporters, made a record $36 billion in profits in 2005. Exxon Mobil has also been actively campaigning against the Kyoto Protocol, for fear their profits may be affected. Bush followed their urging, and withdrew from the climate negotiations in 2001.

To post record profits in a year when a historic hurricane season made thousands homeless, killed over a thousand, and cost over a $100 billion in damages--and record prices at the pump--is obscene.

But it is also the result of Bush's energy strategy.

In comparison, the money that Bush has committed to such items as the "solar America initiative" and the "clean energy from wind" is dwarfed by the amount of tax breaks, subsidized loans and other forms of government handouts that are given to the oil, gas and coal industry every year, and result in record profits such as these.

Oil and gas companies are the lucky winners of $6 billion in subsidies written into law with last year's approval of the Bush and Cheney energy bill alone.

Bush's vehicle tax credits mean SUV drivers can get a full deduction for the price of a new 6,000 pound SUV priced under $25,000--most of which get less than 20 miles per gallon, but the $2,000 tax credits for hybrid vehicles, which get more than 50 miles per gallon, are being phased out.

What is left unsaid in the pledges Bush made in his so-called "advance energy initiative" is almost as important as what was said. The most striking statement made by Bush was his claim that he will set a goal of "replacing more than 75% of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025."

(snip)

"The only way that America will become truly independent of its oil dealers, whether in the Middle East or elsewhere, is by kicking the oil habit.

Here are three simple ways we could begin to really address our fossil fuel addiction:

1) Replace subsidies and tax breaks for the oil, gas and coal industry with carbon taxes, and phase this in simultaneous with a comparable phase-out of the payroll tax to avoid regressive impacts on the poorest and to encourage employment.

2) Stop muzzling the climate scientists and listening only to oil, gas and coal interests so that our energy policy can be better informed by both science and the public interest.

3) Withdraw American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and start to reorient the funds now being spent on the military with a clean energy fund to rapidly phase in emissions-free vehicles, better public transportation, and the rapid uptake of renewable energy nationally and globally.

Such a policy would not only break our oil addiction, it would make America a true leader by taking the world down the path to a clean energy future."

Yesterday,when the POTUS arrived at the National Renewable Energy Lab

to have his photo op with the scientists at the Lab,

They realized that many of them had lost their jobs due to budget cuts.

"It was a mix up", they said.

Junky talk.


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"Junky" courtesy of Werner Reiterer

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just in, an oft repeted announcement-trailer to get us to tune in to our evening news out of curiosity: Tonight's news come-on declares that it is possible for people to be addicted to lip balm, [a product that happens to have a petroleum base.] Hmmm. S'pose Bush is on to something?
FM

10:24 AM  
Blogger StagirasGhost said...

This is the quantitative/qualitative post I'd like to read everyday; and though I disagree with a total pull-out of Afghanistan, I understand the rationale. That said, how would the CIA fund intelligence activities, if not for the wealth inherited from multi-national drug running out of the region? (rhetorical)

This [Oz's post] too is the kind of core policy that would get attention in the face of partisan dialogue. The consilient line leads from energy, outwards. In other words, all roads lead to this most pressing question. Dems, Greens, Indies and Libs can get behind progressive policy that opens markets. Hammer away on this and stop playing the blame game. Generate as opposed to degenerate. People respond to positive, even if it might be slightly out of reach. But realize you're behind in the race because the republicans have already beat the dems to the punch as their spin cycle is well-advanced, and being in a position of power, they have the luxury of highjacking progressive ideas, only to call them their own (not unlike we observed in the SOTU.)

To further the cause, a comprehensive listing of all the private interests promulgating renewable/alternatives, stateside (aside from the big oil interests maintaining renewable/alternative verticals,) would be a good start in building a political conglomerate to better lobby their interests to munis, states and feds.

Start a non-profit co-op that converts carbon cars, maintains and fuels them after they have made the conversion. PR the hell out of it. It is an empirical step in the right direction, something tangible that people can touch. When people see it, people believe it.

Patent everything. Hold the patents in collective trust so they cannot be bought and sold.

Isolate peripheral interests that have not been pigeon-holed into oil addiction, especially in Asia. Asia is currently the most inhabited "human-powered" continent in the world. And though they're close to the tipping point-of-no-return, they're not quite there. Gift the technology.

10:50 AM  
Blogger OZ said...

thanks for the thoughtful comments FM and SG.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I pull up to the gas pump, I want to see an extra $6 or so per gallon in taxes. And I want it itemized. Perhaps something like:

- Global Warming Tax - $1.50
- Lung Disease Tax - $.050
- Resource Depletion Tax - $.050
- Persian Gulf Military Tax - $1
- Military Family Support Tax - $0.50
- Environmental Damage Tax - $1
- Resource Independence Support - $1

I want everyone to know that "price" is different from "cost", and to understand that "value" is different still.

I want to stop treating the "market" as a god, and to use it as a tool for doing good.

I can dream...

OZ, thanks for the blog.

- CW

7:20 PM  
Blogger OZ said...

thanks for the comments FM,SG,CW, and thanks to my spell checker on heroine.

I certainly agree that markets that have large externalized costs do not operate fairly or effectively.

But make no mistake, these large externals are not mistakes, these markets are designed to favor those who operate within them, not emerging competitors.

7:13 AM  

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