May 25, 2010
Still Babies? Still.

I hate to say I told you so, but Jimmy Carter told you so — back in his 1977 energy speech. America yawned. America is still yawning, despite the befouling of the Gulf Coast. Maybe God will help us, but we won’t.

From Grist, via Kate Sheppard:

…The last time lawmakers truly freaked out about the problem of our oil dependence — when gas prices topped $4 a gallon in the summer of 2008 — the Senate Energy Committee called in Skip Laitner, director of economic analysis at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

The committee asked Laitner what efficiency — the famously unglamorous energy strategy — could do to relieve gas prices. He gave them an astonishing figure: It could save 46 billion barrels of oil. If the U.S. made an all-out investment in energy efficiency-cutting energy waste out of vehicles, buildings, the electrical grid, and elsewhere in the economy — Laitner believes it could save the energy equivalent of 46 billion barrels by 2030.

Domestic offshore drilling produced 537 million barrels a year over the last nine years, according to the Minerals Management Service. A full-bore efficiency plan would save the equivalent of 85 years of offshore drilling.

Looking at the transportation sector alone, Laitner recommended 10 short-term policies that would cut the need for oil. Congress eventually passed one of them-the “cash for clunkers” program. Even that could be improved upon: the lax fuel-economy standards for new cars meant the trade-in program didn't save nearly as much fuel as it could have…



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at May 25, 2010 11:50 AM
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Yours is a much-needed essay, Mr. Doolittle.

Ah, yes, President Carter's speech identifying U.S. energy-independence as the "moral equivalent of war." I remember well how detractors laughingly called the idea "MEOW." In spite of those dunces, I have always thought it one of the most prescient presidential speeches. If only America had listened, think of how much better-off we would have been in so many ways but, of course, the cronies of Ronald Reagan & the Georges Bush would have been poorer and so it was not to be.

In the early 1980's a friend and I built a passive solar collector that provided most the winter heat for his 2 bedroom mobile home. Shame on us for not persisting in such endeavors but we got older & stodgier.

There is a May 4th posting on my blog, "See How the Mighty Have Fallen" which talks of America's enslavement to the oil industry while other nations break their bondage. See it at

Posted by: colonelgirdle on May 25, 2010 3:12 PM

And Sarah P. agrees! From 2008:

"There’s so many things that we can do today to start getting us on that path towards energy independent."

And: "...remember in the ’70s, when we were conserving gasoline also, and our parents were always on us to turn off the lights and quit wasting electricity. And we got kind of spoiled and lax there, but now it’s time to plug in those solutions."

Posted by: George on May 25, 2010 5:19 PM
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