The Senate’s top Republican on energy issues, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, has crafted a blueprint for U.S. energy policy that calls for increased drilling while opposing laws to cap greenhouse gases that are blamed for global warming….
Murkowski, the top ranking Republican on the Senate energy committee, argues energy is too often seen as a necessary evil rather than embraced for what it brings.
‘We like to be comfortable in our temperatures. We like to be able to move around. This is the mark of a successful and an economically healthy world. Where you have energy these are the prosperous areas,’ she said in an interview.
Her proposal opposes ‘any policy that would increase the price of energy or limit consumer choice.’ [1]

As a fellow consumer, I appreciate the sentiment. [I’ve written about the Senator previously.] But as long as our fearless leaders continue to suck-up to their wealthy benefactors while spouting empty but hot-button platitudes in the general vicinity of their constituents, the primary strategy of drill at all costs so costs stay low is not just a losing strategy, it’s one sure to cause far more harm in the years to come.

That sentiment was nicely expressed here:

The common element between the Keystone Pipeline and Arctic drilling is a willingness to jettison our children’s future in return for keeping our oil addiction slightly cheaper for slightly longer. In the American psyche, the right to cheap gas is as much a psychological phenomenon as an economic one. [2]

We elect leaders to lead, to use their presumed expertise and judgment to present policies addressing challenges and concerns that just might last beyond the next election. Go figure! Imagine if Congress actually decided to try that theory out….

The questioning of assumptions is a critical part of the creative process. Faced with a problem, most of us are so eager to find a solution, and thus end the uncertainty and frustration of not knowing what to do, we tend to rush into the first solution that comes to mind. Only later, often when we are in trying to put our solution into practice, do we realize that we had not fully thought through our solution, and probably had made some invalid assumptions….
Most people find the process of challenging their assumptions very difficult. It is not just that the assumptions are hard to see; we usually do not want to see them. We become emotionally attached to our beliefs, and to question them can feel very threatening. Nevertheless, uncomfortable as the process may be, it nearly always pays dividends. It usually leads to a deeper understanding of the nature of the problem, and often to better solutions….
What has emerged from our questioning is a critical psychological aspect. One major impediment to sustainability is not ‘out there’ in the complex global system we are trying to manage; it is inside ourselves. It is our greed, our love of power, our love of money, our attachment to our comforts, our unwillingness to inconvenience ourselves. In one way or another human self-interest is either creating the problem or preventing us from solving it. [3]

While we should not only expect more from our leaders, so too will critical problems affecting us all demand more courageous and informed actions from each of us as well. Fossil fuels are finite resources; industry is no longer extracting the easy stuff because that ship has sailed. They’re not drilling miles below the ocean’s surface or spending millions per shale wells just to keep themselves entertained.

So while one “solution” is to just keep doing more of what they’ve always done, the end results won’t be pretty. Whether the efforts become either unprofitable in the extreme or simply too technologically challenging given the demands of the time, devoting more time, effort, and money to a game certain to end—to the exclusion of efforts to transition away from fossil fuel dependency—simply makes no sense.

Better solutions will come from asking better questions. More knowledge, greater acceptance of facts and reality—harsh though they may be—and the honesty and integrity to think, understand, and focus on the future and not what is good today … those are the ingredients needed to provide our future generations with the best opportunities they’ll need for successful living. Short-term thinking, planning, and acting produces short term solutions.

‘There’s a reality out there people don’t want to recognize,” concludes Kaufmann. [Robert Kaufmann, director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies at Boston University]. ‘Clearly technology has improved. Oil prices are higher. We deregulated the industry. We’ve done almost everything. There are a few areas offshore that are closed off. It’s not going to make a difference. The sooner people realize that and stop dreaming about energy independence or one huge undiscovered field that’s going to solve all our problems, the better off we’ll be.’ [4]

A five-year old quote with all its wisdom intact, and still a worthy pursuit.

* My Photo: Good Harbor Beach, MA – 09.05.05


[1] http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/02/03/181876/republican-energy-plan-calls-for.html; Republican energy plan calls for more drilling, nothing to rein in greenhouse gases by Sean Cockerham – 03.03.13
[2] http://ssppjournal.blogspot.com/2012/03/real-bridge-to-nowhere-oil-drilling-in.html; The Real Bridge to Nowhere: Oil Drilling in the Arctic by Ethan Goffman – 03.20.13
[3] http://www.peterrussell.com/Speaker/Talks/WBA.php; Who’s Kidding Whom? Is Sustainable Development Compatible with Western Civilization? by Peter Russell – November 2010
[4] http://www.salon.com/2008/08/18/oil_myths/; Did You Hear That Alaska Has More Oil Than The Middle East?: Busting the myths about cheap and unlimited oil being broadcast by Rush Limbaugh, Jerome Corsi and other ignoramuses by Peter Dizikes – 08.18.08