The constant beating of the war drums is gaining in volume, but even without it, there is another issue that is being overlooked by most Americans. The finite nature of the worlds oil supply.
Note, I did NOT say ' dependence of America on foreign oil'. And, also note, I did NOT say ' the alterior motive of gaining control of Iraqi oil fields'. I said, and it bears repeating, the finite nature of the world's oil supply. In a nutshell, WE ARE RUNNING OUT.
If you think gasoline prices are high now, think about what it will cost when it no longer exists on this planet.
We have a relatively short period of time to try to save the civilized world from an almost certain fall, and yet we are bickering over what is left. Worse than bickering, we are wasting it to kill others and gain control.
Although a meager 1.6 billion dollars was suggested for fuel cell research, the effort should be stepped up to priority number one. Think about it. Even if you have a battery powered car, how will you stay warm in it in the winter time? How will farmers plow their fields? How will the trains deliver coal to the power stations? What good will stocks be if the market is totally tanked due to non-existent energy reserves.
As Americans, we use up almost 1/3 of the petroleum that comes out of the earth. Think about how much of that is wasted. People idle their cars in the fast food lines all over the country -- and in cold weather for hours sometimes. Add it all up, and you would see a tremendous opportunity to save some of our resources.
The biggest problem is that to create a world that does not depend on oil, we may need the flexibility that oil offers us --BEFORE we run out. Think how much energy it takes to make glass for solar panel. Essencially, the only sources of energy we can use that are within the budget of human civilization are sunlight, wind, hydro-electric, geo-thermal, and biomass.
Solar panels, windmills, giant dams, the inner warmth of the earth, and corn.
My dad, rest his soul, was a chemical engineer. He used to scorn the ethanol initiatives because he claimed it takes more petroleum to grow the corn than is returned in ethanol. If this is true, it would be like spending $2.00 to get back $1.50. One would go broke even faster this way. This is called an 'energy sink'.
However fast the world runs out of oil, whether it be ten years or sixty years, it is still too short of a time to not be putting our full attention on solving the tough problems of how to convert as many systems as possible to renewable sources. Instead of fighting over whats left of yesterdays oil supply, lets get busy. Let's develope tomorrows energy systems, or there may not be a tomorrow. Especially for the civilized world where energy is guzzled merrily.
I do not want my kids to live in a world where 5 billion people who are addicted to a serendipitous surplus of energy suddenly have to quit cold turkey. I liken it to fighting over a piece of meat in the forest. But wait, there probably won't be any meat, and the forest will have been burned the first year for firewood after we run out of natural gas to heat our homes.
Global warming is nothing compared to a shutdown of energy. Ironically, the latter will solve the former if the scientists are correct that the former is caused by man.
Hydrogen, alternative energy sources, electricity vs. petroleum, and even more exotic solutions are being proposed, but time is NOW to act and keep acting. Conserve wherever possible so the transition to living within our energy means can become a reality.
Our world has bountiful resources for civilizations which preceded us and they did wonderful things before using up their energy sources. With today's technology, one way or another, humankind will have to go on an energy diet, because running out could be the most frightening and massive problem we face.