Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Peak Oil makes an appearance on C-Span

My jaw dropped this morning, as I turned on C-Span during my morning exercise session; lo and behold, a Republican guest on Washington Journal, Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R-Maryland) was talking about peak oil and repeating much of Jim Kunstler's premise regarding the end of cheap oil, found in The Long Emergency.

Here's a link to Bartlett's interview (starts at the 2:04:00 mark) on the C-Span website; I've posted it here, because it's worth watching by anyone who cares to know about the issues facing our nation concerning our lack of a sustainable energy policy. I don't know much about Bartlett, but it's rare to hear any politician speak so honestly, intelligently and from the heart.

On the flipside, our own state's tourism director, Dann Lewis, is bitching about President Bush's request for American's to drive less, in order to conserve gas. Typical of the short-sighted response to any request for shared sacrifice, this state bureaucrat is quoted as saying that "it makes sense for Americans to cut back on unnecessary travel, but that discretionary driving for vacations is different." What? How is discretionary driving different? I rarely if ever find myself in agreement with President Bush; however, on this issue, I agree and hope he's serious in his call to conserve.

All of us can do our part to cut back on our car usage. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I'm stuck driving an older car that isn't the most energy efficient. It's not terrible on gas mileage, but with a large engine and bulky weight, a Toyota Prius it is not. Yesterday, while traveling to Farmington to deliver books and make other visits in the area for my part-time job, I made a conscious effort to obey speed limits (basically, drive 55 mph, which in itself helps to save energy). I also parked in the center of town and walked as much as I could, sometimes up to 1/2 mile away. At the end of the day, I'd saved some gas, and I felt better, having gotten some exercise and imbibed some mountain air.

Possibly, one way that Lewis could get on board, is to partner with travel options like the Maine Eastern Railroad, as an alternative way to bring tourists into the state. Other options might be bus tours, business-sponsored passenger van tours of various foliage loops, which would allow tourists to park their cars, conserve gas (save money, which they might decide to spend locally and help local economies). I'm sure L.L. Bean, Delorme, MBNA, BIW and other large Maine businesses would be happy to hop on board. Of course, that might mean some creativity on his part and if he's like most members of state bureaucracies, that's never one of their strongpoints.


sudhakar said...

Hi there, you have done a great analysis on Peak oil, I also thought about it for a long time and later found that people call it "Peak Oil", Iam from India, there is little or no awareness about it over here, and I feel there is nothing we can do about it, Have a look at my blog,I have written on similer lines.

weasel said...

Don't get me started on Dann Lewis and the lack of imagination of the Maine Tourism folks- having been in that biz (destination marketing) I could make your toes curl with tales of cluelessness spewing forth on coated, glossy paper from Augusta.

On the peak oil front, thought you might be interested to see that people will do anything to mint a little for themselves.

Jim said...

I gave alot of thought about going after Dann Lewis for his remarks, but then I felt that he was so askew that he deserved a public "dressing down". I'm glad to see that I was on target in my criticism and characterization of Lewis and the Maine Tourism crew. I've had some dealings with them myself, and I wasn't particularly impressed. Pretty sad when much our economy is based on tourism, to have it being managed by a bunch of bureaucratic hacks, isn't it?

I'll be checking out your blog, Sudhaker, at some point--thanks for stopping by. Peak Oil has been on my radar screen much of the summer and I continue to follow the issue and read up on it.

GeoArk said...

I too was amazed to see a Republican Congressional representative speak so honestly and intelligently on peak oil. It could be that we are finally on the verge of an "awareness shift".

Now I am trying to inform everyone I know about another shift, the Green Tax Shift -- which is a critical policy response and remedy to peak oil.

Over 2,500 professional economists including two Nobel laureates have endorsed the Green Tax Shift, which would lower or remove taxes on labor and production and charge user fees on resource extraction and pollution. (ref, )

I am urging that those who understand the importance of peak oil tell at least two people about the Green Tax Shift solution. And, then, have those two people tell two more people and so on, multi-level style (with no money involved). In this way we can quickly develop a grass roots movement to bring about Green Tax Shift awareness and hope to those who may be on the verge of despair.