making energy a national priority, but not here

According to some scientists, we’ve already passed the global warming tipping point… Regardless of whether they think we’ve passed the point of no return yet or not, most experts, if asked for their candid opinions, would tell you that we’re pretty much fucked unless we do something significant ASAP. Fortunately, some countries are taking the threat seriously. Sweden, for instance, has just announced that it would be completely oil-free in 15 years. Here’s a clip from Common Dreams (via One Good Move):

Sweden is to take the biggest energy step of any advanced western economy by trying to wean itself off oil completely within 15 years – without building a new generation of nuclear power stations…

Sweden gets almost all its electricity from nuclear and hydroelectric power, and relies on fossil fuels mainly for transport. Almost all its heating has been converted in the past decade to schemes which distribute steam or hot water generated by geothermal energy or waste heat…

Here in America, however, we have slightly different priorities. Instead of pushing for concervation, investing in mass transit and funding advanced research into alternative fuels, our elected officials are spending their time changing the existing laws to further enrich the shareholders of oil companies. Here, in case you don’t believe me, is a clip from the New York Times:

…New projections, buried in the Interior Department’s just-published budget plan, anticipate that the government will let companies pump about $65 billion worth of oil and natural gas from federal territory over the next five years without paying any royalties to the government.

Based on the administration figures, the government will give up more than $7 billion in payments between now and 2011. The companies are expected to get the largess, known as royalty relief, even though the administration assumes that oil prices will remain above $50 a barrel throughout that period…

That’s right, they’re getting $7 billion worth of “royalty relief” at the same time that American social programs are being slashed to ribbons. Maybe, if the oil companies were failing, you could make the case that they needed our assistance, but, as they had record profits last year, it’s hard to see the logic… Exxon alone made $36.13 billion in profit last year… And, while it was positive that Bush finally admitted our nation’s “oil addiction” in his annual State of the Union address, it didn’t surprise anyone when his budget, released the following week, saw deep cuts to renewable energy programs… We, being the blind, dumb and overfed fucks that we are, would like to believe that life can go on as it now is, and that the oil in the Artic Wildlife Refuge will solve all of our problems. Unfortunately, however, that’s not the case. Maybe when the oceans begin reclaiming the coasts and we start seeing monkeys and other tropical animals in our back yards, we’ll start to take notice. Until then, we’ll just be happy to keep quiet about conservation, and, God forbid, the idea of a gas tax.

I don’t know what brought my distant relatives from Sweden to the U.S. at the turn of the century, but maybe it’s time that my ancestors and I rethink the proposition. I’m getting the sense that Sweden may be our best long-term bet.

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8 Comments

  1. jrod2143
    Posted February 15, 2006 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Mark,

    Happy belated birthday!

    Jerod

  2. Tony Buttons Esq.
    Posted February 15, 2006 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    … you America-hating son of a bitch!

  3. j7uy5
    Posted February 15, 2006 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    Monkeys in the back yard will not be sufficiently alarming. We already have a chimpanzee in the Rose Garden, and nobody seems particularly bothered by that.

    No, it is only when we get spiders in the blood supply that people will finally come to their senses.

  4. pegdashfab
    Posted February 16, 2006 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    do you think we’ll get monkeys? monkeys are cool.

  5. chris
    Posted February 16, 2006 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    baby eating monkies?

  6. schutzman
    Posted February 16, 2006 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Perhaps some very large monkeys, with saddles, that we could ride to work on – since ypsilanti may soon be eliminating ALL bus service.

  7. mark
    Posted February 18, 2006 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    If you’re referring to the story that I printed here a few years ago, Chris, about the baboon that broke into a house, cracked a sleeping baby’s skull like a walnut and then proceeded to eat it’s brain, I’m impressed by your memory…

    And, if I may play the role of a troll for just a moment, where in the constitution does it say anything about busses, Brett?

  8. schutzman
    Posted February 19, 2006 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    where in the constitution does it say anything about busses, Brett?

    I’m no constitutional scholar, but I’d think it’s right after the part where they say the Federal government will give huge land grants and subsidies to railroad barons, and right before the part where they promise to spend billions of dollars on the interstate highway system.

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