the pickens plan dies at the hands of cheap oil

I had a post here a little while ago about dropping oil prices, and how we had to find a way to keep the momentum going with alternative energy in spite of them, for the sake of the planet and our future security. Well, today we’re seeing the first casualty of oil selling for $57 a barrel — the ambitious wind initiative being championed by T. Boone Pickens has been shelved. And, if the economy were to pick up tomorrow, I have no doubt that people would be back in auto showrooms buying SUVs as though global warming doesn’t exist, and we live on an endless, bubbling ocean of oil… We need to demand of our leaders in Washington that they take immediate action before we drown ourselves in cheap sweet crude. The federal government has to implement a significant gas tax, and begin funding ambitious regional alternative energy projects. The window of opportunity to make these necessary changes is too short not to act decisively. We cannot afford to be delayed by temporarily inexpensive oil. As we know, it will not last.

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5 Comments

  1. Brackache
    Posted November 13, 2008 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Well hold on now… there’s significant momentum building behind the green movement… people are choosing to be more environmentally friendly of their own volition, not because it’s cheaper or legislated. I know not everybody. I know not a majority. But the majority of people are fundamentally trendy, and will eventually start swimming with the school if that’s the way things start to go, which they slowly are. You don’t need government action. You need keep up increasing private demand, which you’re doing.

    Also this avoids the rebellious resentment that making things mandatory often provokes.

  2. Posted November 13, 2008 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    You’ve convinced me, Mark. You’re right. At the same time, the low gas has been a blessing for my family as well as many others. It’s a bit of relief.

    It’s a great issue to look at. I think maybe more catastophic global warming damage is needed to wake people up. Although then it might be too late.

    What will rise or fall first – the world financial system or the the world environmental system? I think we’ll be able to study the relationship between them in the coming years. Hopefully a good win-win compromise will be reached.

  3. Dan
    Posted November 14, 2008 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    I’m not a big fan of the Pickens plan, mainly becasue of allegations that Pickes really wants to use the right of ways from his electricity generation to send water to Dallas. Water is the new oil

    Pickes owns $600 million of Ogallala groundwaer and once its gone its not coming back. Pickens got an amendment passed in Texas that allows a water-supply district to transmit alternative energy and transport water in a single right-of-way.

    If he gets a pipeline built he can sell $165 million of his water a year to Dallas.

    Its pretty smooth when you think about it.

    See: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_25/b4089040017753.htm

  4. John on Forest
    Posted November 16, 2008 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    Oil is not as cheap as $57/bbl.

    Our foreign oil prices (and domestic except the price of our DOD) are subsidized in many ways, not the least of which is the price we pay to maintain a military large enough to defend our foreign sources. Also not accounted for in the current price of oil, is the economic cost of pollution, in health care costs, remediation of contaminated lands, and the future value of global warming accounting for displacement of coastal peoples, changing micro-climates (floods and droughts), etc.

    A gasoline tax is not what is needed. What is needed is a crude oil tax, to fully account for all these costs. The proceeds of the tax should be used to offset taxes currently collected to maintain our DOD, to fund public transportation and other conservation efforts, to fund alternative energy and infrastructure, to pay for the effects of global warming as they occur (relocation of peoples, farms, water supplies, etc.)

    In addition to a crude oil tax, a similar tax should be applied to other energy sources, according to the same sorts of measures. Nuclear should be taxed to pay for storage of waste. Coal should be taxed to pay for effects of pollution and global warming. Natural gas, the same. Ad nauseum.

  5. Meta
    Posted November 17, 2008 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    We discussed the Trajan Windmill theory previously:

    http://markmaynard.com/index.php/2008/08/25/trojan_windmills

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