Thursday, May 22, 2008
Something's Got To Give on Energy
We have a U.S. energy strategy predicated on a series of "no"s--and many members of Congress are complicit in enacting them.
This is what we have:
No to increased exploration and exploitation of domestic U.S. sources of hydrocarbons, for environmental and aesthetic reasons;
No to increased use of nuclear power in the U.S, for fear of accidents.;
No to increased use of nuclear power around the world, for fear of the proliferation risk;
No to increased use of coal, especially by China and India and other developing countries, for power generation, because of global warming;
No to providing low-cost clean coal technology because of the expense that would be borne by the developed world;
No to opening up Iran's major deposits of gas and oil because of the continued rule of the Islamic Republic and instead pushing for stronger sanctions.
What's left? Strategy one--ask the Indians and the Chinese to voluntarily limit their use of energy and stop their economic growth--not going to happen. Strategy two--ask the Saudis to pump large volumes of extra oil into the market. We got an answer to that question this past week.
Something will have to give--and the question is whether we make choices in order to shape events or whether the dam begins to break. My guess--as we've seen with Iran--is that maintaining strong sanctions long-term is not going to happen. The nuclear genie is also increasingly out of the bottle.
We'll see where things go from here.
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Leave Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon out of those negogiations - all of those are marginal to US interest (but paramount to Iran's).