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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 42 - 5/21/2001
Is There An Energy Crisis?
The United States and the Bush Administration last week announced its new energy policy. Citing that an energy crisis exists, it proposes loosening environmental guidelines, drilling in the Alaska Wildness Preserve and allowing the federal government to take private lands by immanent domain for power or gas/oil lines. Do you think that a real energy crisis exists? Or do you think that the big oil/gas/electric business interests have somehow colluded to misinform the public in order to increase profits while having fewer restrictions placed upon the way that they do business? Would YOU like to see a power plant on the corner of your street if it meant lower energy prices? Do you think that some places such as federal parks and wilderness areas should be off-limits to energy exploration or exploitation? Would YOU pay higher energy costs to help preserve these places? Do you-or would you be willing- to conserve energy or use alternative forms if they were accessible and affordable? Just whose 'energy crisis' IS this anyway? (And if you have a favorite conservation/alternative energy/green activist resource that you would like to share, feel free to direct our readers over to it.)
| Reponses: There are 30 responses posted to this question.
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| Yes There Is Absolutely An Energy Crisis! It's The Crisis Of People... ||May 21st. at 1:01:24 am EDT|
|Stephanie Stanton/Harvestmoon (New Orleans, Louisiana US) ||Age: 45 |
Yes there is absolutely an energy crisis! It's the crisis of people not using enough energy to actually think. In this presidency of the GOP..Gas-Oil-Power, we can fully expect to pay out of the wazoo for our energy needs. They are GOP barons. I couldn't believe it a few weeks ago when Cheney said that Coal was an environmentally safe source of energy. He probably owns stock in Coal. I want to see him get down in those coal mines with the tweety-bird as the significator as to the level of safe environment for workers. I'm really tired of certain politico's saying that billions of dollars have been wasted on research for alternative sources of energy. Woody Harrelson has been driving a hemp-powered vehicle the length and width of California this last month. Guess it works if he's doing it. But I'm quite sure that Cheney, Bush, etc., own no stock in hemp. They do not want alternative sources to work as they do not OWN alternative sources. As someone posted at Bama "I used to be a virgin, till I opened my utilitly bill". We are being "raped" here in New Orleans. I've had a month of using no heat and very limited air-conditioning, (my bedroom only), I've been doing all of my cooking on the barbecue pit...my bill was $200.00. And that was low compared to the $527.00 bill I got in November. Both my husband and I are hot-blooded and do not use alot of heat in cold weather. And believe me there isn't much cold weather in New Orleans. I will not be raped or owned by the Entergy company, I will not be had by the Bush-Cheney dynasties. I've always had a clothesline for hanging clothes to dry, but I'll be making more use of it now. I think we should call for a boycott of auto gas, of just one weekend, and see how much it hurts the owners of the companies. And that one weekend use as little as possible "energy" in their homes. It's time for us to pull a "Boston Tea Party".
| Yes, There Is An Energy Crisis--the Crisis Is That Not Enough... ||May 21st. at 10:51:11 am EDT|
|Erin (Ottawa, Ontario CA) ||Age: 25 |
Yes, there is an energy crisis--the crisis is that not enough people are using renewable, non-polluting energy sources. Environmental restrictions are being lowered, not just in the U.S., but in Canada too, to make the big businesses happy. The politicians don't seem to care that emissions have been going *up* for several years, despite the fact that both our countries signed the Kyoto agreement to have lower emissions in this decade. As a matter of fact, our emissions have actually risen above the levels they were at when we signed the agreement in the early 90s.
There are only 2 hybrid cars available on the market right now, and a few "Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles, " despite the fact that automakers and researchers have had the technology for alternative fuel vehicles for years. Ethanol and other gasoline alternatives often cost more than regular gasoline.
In some jurisdictions, using solar panels to satisfy your building's electricity demands not only costs money to set up (to buy the panels and have them installed) but also may lead to fines if excess electricity is generated and allowed to feed back into the power grid. The power companies don't like having their monopoly intruded on.
Is there an energy crisis? I think so, but it is being generated, in large part, by the government and the companies who are interested in short-term gain, with little regard for what it will mean in 10, 20, or 50 years.
| Energy Crisis? You Betcha. The Org. I Work For Is Part Of... ||May 21st. at 11:08:19 am EDT|
|Blue Coyote (St Paul, Minnesota US) ||Age: 23 - Email |
Energy crisis? You betcha. The org. I work for is part of a coalition called the POWER Campaign that introduced a bill in the MN state legislature this year that would have increased conservation & a Renewables Portfolio Standard which would have required that, by 2010, 10% of the states energy come from renewable sources such as wind, solar, small hydro, and biomass, which is a reasonable goal. But, surprise, surprise, our chief opponent was Xcel Energy, and they vehemently did not like our bill. They have enough money to buy themselves some legislators, so the bill was gutted & went to conference committee with almost all environmental provisions axed.
There IS an energy crisis. We saw it in California; the Northeast will likely see a bit of it this summer, & the Midwest can expect it in 5-8 years. However, the crisis in the future will be immeasureably worse if, in order to overcome this power shortage, we build hundreds of new coal & nuclear plants rather than thousands of distributed generation (small generators that supply power to a single community, neighborhood, business, home, etc.) facilities running on clean, affordable, reliable renewable sources. The POWER Campaign is already planning for the next Legislative session. Hopefully we can solve an energy crisis and head off an environmental one.
| Energy! A Word That Has Always Thrilled Me! I Know That Energy... ||May 21st. at 11:30:35 am EDT|
|Mar-Garet Andreas (Morgantown, West Virginia US) ||Age: 51 |
Energy! A word that has always thrilled me! I know that energy is so much more than "fuel." WE ARE ENERGY! About 10 years ago, I got a job with the Energy and Water Research Center which, a year after I started working there, morphed into the National Coal and Energy Research Center. I've worked a lot with scientists who are doing energy-research. I seem to be the only "out" environmental voice here! My bosses assume that all environmentalists are "Luddites"!! I speak up for both simplicity and appropriate technology. The crisis seems to be a religious one. Some people believe that the end of the world is going to happen soon, and they must use up all the resources before that happens (getting rich in the meantime!). Others have different beliefs. The more Pagans honor the Earth in our own consumption of energy, the better. I live in Pennsylvania and have opted to pay a little more money, but to buy Green Mountain Energy (they have wonderful wind turbines!). There are so many ways to use alternative energy sources, but the incentive is not going to come from the US government right now! We have to use our own resources and the people have to lead! As for spells, doing them for "the good of all" "according to free will" is always helpful. We're all in this together and we all love energy!
My suggestion is: Do it yourself! Use that good old "American ingenuity." (Even if you are NOT American!) Energy can be for the people, by the people. You can try it on a small scale (like installing a solar window, or hooking up a bicycle to a generator ) or on a larger scale (actually re-fitting your gasoline-burning engine to a hydrogen-burning engine). You might even invent something new! Imagine, a Battle-Bot that runs on hydrogen or solar! Or a rock concert powered by a crowd of people riding stationary bikes! Think different! Think new! For ideas and examples, check out these great websites:
Learn all about Hydrogen here: http://www.clean-air.org/ or here:
Solar cars? See: http://www-lips.ece.utexas.edu/~delayman/solar.html
See these experiments with making and gathering your own energy:
Find all kind of information about sustainable energy here:
newsgroups: alt.energy, alt.energy.renewable, alt.energy.homepower
This so-called "crisis" is really an opportunity to break out of the old paradigms of the "industrial revolution." Teach the world how to use solar cookers instead of using up the trees for charcoal! Appropriate technology can be beautiful...and needs to be USED and REFINED!
Meanwhile, I am a proud member of Greenpeace, which confronts lying, cheating and greed at every turn! And don't forget Starhawk's and Marion Weinstein's ideas for modern energy-magic! THEY WORK! ;-) (And they're fun, too!)
Blessed Be Energy!!!
| Hello! If Safe,cheap And Effective Forms Of Energy Were Made Available... ||May 21st. at 11:49:57 am EDT|
|heid the smith (stumptowne, Oregon US) ||Age: 35 |
If safe, cheap and effective forms of energy were made available to the world in general I believe they would be embraced. Unfortunately they are not. Who but the very few can afford all the gear it takes to get "off the grid"?
We all know how expensive organic food is, it is still a "luxury" for most.
The average American wants their air conitioner, power tools, electric gizmos(this computer Iam using is one of them) and bright pretty lights. They don't care about saving trees and salmon when the heat hits 100 and they are hot and miserable. This sentiment comes directly from my own mother living in the midwest. I was shocked, she doesn't care about conservation, but she does think the BIG energy companies are crooks, and Bush is in cahoots with them.
Yes I think the big oil/gas/electric companies are pulling a fast one.
I also believe that the entire planet should be spending huge gobs of money on developing cheap, safe, and effective sources of energy. That the poeple should demand it, and force our governments to implement them.
I also wonder how much suppression of new energy technologies occur. I mean think about the money involved in oil production. Entire nations, the Middle East and Malaysia, have built their economies on the oil they produce. Let alone our own oil industry. Do we really think that these parties are going to allow their cash makers to be cast aside for clean, cheap, sources of energy? I don't think so.
The average American, if my middle/working class family in the Midwest is any indicator, wants power cheap and now without regard to how polluting it is, or how exploitive.
I find it darkly funny that developing nations point to our Western excess and say they have the right to pollute and waste too. That we have no right to regulate their energy use, or cast judgment on environmental excesses.
I personally do not live on an organic collective, use solar power, or grow my own food. I can't afford all the apparatus and such it takes to do so. I try to do my part, conserving power, recycling, not buying every damn thing they say I need, etc... We are starting to grow our own food, and someday we will go solar.
I wish in my heart of hearts that the human population, from republican fat cat oilman, to mass consuming housewife, would wake up and stop the destruction of our natural world. That everyone would demand safe, cheap, and clean forms of energy. That humans could see past the manipulation of their basic fears, the fear of the earth Herself, Her dirt, bugs, bity creatures and such..
But mostly that greed is nolonger considered a virtue.
Ahh I feel a rant coming on!
heidi the bleeding heart liberal
| I Don't Want To Sound Like An Incredible Wise-guy (well, Girl), But... ||May 21st. at 12:59:49 pm EDT|
|Kerry Marie McGrath (Warren, New Jersey US) ||Age: 33 |
I don't want to sound like an incredible wise-guy (well, girl), but when I heard on the radio that George W. say's that we are experiencing an energy crisis, I just said to myself, "no kidding..." Hey, I live in New Jersey, aka the arm-pit of filth and garbage on the East Coast. Is it depressing? Yes. Is it one of the most if not the most expensive state to live in? Oh yeah. Are we being compensated on the job to afford to stay. Fortunately, I say, "yes, I can." Do I want to stay here forever? Not really; but as we say here, "all roads lead back to NJ." Of course we want to conserve...but after a rainstorm and being told that our water is "probably contaminated" and that we should boil it for three minutes prior to consumption, I hate to admit that I let my water run for about 15 minutes before I even get to the boiling process. The air quality here is crap; if you never had allergies, you'll get them here. So you run your air conditioner, even in the winter, just so you can breathe! And I know that this is wrong but I'm so afraid of poisoning myself. Would I pay more to make my environment a better place. Yes, as a divorcee w/out kids, I would. But it is sad to say that if I had my 2.5 children that I probably would never be able to afford it, and that's a shame.
| Hmm, Good Question. I Would Estimate That About 5% Of The Information... ||May 21st. at 3:24:44 pm EDT|
|Aedh Rua (Prophetstown, Illinois US) ||Age: 35 - Email |
Hmm, good question. I would estimate that about 5% of the information getting to the people on this topic is reliable, which means that we really can't know. This means that the best we can do is make educated guesses, and maybe sketch out possibilities.
A few observations:
1. We are really, really profligate in our energy use. The number of appliances we have now, the types of cars we drive, the speeds at which we drive them, and so on would strike my grandparents, at least, as disgustingly wasteful. Until we are really being forced to conserve, to live in something other than luxury, I am not sure it can be called a crisis.
2. We really are being ruled by a bunch of what used to be called "oil men". Yes the verbiage is sexist, but in the case of Shrub and Company, it fits. These guys are willing to buy the Presidency. I don't think we can trust anything they tell us, about anything at all, least of all when it is in their self-interest to cook up a "crisis" which makes them richer.
3. The last time there was an energy crisis it turned out to be total nonsense, though it led to some sensible conservation. When I start hearing about OPEC again, I am highly, highly skeptical.
4. Despite my opinion of the last crisis, we should note that the oil will really run out someday. Maybe we have been lied to since the '70s, and that day is today. But probably not. Still, the more oil we use, the sooner that day is.
5. There really are some excellent new energy sources, which could be introduced with minimal expenditures of R&D money, and which would, taken together greatly reduce the demand for oil, though they probably couldn't eliminate it altogether. These are not those old '70s standbies, solar and wind. Though both have grown more efficient, they lack the concentrated power to run heavy industry, and cars which people, especially Americans, will actually buy. What can do this?
a) Methanol: This is not ethanol, but a different kind of alcohol. It pollutes, but not near as much as oil, and it is actually more powerful, pound for pound, than gasoline. You can make it from organic waste, of almost any type, in a way which would actually generate jobs. It can be used to run factories, and is used to fuel Indy-cars, so I think it would work well.
b) Methane fuel: Yer basic sewer gas. Like Methanol, you can make it from garbage, but it is harder to handle. Good for generating electricity.
c) Fuel Cells: You can run buses and other vehicles which don't need to accelerate quickly on fuel cells. Also good for private "off grid" home power generation. All of you survivalists take note! There is a new fuel-cell home power system which should be on sale by now, for something like $7000. No, I don't know where to get one.
d) Geothermal: Still works, though only in certain regions. Good for generating lots of electricity. Once again, you can run a factory on it.
e) Hydroelectric: You know, dams on rivers. Not environmentally friendly, except in certain limited areas where there is already little biodiversity for natural reasons. In those areas, however, it can be used, and the dams used to make it produce neat fishin' holes, too.
We really could implement the above fuel sources, along with some solar and wind, and maybe hydrogen, too, for a few billion dollars. The transition would be gradual, but each percentage point not supplied by oil, is another year of planetary survival. It should also be noted that having a more diverse package of energy sources is much more intelligent than relying on any single source by itself, especially when that source just happens to be concentrated in one of most politically unstable regions of the world..........
| The Subject Of The Energy Crisis Is At The Very Least A... ||May 21st. at 5:42:36 pm EDT|
|Garrett LoneWolfe (Fountain Valley, California US) ||Age: 29 - Email |
The subject of the energy crisis is at the very least a hotly debated subject here in Southern California. Everyone seems to be pointing fingers at each other. There is no doubt that more power is being consumed each year. Our population is growing, and we are constantly finding new ways to eat up those Kilowatts. However, I feel the real question is what can be done to correct the electricity shortfall.
It would seem to me, considering my Pagan values, that as a country we should look into alternatives to building new plants. My workplace is a metal and glass box with only two doors which open and no openable windows. All heating/cooling comes from the conditioner above. In addition, there is very little natural light which comes in the office, so all light comes from the florescents above. I have been in many a business and even a majority of homes in which this is the norm. It would seem to me that if we started concentrating on re-thinking the idea of architecture that works WITH nature, not against it, we can conserve quite a bit.
I, personally, am putting up a clothesline and will be installing skylights in order to cut down on the consumption.
| There Is An Energy Crisis,and I Think We Can Avoid It... ||May 22nd. at 12:52:08 am EDT|
|Perrin (Denver, Colorado US) ||Age: 24 |
There Is An Energy Crisis, and I think we can avoid it in two stpes. The first is to find all the desolate places in America, such as Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, ETC..., and put five nuclear power plants per desesrt state, then remove half of the stoplights for one lane roads, and put in four way stop signs, which don't use power. Of course this is so sensible that no one would ever do it, but I think that would cut the nations bill for power in half. The other thing we should do is quit depending on other countries for our oil. This cheapens whatever oiul we find here, and sends our miners over seas. The politcians however, have a different approach, lets debate until some one panics, and decides to blow some thing up.
I may be sadistic, but I'm not senile, which is how I view our current policy on power in general. We send people over seas, and then bitch when there are no jobs, we send power to Mecio and Canada, and complain that California is out of power. There is a saying I've heard from various people that applies to this mess "To err is human, but to really blow the job, give it to a politcian with a computer...", and that is exactly what we've done.
There is another side to this question, if the power goes off so does this and many other sites that people base their lively hoods on.
| We Are In Some Form Of Energy Crisis, Whether We Like It... ||May 22nd. at 2:05:54 am EDT|
|Gray (bay area, California US) ||Age: 20 |
We are in some form of energy crisis, whether we like it or not. I think it's time people stopped acting like our supplies of oil and natural gas will never run out, because it's becoming painfully obvious that they will.
The governmetn should seriously look into investing money into alternative sources of engery. I'm not just refering to solar and wind power, I'm talking about things like fuel cells for cars, things that are viable pieces of technology, that simply need a little finacial boost to make it onto the shelves of the vast comsumer market. Obviously, we can't make an overnight conversion in energy sources, but we can start moving in a new, less big oil funded direction.
First, the president and congress should up the fuel efficency standards for SUV's. They guzzle gas like crazy, and paying $50+ dollars to fill your gas tank in absurd.
Next, instead of drilling for more oil, invest in other types of enegery resources. You never know, with a little bit of money, this itmes culd reach us (at affordable prices)within a few years!
Lastly, even though it can be a hassle, everyone should to their part, to conserve what they can. There's no need to be an energy saving zealot, but, turing off things that you don't use during the day can make a difference not only on the grid, but on your power bill as well.
If the nation works as a whole to improve how we, as a country, handle our energy, there may be a light at the end of the energy tunnel.
| An Energy Crisis Exists If, And Only If, You Are A Major... ||May 22nd. at 9:22:33 am EDT|
|Dovid Zuk (Amherst, Massachusetts US) ||Age: 29 - Email |
An energy crisis exists if, and only if, you are a major player in the current energy set up. The pronouncement by Vice President Cheney made it perfectly clear. If a real energy crises were to exist the US Government would be looking for new, not alternative, forms of energy, such as changing existing power plants to solar and wind operated, tapping into the supply of methane gas produced by our landfills, and other areas which produce no real profit for corporations. The only crises is that these corporations don't have enough income to satisfy their greed. Energy is plentiful. We have many ways to tap into its sources yet we keep hearing the need to develope limited forms and exploit the earth, eventualy (chaos and peace) destroying our home.
President Bush has made it very clear: cost is what counts; if it costs too much for the companies then when won't be doing it.
The energy crises does exist only because companies and corporations and our leaders who they fund are working very hard to make sure it exists.
| The Energy Crisis Is Only A Crisis If You Own An Oil... ||May 22nd. at 10:14:23 am EDT|
|Lhiannon (Cedar Park, Texas US) ||Age: 28 |
The energy crisis is only a crisis if you own an oil well, or happen to be Mother Earth.
California's energy "crisis" was brought about not by a shortage of energy but by a poorly implemented deregulation of the energy industry which placed too high a burden on previously regulated businesses, expecting them to financially survive on a plan that made no financial sense even to a layman.
There is no serious shortage of energy in California - there is a shortage of cash to pay for the energy pumped in from out of state at insane prices that just kept getting higher, and no time to build power plants to keep from getting screwed by the out of state companies greed. That's a lot different than every oil well running dry or an actual lack of energy.
I can't afford a Porche, but I'm not having a Porche crisis. Homeless people sometimes can't afford a meal, but I don't see the Republicans running around and talking about the food crisis - the lines are being blurred between what is an actual crisis and what is poor fiscal planning for a political agenda.
According to the Bushies, it would seem that suddenly whatever is out there that is plentiful but that we can't buy is now considered a crisis.
The unfortunate thing is that one of the most enviornmentally conscious states may have provided a perfect chance for the Bush/Cheney one-two punch, which calls for raping the earth for even more of her resources while killing off those resources that the Republicans can't exploit. Pointing to California as a reason for exploiting and drilling in Alaska is an unbelievable red herring. They wanted to drill before the energy "crisis" ever manifested, and are using this as an excuse, hoping that US citizens won't know the difference between a governmental screw up and an energy crisis.
"Would YOU like to see a power plant on the corner of your street if it meant lower energy prices?"
Sure, if it's solar.
"Do you think that some places such as federal parks and wilderness areas should be off-limits to energy exploration or exploitation?"
Considering the reasoning beahind making these lands federal parks and protected wilderness areas, absolutely. What, we protected it from others' exploitation until we decided to exploit it? Is there logic here somewhere that I'm missing?
"Would YOU pay higher energy costs to help preserve these places?"
Keep my tax cut, go feed a caribou. Absolutely.
"Do you-or would you be willing- to conserve energy or use alternative forms if they were accessible and affordable?"
How long has solar power been around? And when will panels become standard on new homes? Computer chip costs have sunk like a stone, are you telling me that in the same span of time we couldn't have made the same strides in making budget solar panels?
"Just whose 'energy crisis' IS this anyway?"
Alaska's, since they seem to be made the focus by politicians more than California as of late.
George Bush couldn't find oil when he was here in Texas, nearly bankrupting his "company" Arbusto and earning it the nickname of "El Busto". Alternative energy is the long terms solution, raping the Earth is the short term. Family values that ignore the health of our grandchildren are hypocritical family values at best. George W. Bush has no vision, and his views make us, as a nation, parasitic to the very earth that nourishes us.
It's time to trade the missles for solar panels, and for politicians to start looking beyond 2 four year terms.
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