The horse race for the White House is on. From what we have seen of the challengers so far, few, if any of them, are likely to address the truly serious issues facing this country.
None that Ive heard has had much of anything to say about the energy crisis. Perhaps a couple have made brief passing comments, but there has been no serious public discussion.
The Bush camp simply pretends there is no energy crisis. Thats a pretty tough sell in New England right now.
CNN reported the other day: Temperatures remained below zero Friday morning across New England after plunging to near-record lows, straining power grids and bringing life to a near standstill in some places. Officials asked residents to conserve energy voluntarily or face rolling blackouts.
Mike Ruppert, publisher of From The Wilderness, an Internet Web site, reported that the U.S., going into this winter, had barely achieved the minimum storage of natural gas required3 trillion cubic feet.
Ruppert said that amount might have sufficed, had the weather stayed mild. He published a number of warnings that very cold weather might trigger gas shortages and possibly blackouts. Our renewable energy columnists, Drs. Bob and Sonia Vogl, also warned of the natural gas shortages.
Back in New England, a power company spokesman said the polar cap-style weather had resulted in tremendous demand for electricity, much of which is produced from peaker plants using natural gas. If you want to see a local peaker plant, go out to the old Quaker Oats plant on Harrison Avenue.
Some peaker plants ran out of gas, raising the load on remaining plants.
Ruppert pointed out that this problem cant be solved by more drilling. There are no major gas fields left, and no amount of drilling will prevent what he termed a darker and colder future.
The government has pointed to liquefied natural gas as a possible relief valve for this dilemma. Large supplies exist overseas, in places like the Middle East and Latin America, but it will be decades and a great deal of money before any of it gets here.
The Vogls note that Japan, Taiwan and South Korea already have most of the liquefied natural gas tied up with long-term contracts. Mexico may send their supply through pipelines.
In any case, we may be taking natural gas away from other countries, and it still will be only a short-term supply.
Bush and company, many of whom are oil industry members, have known full well for some time that peak oil was at hand. Peak oil is the point at which extracting the oil from the ground becomes non-cost-effective and production begins to decline.
The scramble for more oil is becoming frantic. That is why, as The Guardian, a daily newspaper in the U.K. reported, the U.S. has gone into Mauritania in West Africa after the oil reserves.
Of course, Bush and company billed the entry as a new front in the War on Terror (war for oil). Big oil and drilling outfits, like Kerr McGee, have poured big bucks into that tiny country.
The amount of oil to be had is not large in comparison to Saudi Arabia or Iraq, but we wont have to fight a big war or pipe the oil long distances to ship it to American gas tanks.
But we dont hear candidates or the incumbent discussing any of this publicly. It is time they got on their hind legs and told us the truth about this crisis.
Six people have died in New England from the cold. Many more have died elsewhere from our warring on terror. It matters not whether these deaths resulted from frostbite, hypothermia or bombs and terrorist attacks. The basic cause is the same: the world is running out of oil.
Within three years, that fact will become undeniable, even for skeptics. Scientists have known for 50 years that this day was coming. Now it is here. What are these leaders going to do about it?
Our readers should be turning to our renewable energy page each week to get prepared and think about installing active and passive solar power in their homes and businesses. Buy hybrid cars. Ask the candidates why they are not being candid about our shortages and renewable energy.