Thursday, November 29, 2007

Use Less Energy/Invest in Renewables=Fewer Wars of Aggression

Dr. J. P. Hubert

By now it should be obvious that the only credible reason (for the United States) to be waging wars of aggression in the oil rich Middle East is to satisfy our ever increasing appetite for cheap energy--the second important reason of course is to give Israel a lasting regional advantage as right wing Zionist policy conceives of it (obviously, without adequate energy supplies the American military machine is unable to wage wars on Israel's behalf in the Middle East).

Ironically, our invasion of Iraq has actually lessened available oil supply worldwide. Hence the price per barrel of oil is roughly triple what it was prior to our invasion and the cost of gas at the pump is over twice what it was before we invaded in 2003. Think of current gasoline/oil prices as a not so hidden war tax levied at the pump. Given the violence in Iraq, this situation is unlikely to change any time soon.

The necessary investment in oil related infrastructure which is required in Iraq will not be made until security is established there. Years of allied bombing and sanctions significantly ravaged Iraq's oil industry, yet to be repaired. As a result, oil production/exploration in Iraq lags far behind what is potentially achievable and required given exploding world demand (especially with the exponential growth in demand for energy in both China and India).

While most Americans can do little to directly alter foreign policy given the power of the Zionist Lobby and the MMIC, we can lessen hydrocarbon derived energy demand and thereby make it less necessary to pursue aggressive policies abroad.

Two ways in which to begin making a difference are to 1) make a concerted effort to conserve energy and 2) begin to invest in the development of alternative forms of energy (renewables). The "3" most promising are wind, solar, and geothermal. Other possibilities include water (taking advantage of tidal changes etc.), bio-diesel (soy beans) and ethanol (corn and sugar cane). None of these alone or in concert contain the energy density of fossil fuels but together can perhaps serve as a bridge to some heretofore undeveloped technology such as economically viable hydrogen fuel cell technology and hopefully cold nuclear fusion.

In the interim, everyone is capable of consuming significantly less energy. For a slight increase in initial price, many household appliances can be purchased which demand less energy than slightly cheaper competitors. It behooves us all to become knowledgeable about these and reflect that knowledge in our buying habits.

Few people realize that turning down the thermostat in the winter by only a few degrees markedly decreases energy demand which is reflected in lower home heating bills and a smaller carbon footprint. For every degree we set the thermostat above 70
degrees particularly in cold climates there is a non-linear rise in energy demand. Many people can comfortably tolerate 68 or 69 degrees indoors during the day (and 64-67 degrees at night) if attired appropriately and after becoming accustomed to it. Liberal use of weather stripping/insulation material can be achieved in most homes for a relatively minimal cost. These minor alterations can result in a remarkable amount of energy/cost savings.

Given that the majority of power plants in the United States are coal fired, reducing electricity demand by turning off lights in rooms not occupied, installing energy efficient light bulbs/rheostats and limiting running water all decrease energy demand and lessen the overall carbon footprint. Clean coal technology should be used to replace all standard but antiquated coal-fired power plants and increased research into and use of CO2 scrubbers should be aggressively pursued.

Many of us burn startlingly large amounts of gasoline by driving above 65 miles per hour on the highway. The fuel/monetary savings by driving 55-65 mph versus 70-85 are substantial on a consistent basis not to mention the marked increase in safety which can be had by driving more slowly. Rapid acceleration/deceleration also unnecessarily increase gasoline consumption. Slower speeds can save between 3-6 miles per gallon even in SUV's especially for 2 wheel drive models.

Four wheel drive SUV's are an obvious waste for most people who purchase them for the increased room available. A two wheel drive model can obtain 18-20 miles per gallon by a moderate alteration in driving habits including the liberal use of the cruise control while on the highway. Drivers of four wheel drive models who do not observe these recommendations infrequently obtain even 16 miles per gallon on average. The difference is remarkable (20% reductions in fuel use and cost are achievable through simple behavior modification) and most Americans do not require the extra space afforded by an SUV.

Moreover, many vehicles are now available which average 25-30 mpg on the highway and a few gas/electric (hybrid) models much more. It goes without saying that the federal government should raise CAFE standards back to those which resulted in significantly increased fuel economy in the mid to late 1970's.

There are many other examples which could be offered in the aggregate that can help us reduce our dependence on foreign oil and therefore make it less necessary in the eyes of political and other elites to wage offensive wars of aggression. It behooves us all to take better care of the created Earth and to utilize resources more wisely and carefully. These are all things that are part of treating our neighbor fairly and doing good rather than evil (adhering to the first two principles of the Natural Law).