In 2000 a new US administration drafted a new energy plan. Two oilmen, with secret advice of the oil industry, orchestrated and supervised the plan. The results have been devastating.
Gas and oil prices have escalated to more than $4 per gallon and are forecast to hit $5 per gallon soon. The problems our oilmen were trying to solve, were not of their doing. Their decision, to solve the energy puzzle, was laudable. Regrettably, they were not equipped to handle the consequences of their actions. In November 2008 the US is reaching another milestone in history.
A new president and a new Congress will be elected. Energy is becoming one of the main issues of the hotly contested election campaign. We already know one outcome for sure. Neither candidate has any idea about the seriousness of the energy problems confronting our country and the world. The US needs swift and effective actions to stabilize world energy prices, to introduce measures for dealing with global warming and climate change, and to turn around an economy that has been looted by its financial sector.
How can the US take the lead in fighting global warming? How can the US send the right signals to the rest of the world? How can the US convince the owners of the world's oil reserves that coercive price fixing is breeding resentment? The US does not possess a single weapon to force its intentions upon others. It can do so only by the quality of her ideas. Owners of coal, petroleum, and natural gas reserves will only change, if they have to face risks.
These new risks could be: The near-future threat of a low priced petroleum substitute, The threat of subsidized renewable energies for the generation of low cost electricity, The threat of a treaty that will outlaw fossil fuel burning across the world. When these threats become reality, we will see a rush to sell as many energy reserves as quickly as possible. Without these threats the decision process is much simpler. Sell as little energy as possible and wait for prices to rise. The longer you wait, the more money you make. Obviously, it will take time to convert fossil fuel fired power plants to plants that are powered by renewable energies like solar power, hydropower, wind power, marine power, geothermal heat, and nuclear heat.
Obviously, it will take time to produce the first barrel of a high quality petroleum substitute from fast growing plants that have no resemblance to food crops and can be grown on arid lands. Obviously, it will take even longer to convince 200 countries to sign a treaty that forbids the use of fossil fuels. But what choices do the US and the world have? We cannot continue and emit huge amounts of greenhouse gases much longer. The environmental costs are beginning to escalate.
Citizens across the world will demand actions from governments. Countries with large coastal areas are already experiencing the accelerating rise of ocean levels. This rise will speed up in lockstep with greenhouse gas emissions. Once carbon dioxide, the major product of fossil fuel combustion, enters the atmosphere, it cannot be recaptured. The accumulation of carbon dioxide is irreversible and the accelerated melting of glaciers on mountains and of ice sheets in the Polar Regions is unstoppable.
Therefore, we must halt atmospheric accumulation of greenhouse gases. Temporarily, we can sequester about one third of all fossil fuel generated emissions. The carbon dioxide emitted by large smokestacks of coal fired power plants, oil refinery and chemical plant chimneys, and from flues of manufacturing companies making materials, industrial products, and consumer goods can be cleaned. The separated carbon dioxide gas must be compressed and transported to suited geological underground cavities. This method cannot be applied to the exhausts of automobiles, trucks, trains, ships, and airplanes. Sequestration is unaffordable for homes, commercial buildings, and small manufacturing and fabricating establishments.
The challenges for the new administration and the new Congress to come up with a good, effective energy plan will be intimidating. Drilling for oil in the US, energy conservation, and "Cap and Trade" schemes will not solve our energy problems. Conservation may be necessary to provide temporary relief at the pump. Unavoidable future environmental disasters may be delayed by a couple of years. None of the three concepts can stop global overheating.
We must bite the bullet. We must replace all fossil fuels with renewable energies and nuclear heat. To operate our transportation sector, we need liquid fuels.
We must learn to produce petroleum substitutes. Petroleum reserves and production capacities are getting tight and prices are skyrocketing. We must wake up.
We cannot continue and let the present owners of fossil fuels destroy the habitats of our grandchildren and their offspring.
Dr. Hemsath recently published the book: CLIMATE CHANGE - GOLD RUSH OR DISASTER? For 50 years he has worked as scientist, process engineer, Corporate Vice President of R&D, Company President, CEO, and Inventor. He holds more than 60 US Patents. He is working on a new book: "THE SOLUTION FOR ENDING GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE". Go to http://www.thermalexpert.com