22 September 2008

Eugene Gholz: On Energy Independence

For awhile now I've bought into the argument that we should reduce our usage of oil and move to other energy sources in order for us to attain "energy independence." All along, I've had concerns about the practicality of such a goal and the unintended consequences--call it my ethanol starvation concern--that might result.

Though I'm not entirely prepared to back off of that broad goal, I'm beginning to rethink my position--not least of all because most of our oil--2/3 by some estimates--comes from Canada and other "friendly" nations.

A recent article by Eugene Gholz, associate professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas Austin, adds weight to my intuited concerns. An excerpt from that article:
Our exaggerated fears over energy security have some benefits – for example, they may reduce the United States' inclination to attack Iran. But they also have big costs. Politicians could be induced to try costly solutions for problems that don't exist, such as President Bush's commitment to double the size of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Western leaders may also pay too much heed to an oil producer's saber-rattling. (ed. note: Russia) And, finally, exaggerated fear may encourage oil-market traders to panic at the first sign of even a small disturbance. When it comes to energy security, let's not let fear get the best of common sense.
(emphasis, ed. note, added)

The overarching question I have about all of this is: In an increasingly globalized world, is it possible to be truly independent in anything? Let alone energy independence?

(h/t Dartblog)

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.