Sunday :: Apr 3, 2005

Kicking the Oil Habit

by Mary

Steve discussed the coming together of a number of unlikely bedfellows with the goal of weaning the US from its oil dependence for the sake of protecting our national security. One thing that is probably likely is that the effort is part of a concerted campaign to put America on a healthier path sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) in conjunction with American business and military leaders. They recently published a new manifesto called Winning the Oil Endgame (site) seeking to influence the new round of energy discussions.

Abstract: This independent, peer-reviewed synthesis for American business and military leaders charts a roadmap for getting the United States completely, attractively, and profitably off oil. Our strategy integrates four technological ways to displace oil: using oil twice as efficiently, then substituting biofuels, saved natural gas, and, optionally, hydrogen. Fully applying today's best efficiency technologies in a doubled-GDP 2025 economy would save half the projected U.S. oil use at half its forecast cost per barrel. Non-oil substitutes for the remaining consumption would also cost less than oil. These comparisons conservatively assign zero value to avoiding oil's many "externalized" costs, including the costs incurred by military insecurity, rivalry with developing countries, pollution, and depletion. The vehicle improvements and other savings required needn't be as fast as those achieved after the 1979 oil shock.

The route we suggest for the transition beyond oil will expand customer choice and wealth, and will be led by business for profit. We propose novel public policies to accelerate this transition that are market-oriented without taxes and innovation-driven without mandates. A $180-billion investment over the next decade will yield $130-billion annual savings by 2025; revitalize the automotive, truck, aviation, and hydrocarbon industries; create a million jobs in both industrial and rural areas; rebalance trade; make the United States more secure, prosperous, equitable, and environmentally healthy; encourage other countries to get off oil too; and make the world more developed, fair, and peaceful.

They've put together a very impressive argument that not only sells their ideas to environmentalists, but also hardcore businessmen and military leaders. And they assert that it will be cheaper to replace this oil than it would be to purchase it. Yet, will the oilmen in the Bush administration understand that holding on to their profits through further drilling consigns them to the an industry that is well on its way to being obsolete?

Full Report: Winning the Oil Endgame (pdf)

Some other news releases and observations from RMI's latest newsletter (pdf):

  • A profile (pg 22) of Board Member Sue Woolsey, wife of former CIA director, James Woolsey.
  • An article (pg 18) about how Water is an increasingly important consideration for choosing various energy proposals. For example, nuclear power uses a tremendous amount of fresh water and, thus, is not a good choice for future development. In fact, during the 2003 heat wave in Europe, a number of the European nuclear power plants had to shutdown because the river levels fell so much that they could not be adequately cooled.
  • An article (pg 10) about the launching of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and it's rating program, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).
  • An article (pg 24) about the new National Association of Realtors headquarters in Washington DC which uses a number of RMI's proposals for energy efficient buildings, enough so that it could be the first building in DC to achieve a LEED certification.

Take some time to review RMI's site. Then make sure your representatives and senators know where they can look for ideas and technology that can help us get off our oil addiction.

Mary :: 9:57 PM :: Comments (2) :: Digg It!