Published: Thursday, March 13 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT
One country that has escaped the resource curse is Norway. Profits from North
Sea oil are being invested in ways that will make Norway better educated, more
productive, and more prosperous in the future, after the oil ineluctably runs
out.We could learn from their example, but we won't.
Resources encourage people to congregate around them. Congregating bodies of
people become prosperous, forget the Lord, and become prideful, selfish, and
uncivil. It's nothing new and it's not tied to oil.The
trick is that it's not inevitable; there have been times when people have
resources and congregate together for economic growth and community development
-without- the civic downsides.
Thermodynamics teaches us that the world is degrading as a fit place for humans
all by itself. But the burning of fossil fuels greatly accelerates this
process. For example coal with useful free energy is converted to ashes with
useless bound energy. Back to the original point, coal itself is decaying but
at a much slower rate than burning. What's the point? It is this. We
need to tap solar as soon and as fast as possible. Solar is an unlimited flow,
whereas fossil fuels are exhaustible stores the burning of which accelerates the
degradation of the world. Resource towns, like Price where I lived for a
season, are the vanguard of fossil fuel degradation and they show it.
Dr. Moench conveys quite eloquently the big picture by connecting the dots. Good
editorial. Unfortunately, there are many in Utah who, by either a very
conservative mindset or a motivation by short term greed, are unable to connect
such dots. Even more tragic, it is these same folks who driving Utah towards
this train wreck at a breakneck speed. I'm pointing directly at the the
While we in Utah grub in the ground, other states are building high-tech thermal
solar plants that will power their great cities (Phoenix and Las Vegas). When
oil falls to $65/bbl, the Utah oil "boom" will go "bust," as it
has always done before.
This is the bargain we signed on for when we echoed 'drill, baby!'. As
for boomtowns and 'man camps', it's part of my life, and it pays
me well. There's oil out there; let's go get it.
marxist,Are you driving a solar-powered car yet?OK. Kinda do
as a say, not as I do then I guess...Until you are driving a
solar-powered car, and the rest of us are... we probably need gas, oil,
plastics, lubricants, fertilizers, etc... which require fossil fuels currently.
So we're going to need to continue exploration for awhile.I say
explore both for now...===I'm looking at the
picture on this article....I see one rig. Not much impact to
vegetation in the area as a whole. And miles and miles of open and undisturbed
nature for several mountain ranges and valleys behind it.On the
other nature topic today somebody said big oil wants to drill on every acre of
land. It looks from this picture that every acre isn't being drilled.
And that's a good thing. I'm just pointing out that it's not
every acre. It's not even every mile, it's not even every hundred
miles. Just a few spots here and there are actually disturbed. I can deal
with that. I hope the other side can be as reasonable and flexible.
2 bits: The argument "Are you driving a solar-powered car yet? OK. Kinda do
as a say, not as I do then I guess..." is often repeated in such platforms,
but is unfortunately quite shallow. Such a statement is premised on this notion
that we can immediately switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. We
can't and most people know that. But what we can do is start to decrease
societal investment in fossil fuels projects and infrastructure, while investing
more in clean energy technologies. It's a necessary transition in order to
avoid the catastrophic bust that Dr. Moench writes about. But here in Utah, we
are just going down the same road, even faster than before. The bottom line,
every dollar - whether private or public - that gets invested in fossil fuels is
a dollar that doesn't get invested in clean energy and our future.
Meanwhile, the numbers of plug in hybrids and electric cars are increasing every
year, in spite of what the oil companies and politicians would prefer. But it
could happen at a much faster pace if we weren't subsidizing fossil fuels
like we do.
Deserthound, those hybrids and electric cars depend almost exclusively on
fossil-fuel fired power plants for manufacturing and operation. The only fuel
source on the horizon that will significantly help meet our growing need for
energy is nuclear. Mention that and most greenies go ballistic (no pun
deserthound,Sorry for being shallow.... but I would think if someone takes
the time to write 200 words about the folly fossil fuels are and tell us we
should be using solar energy instead... they would be doing at least SOME of it
themselves.My watch is solar powered. But I haven't found a
solar powered car yet. Buses aren't solar powered. Not even Trax (which
is electric) is solar powered (it still runs on electricity generated by coal
and gas). So I'm thinking we still need gas, etc, for quite some time to
come... that's all I'm sayin...That doesn't mean we
stop developing this technology. It just means we don't cut off our
current energy sources in hopes that something else will swoop in and save us if
we stop fossil fuel exploration now.
Dr. Moench is slipping into his habit of implying that when two things happen at
the same time, that means one of them caused the other. He is making a leap of
logic by implying that living near an oil rig causes more birth defects. But
such an implication is not sound science.It’s possible that
the makeshift/temporary nature of some oil towns includes more people who
don’t follow good health habits or seek proper prenatal care. THAT may
very well be the cause of additional birth defects, not living near an oil rig.
As usual Dr. Moench writes eloquently about the mounting problems of fossil
energy economics and environmental risks. However he has yet to take a stand
"for" development of credible, cleaner energy substitutes, especially in
the liquid fuel arena, such as a clean, biodegradable, water-soluble ALCOHOL
fuel that can be produced from what's in the average Salt Lake trash can.
The biggest missing piece of the renewable energy puzzle is a clean,
renewable liquid fuel that is about 95 percent cleaner burning than gasoline,
that can power both gas and diesel engines, is profitable to produce, and which
leverages resources that have never been utilized as such. Such as the 450,000
tons of solid and liquid wastes hauled yearly to the SLC landfill.
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