Oil Independence -- Are You Kidding?
Occasionally we comment on political goings on, but the cry heard around dinner tables and State of The Union speeches Dem & Goper alike, the cry for energy independence would destroy us. That's right. Read below:
Analysis from FORTUNE: Plugged In
Energy independence is a disaster in the making
It's been a rallying cry since the 1970s -- but it could doom the economy, the environment and our position in the world.
By Justin Fox, FORTUNE editor-at-large
March 1, 2006: 11:24 AM EST
...Tom Friedman of The New York Times, who has been arguing for a while now that the president should make energy independence our generation's Sputnik -- an excuse to spend tons of money on scientific research and education.
Investing in R&D and handing out scholarships for science and engineering students are good things, mind you, and many of those calling for energy independence are driven by similarly wholesome motives. But I'm a big believer that words count, and the words "energy independence" are potentially disastrous ones.
To put it most starkly: We could have energy independence tomorrow if Congress simply slapped a huge tariff on energy imports (would $250 per barrel of oil do it?). Meanwhile, skyrocketing fuel prices would shift the economy into reverse, throw tens of millions of Americans out of work, and what oil and natural gas we have left under our territory would be rapidly depleted.
Yes, homegrown energy alternatives like wind, solar and ethanol would get a big boost. But the biggest boom would probably be in mining and burning coal -- the dirtiest and least efficient of the fossil fuels, but one the United States possesses in abundance. Meanwhile, the other energy-importing countries of the world would go their merry way, paying vastly lower prices for oil and natural gas and gaining a huge competitive advantage as a result....