Tom Friedman Actually Said Something I Liked
I am back after baking in the sun in
“You need to tell Iraqis that by calling for a surge in troops you’re giving them one last chance to reconcile, otherwise we’re gone by Dec. 1. And you need to tell Americans that you’re creating a $45-a-barrel floor price for imported oil, so investors can safely finance alternatives without worrying that they’ll be undercut by OPEC.”
The first part I won’t even try to comment on apart from saying I would be happy if we were gone by December 12. Tom seems to be unable to believe that the situation in
– global warming
This is a very incomplete list but the basic lesson remains. We are already paying a very high price per gallon of gas. We just aren’t paying all of it at the gas station. As a result we are stuck in a situation where it doesn’t pay to invest in alternative technologies since there is no way to know that they won’t be undercut if the price of oil takes a dip in the near future.
This dip is in fact more likely than not. When the price of oil spiked recently a lot of investment went into developing oil sources that were previously uneconomic. When these come on line the current situation of tight supply will be gone. If it is coupled with a recession then lower prices are likely for a while even though the long run outlook remains one of higher prices. If investors in alternative energy technologies had some confidence that they would not be affected by such short run dips then they would be much quicker to put money into them. We should all be in favor of this.
(A note. Hydrogen is NOT an alternative energy source. It is an alternative intermediate form for transporting energy in, e.g. cars. Why? Because you need to use energy – usually electricity – to make the hydrogen in the first place. This means that hydrogen, though clean burning at point of end use, is really just another way of using electricity which is produced by all of the same old sources we have had for a long time – coal, oil, nuclear, hydro, etc. A truly alternative source would be one which did not rely on these fuels to produce the electricity, e.g. wind or solar)