We Don't Need More of the Same...
The Washington Post editorialized yesterday about the expiration of the congressional ban on offshore drilling.
I certainly agree that "we need alternative sources of energy to help cure our addiction to imported oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions." But I do not believe we have to drill for oil in environmentally sensitive areas. We need to get serious about reducing our dependence on fossil fuels across the board if we are going to have any hope of winning on global warming. And I think that if we, as a society, decided to shift our focus, we'll be far down the path to a new energy future in the 10 years that it will take to bring this oil to market.
Why not start by producing energy-efficient cars and providing more transportation choices? According to a recent Post article, the average American burns 26 barrels of oil per year, compared to our European counterparts who use only 12. If cars in the U.S. were as efficient as the ones offered to European consumers—even if they drove the same distance—they would save, in yearly consumption, the same amount of oil that Iran produces annually.
The U.S. Department of Energy should also require new appliances to be more energy efficient. This would be better for the environment and would save consumers money on their energy bills. Smart planning yields results, but planning to do more of the same—whether drilling offshore or ignoring potential savings from more efficient appliances and products—keeps us addicted to fossil fuels. We simply cannot afford to continue doing the same thing and expect to see different results.