Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Cheering on $5 gasoline

In an e-mail today from Frances Beineke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), members are asked to write to Congress asking that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other sensitive potential oil fields be protected. But the president brings in the high price of gasoline as a way to motivate would-be letter writers to act.

Here is what I wrote to the NRDC Action team:

Hello NRDC,

I have received Frances' letter asking us to write Congress asking the save ANWR. But she says high oil prices are a major problem. Evidence shows that high oil prices are the only thing that, in a major way and quickly, WILL get us to reduce our use of fossil fuels. In other words, in the short term, we NEED high fuel prices to reverse pollution, global warming and related concerns. I want the NRDC to be brave enough to say that oil and gasoline have been too cheap for too long and that we should welcome high oil prices and high fossil fuel prices in general (including natural gas and coal as well) and ask that, as in Europe, the U.S. government put additional taxes on the oil companies and on retail gasoline to raise the price per gallon even more. (As in Europe, the additional taxes would go toward developing and making more affordable cleaner fuel sources and technologies. Now THAT is progress!)

If human nature is any guide (and is there any other?), we can't have it both ways: we can't have cheap gas and genuine conservation. We can't have cheap gas and clean air or cheap gas and widespread efficiency. If fossil fuel is cheap, we will waste it. If it is expensive, we will conserve it, decrease our consumption and value it accordingly as a precious resource not to be squandered.

I challenge the NRDC to not participate in the hypocrisy of asking for cheap fossil fuels. I would like to hear from Francis or another NRDC representative regarding this fallacy.

Thanks very much,
Lawrence Walker
Kerrville, Texas


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