May 10, 2006

Oscar the Grouch

Time to exhale a bit of stale air...

First, Canadian politics. Stephen Harper's Conservatives have been busy manouvering and scheming since getting into office. They came in promising "open government" and fiscal responsibility. Instead they have gone out of their way to restrict public scrutiny, buy favour from interest groups, play divisive political games and enact bad self-serving tax policy. Thanks for playing!

Next, environmental issues. The above-mentioned Conservatives have been busy cancelling environmental initiatives put in place by the Liberals. What's replacing them? Nothing. Thanks for playing! Today I also came across a blog whose American author couldn't understand the fuss about drilling for oil is sensitive areas like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I had to get my two cents in:

Isn't it nice to still hear crickets? You have to get a few miles out of town though, don't you.

How 'bout this: if the ANWR is exploited and proves to have the anticipated oil reserves it will only provide a few short year's extension for the SUV lifestyle. Then the oil companies will be looking for the next fragile place to convert into stock options.

The "miniscule 2,000 acre area" you think is needed doesn't exist in isolation any more than a ten foot length of your favorite freeway does.

To follow your analogy a step further, you and your family are going to be naked and out of work regardless of whether you "save Bambi". The real decision is this: do we change our pattern before we kill all the Bambi's.

I'm a geologist by the way.
There, that felt better...

Listening to: Nothing Lasts Forever Anymore by Sloan from Action Pact.


  1. @Ben: Wow! How refreshing: someone who actually seems to know what he's talking about! Thanks for visiting my humble blog.

    I gather from the tone of your comment that the "SUV lifestyle" is leading us down the path to death & destruction. Honestly, I totally agree with that. It really is a shame that's not going to change.

    However, that's not the point I'd like clarified. My question is: where drilling in ANWR is concerned, which way is the balance really swinging? Is it toward reducing our energy dependence on hostile, politically unstable countries (which would be a good thing), or is it toward not wreaking havoc with certain species in a way that would have negative consequences for us humans? In my mind, the answer to the following question is paramount: how much oil is there in ANWR? No doubt it's important to do what we can to ensure the survival of the flora and fauna, but it's vastly more important to ensure our own survival. That's why, from my admittedly limited knowledge on the subject, drilling looks like a good idea. If we can find out how much oil there is without drilling, so much the better, but that appears unlikely.

  2. Consumption is definitely the problem, and when we run out of oil you can bet that the SUV lifestyle will disappear. As I alluded to in my comment economic/social change is coming. The question is only that of how we will manage it.

    Current educated guesses are that the ANWR could supply the US's total oil needs for between one to two years. Practically, this means a 5% boost to US oil production for between ten and thirty years. Considering that the US currently imports 60% of its oil it's clear that exploiting the ANWR will not provide economic security. The only way out of that trap is to eliminate the need.

    You're right that the only way to know how much oil is in the ANWR is to drill a number of exploratory wells. To me though that is just cracking open a Pandora's Box without any prospect of solving the problem. We've spent 100 years backing ourselves into this corner, getting out is going to be very hard...