Sometime in the year running up to the Presidential election in 2012, Washington will realize it’s made an enormous mistake. And that mistake is making the ongoing issue of global oil supply subordinate to climate change policy. The result will be neither much improvement in national carbon emissions, nor the addition of enough public transport that allows Americans to reduce their oil consumption. By 2012 I see oil back above 150 a bbl (and also much higher electricity rates), but, no improvement in urban traffic congestion whatsoever. It’s a Green carbon crack-up. Andy Warhol’s Car Accident (in green) sums up the situation pretty well.
We knew this policy was coming. I had conversations with Obama’s energy team last Summer. But now that Secretary Chu has taken the helm at Energy, the policy is crystal clear: Oil supply is not the problem–Climate Change is the problem.
It’s a shame they see it this way. This blog previewed the potential in such a strategic mistake back in early January. With so little Stimulus or Budgetary funding devoted to Rail, I foresaw virtually no aggregate change in transport options for average Americans. Other energy bloggers like Dave Cohen have also picked up on the rather arcane and theoretical views that are now forming energy policy. See Cohen’s brilliant double posts, Steven Chu’s Energy MiscalculationsThe Secretary of Synthetic Biology