Global Warming and the Energy Crisis constitute twin threats to the US, although many American citizens don't realize it yet.
Either of the twin problems - Global Warming or the Energy Crisis - has the potential to damage our country and, indeed, civilization as we know it. Note that the term"Global Warming" is synonymous with the more politically acceptable term "Climate Change"
So we are faced with the tasks of meeting the Global Warming (Climate Change) threat and the Energy Crisis threat. Can we tackle the two problems at the same time?
My answer to the above question is no!
Although both threats eventually have to be dealt with, it is my opinion that the Energy Crisis is already upon us (or arriving soon). Judging from the long-term prices of crude oil, gas, and other commodities dependent of oil (practically everything!), The Energy Crisis must be dealt with quickly or this country and much of the civilized world will be in economic chaos when the economic conditions improve and the rise in crude oil prices resumes.
On the other hand, the full fury of Global Warming is a few years away although some recent scientific observations (Hurricane Sandy!) has indicated climate change is arriving faster than we once thought.
In the very long run, Global Warming may be the larger threat, but, if we can't handle the Energy Crisis, there may not be much left for Global Warming to screw up when it arrives in full force.
In addition to the time-of-arrival factor, there are several other pertinent reasons to give top priority to solving the Energy Crisis (with the closely associated concept of Peak Oil) first.
1. Some of the solutions to the Energy Crisis threat may also mitigate the Global Warming problem.
2. U.S. crude oil production peaked about 3 decades ago and crude oil production has declined to where we now must import about 2/3 of the oil we consume. As the price of crude oil moved upward, the strain on the American economy grew rapidly and contributed significantly to the present stagnant economic conditions.
3. The discovery and rapid development of huge reservoirs of shale formation oil, and particularly natural gas, makes possible a solution - to the Energy Crisis problem. Natural gas is a "clean" fuel and also an excellent "alternative" fuel. We need to take advantage of this abundance of natural gas by using it to solve the oil shortage problem
4. Although some progress had been made with developing alternative energy sources, the overall effort has been inadequate in my opinion. Ethanol and other biofuels were our big hope, but it is now generally recognized among the experts that ethanol (at least corn ethanol) may cause so many problems that it is not worth the effort......but please don't tell the corn farmers....they love the subsidies (which appear to be in the process of being discontinued, thankfully!). The experts also say that other biofuels may not be much help either. Time recently had an excellent article on the subject.
To solve the Energy Crisis problem, we will eventually need alternative energy sources. These sources will help with Global Warming, also.
The highly regarded Seeking Alpha blog recently had an excellent article and lengthy commenter discussion outlining an overall policy for dealing with the Energy Crisis. Every aspect of the Energy Crisis and possible solutions were discussed. Strongly recommended!
1. Solar Energy, Ethanol, Biodiesel, & Wind Power. Featured are renewable alternative energy sources: solar energy, ethanol, biodiesel, & wind power.
2. Boone Picken's Energy Plan. Boone Pickens got tired of seeing politicians do nothing to reduce the U.S. dependence on foreign oil and worked up his own energy plan. The Picken's Plan emphasizes the use of natural gas as a bridge fuel and wind power as an alternative energy source. Also, he is putting his money where his mouth is.
3 Germany in World War 2. German side of World War 2. Who caused World War 2?
Both Global Warming and the Energy Crisis are very serious problems the US and the world are facing.