This is a post I just made to my good friend and mentor, Chuck Spinney.
I declared, Iraq was the strategically second worse decision we have made. The first was not converting our economy to non-oil dependency beginning in the 1970s when we could make it easier to transition. This is a major threat to our national security, and feeds billions of dollars into the hands of dictators and non state terrorists groups. For all the critics of President Carter, he had the moral courage in his 79 speech to point out the need to kick our addiction to oil.
Chuck’s response is below,
At this point in time, there is simply no alternative to oil as a portable store of energy …. nothing comes close to it both thermodynamically and in terms of ease of portability. That said, we can cut consumption by making our usage more efficient … better cars, more insulation and reasonable substitution of alternatives … we will always be dependent on oil suppliers but we can reduce total demand with sensible measures. Look at the chart below — the developed industrial economies in Europe have reduced their consumption, but the US chose not to!!!!!
That is what we should have done when the oil embargo was a cannon shot across our bows … Carter understood this, I think. Now we are in an immoral position of saying demand of economies like China and India (even though their per capital consumption is tiny compared to ours) can or should not grow (even though their per capital consumption is tiny compared to ours), because we want to preserve our profligate life style — it is really disgusting.