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#33958 - 10/23/07 06:45 PM "The Moral Equivalent Of War"
Daniel Offline
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Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
Interesting to go back to Jimmy Carter's 1977 speech on energy conservation. People made fun of his sweater-wearing fireside chats, but we'd be a lot better off today if he had been taken more seriously back then. Some parts of the speech show their age--I'd guess he'd rewrite some of the sections advocating greater reliance on coal, and some predictions were off--but others could have been written yesterday and are more applicable than ever now that global warming has been added to the mix. Some excerpts below.

No one can say he didn't try. Too bad too many didn't listen.
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The most important thing about these proposals is that the alternative may be a national catastrophe. Further delay can affect our strength and our power as a nation.

....

Now we have a choice. But if we wait, we will live in fear of embargoes. We could endanger our freedom as a sovereign nation to act in foreign affairs.

....

We will feel mounting pressure to plunder the environment. We will have a crash program to build more nuclear plants, strip-mine and burn more coal, and drill more offshore wells than we will need if we begin to conserve now. Inflation will soar, production will go down, people will lose their jobs. Intense competition will build up among nations and among the different regions within our own country.

If we fail to act soon, we will face an economic, social and political crisis that will threaten our free institutions.

But we still have another choice. We can begin to prepare right now. We can decide to act while there is time.

....

... we must protect the environment. Our energy problems have the same cause as our environmental problems -- wasteful use of resources. Conservation helps us solve both at once.

... we must reduce our vulnerability to potentially devastating embargoes. We can protect ourselves from uncertain supplies by reducing our demand for oil, making the most of our abundant resources such as coal, and developing a strategic petroleum reserve.

... the cornerstone of our policy, is to reduce the demand through conservation. Our emphasis on conservation is a clear difference between this plan and others which merely encouraged crash production efforts. Conservation is the quickest, cheapest, most practical source of energy. Conservation is the only way we can buy a barrel of oil for a few dollars.

....

The citizens who insist on driving large, unnecessarily powerful cars must expect to pay more for that luxury.

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#33959 - 10/23/07 06:50 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: Daniel]
oenophore Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5969
Loc: 212 land
Conservation is the quickest, cheapest, most practical source of energy.

In the short run.
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#33961 - 10/23/07 07:34 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: oenophore]
Daniel Offline
veteran

Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
 Originally Posted By: oenophore
Conservation is the quickest, cheapest, most practical source of energy.

In the short run.


Well, at least it's more than what our Veep called "a sign of personal virtue."

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#33962 - 10/23/07 07:50 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: Daniel]
oenophore Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5969
Loc: 212 land
Population and industrial growth will more than nullify conservation's gains. Alas, poverty and underdevelopment do more to conserve than our meager efforts.
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#33963 - 10/23/07 08:19 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: oenophore]
Mike Rawdon Offline

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Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4276
Loc: Poughkeepsie
 Originally Posted By: oenophore
Population and industrial growth will more than nullify conservation's gains.


It's true that growing global demand will result in greater energy use each year despite even herculean conservation. But if you're turning this around to suggest that there's therefore no reason to conserve, then you're just...(strong, insulting language withheld).

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#33966 - 10/24/07 01:09 AM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: oenophore]
Daniel Offline
veteran

Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
Conservation is vital in that whatever energy source we use, we'll use less of it than we would otherwise, even if growth creates more demand. That means fewer nuclear plants, or hydroelectric dams, or wind turbines. Plus it would give us more time to transition away from oil. Plus if we made a concerted effort to bring down the price of oil through conservation, then we wouldn't be so beholden to an unstable Middle East (as we presently tiptoe around the Saudis and prop up the Iranian and Russian regimes which depend on high oil prices). All of these results would be good ones.

And Carter's speech did include proposals on developing alternative energy sources. If only subsequent administrations had taken them seriously, think of where we might be today.

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#33970 - 10/24/07 10:45 AM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: Daniel]
oenophore Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5969
Loc: 212 land
That means fewer nuclear plants, or hydroelectric dams, or wind turbines.

Aren't wind turbines reputed to be our electrical energy salvation?
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#33972 - 10/24/07 02:13 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: oenophore]
Daniel Offline
veteran

Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
If we depend on wind energy, the idea is that wise energy consumption would mean fewer wind turbines than we would otherwise require. Fewer turbines is better than more.

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#33974 - 10/24/07 02:58 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: Daniel]
oenophore Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5969
Loc: 212 land
 Originally Posted By: Daniel
If we depend on wind energy, the idea is that wise energy consumption would mean fewer wind turbines than we would otherwise require. Fewer turbines is better than more.
Here I thoroughly disagree. Unless wind generation capacity were in excess of demand, the more the better.
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#33975 - 10/24/07 03:58 PM Re: "The Moral Equivalent Of War" [Re: oenophore]
MarcC Offline
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Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: oenophore
Aren't wind turbines reputed to be our electrical energy salvation?

That's a narrow way of looking at the problem. The ultimate solution for significantly reducing or even eliminating the use of oil will involve wind, solar, geothermal, nuclear, bio-fuels, hydrogen, and other technologies, all of which will also require conservation as part of the usage model. Unfortunately, the news media and politicians keep looking for and championing a single silver bullet.
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- Marc

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