Friday, September 09, 2011

Oil Buffet

The other day I listened to a short discussion on the PBS News Hour podcast about the proposed oil pipeline from the Alberta tar sands mines to feed our oil hunger here in the U.S.A. The news hour likes to have little mini debates where they have a spokesperson from each side sit down and talk about an issue. The whole tar sands thing and global warming in general boils down to whether we should risk our environment for the economy, or risk the economy for the environment. Of course if the environment goes to hell, then the economy is screwed anyway; and the tar sands wouldn't be viable if the cost of a gallon of gas wasn't already heading north of $4, but whatever.

Anyway - one thing the pro-pipeline guy said (and many others too about this and similar issues) that frustrates me is that the Alberta tar sands will be developed whether the United States consumes the oil or not - the oil will just go to other markets, so we might as well take the oil, because there's no stopping China and India or wherever. I mean per capita we consume over 5 times the amount of energy as China, and 10 times the energy of India (thanks, Wikipedia!). Sure there are a lot more Chinese and Indians, but since we led the way to our energy-fat lifestyle; we ought to also lead the way to a more sustainable future. The cost of energy will go up, and we'll have to change the way we do things, but we'll be better off in the end.

The picture I have in my mind is of big old fat America at the energy buffet - freakin 500 pound energy fatty half blind from diabetes, blood pressure through the roof, butter for blood, zooming around the buffet in one of those fat-people scooters, because America can't walk more than a few steps without getting winded. So fatty America has already eaten 5 times the amount of food as any of the skinny Chinese at the buffet, and ten times more food than any of the Indians; but America is getting pissed off, because the buffet is starting to run out of food, and even though any one Chinese or Indian has eaten a lot less food than America, when you add up all the food that all the Chinese and Indians have eaten - that almost competes with the amount of food America has eaten, and America needs that food! Freakin' China and India! Now America notices Canada just set a giant chocolate cake on the buffet table. Is America going to freakin' go on a diet and start exercising and let China and India and Europe have the freakin' cake ? No way, baby!

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