Even an Oil Tycoon Gets It

I’ve always thought of the move to sustainability as being a major paradigm shift, a major move to a new worldview, and this week I think we’re starting to see concrete evidence of that, especially in terms of energy.

First was this article from the Breakthrough Institute on the need to cut our nation’s addiction to oil. Not just foreign oil, but all oil. The article does great job of explaining why we can’t drill our way out of high oil and gas prices. In short, there just isn’t enough domestic supply to really make a difference in how much gas costs, and it will do nothing to curb climate change. When it comes down to it, drilling is not the answer.

What really amazed me this week was who has stepped forward to offer a plan for moving forward. Oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens spoke about the need to move away from oil Tuesday on Good Morning America. Yes, you read that correctly; an oil tycoon stepping up to offer solutions for our nation to completely break our addiction to oil! I know, it blew me away too. Watch the video; he really thinks this is an emergency situation and needs to be a national priority. If we don’t deal with this now, Mr. Pickens predicts $6/gallon gas and $200/barrel oil by this time next year. Combined with the ever-expanding credit crunch and housing market collapse, this is not something any of us want to see happen.

Mr. Pickens also has a website detailing his plan (thanks to CNET and Spatial Sustain for pointing to this). Basically, the plan is to use wind to replace natural gas as a generator of electricity. The maps he has from the Department of Energy showing wind generation potential in the US are amazing. (Yes, the GIS geek speaks!) The next step in the plan would be to utilize that natural gas that’s taken away from power generation for the transportation sector. This would cut our foreign oil imports by 38%, which would cut our outpouring of cash for oil by $300 billion per year.
This is a big deal. While I’m not sure about the long term use of natural gas (a fossil fuel) for transportation, it could be a great transition fuel to get us to something better. And while Mr. Pickens’ priority is focused on foreign oil and the not-inconsiderable amounts of money being spent on it, this plan is still a step in the right direction. We need to start somewhere, and if just eliminating foreign oil begins to move us in the right direct, so be it. The most important thing is that the paradigm is shifting. New ways of looking at the world a being born right in front of our eyes, and in some unexpected places. Let’s just hope that the private sector, Congress and the new president embrace this worldview quickly and begin helping us move down a more sustainable path.
Explore posts in the same categories: gis, oil addiction, renewable energy

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