Month 5, Day 26: You Get What You Pay For.

I synthesized two separate articles in this one, which goes out to John Kerry and Harry Reid. Subtext: Fix The Damned Filibuster, You Twits!

Dear Senators Kerry and Reid,

While it may not be obvious to your Republican colleagues, it is crystal clear to anyone who’s paying attention that oil and coal are hugely more expensive than renewable energy sources.

Once we learn to count disasters, health effects, long-term environmental degradation, expensive wars and catastrophic global warming as inherent costs of fossil fuels, it’s obvious: we can no longer afford to keep burning.

Right now the B.P. disaster is threatening the native sperm whales, already an endangered species. Scientists say that it would only take a few deaths to condemn the entire Gulf population to extinction. How can we put a price on a sperm whale (ironically, an animal once almost hunted to extinction for its utility as an energy source)?

How can we put prices on the countless human communities along the Gulf coast — communities with unique customs, traditions and ways of life that are now facing similar fates? How expensive is the canary in the coal mine? And how many more canaries are going to die before we notice?

The oil advocates’ crazed eagerness to drill more and deeper sounds desperate at best and well-nigh pornographic at worst. Their insistence on expansion of oil sources regardless of the consequences is revealing: they know that Peak Oil has arrived, and they’re desperate. From now on, oil is never going to get cheaper. A rig like the Deepwater Horizon is incredibly expensive to operate, probably costing millions of dollars a year; Peak Oil means peak operating cost, which is why rig operators routinely ignore safety procedures.

We can either make a switchover to renewable energy sources swiftly, with the full support of the government and the world’s industrial base — or we can make the same switchover after the world’s energy economy has collapsed and the planetary ecosystem has been gravely damaged. Either way, the bill for our fossil foolishness has come due, and it’s time to tell the American people that the days of cheap hydrocarbon energy are officially over.

The crafting of the Kerry-Lieberman bill demonstrated the extent to which political expediency is a determining factor in the content of legislation. Alas, the country can no longer afford political expediency either. We need to get off fossil fuels, and soon.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders
629 Fellsway West
Medford, MA 02155