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This is the simple thesis of Richard Heinberg, a respected author on peak oil and associated topics.


While it would be difficult to create an airtight legal case for impeaching George W. Bush based on his ignoring the very real threat posed by Peak Oil, nevertheless I believe that his actions--and inaction--in this regard constitute dereliction of duty on an unprecedented scale.

(...)

- Peak Oil is foreseeable.
- The consequences are also foreseeable and are likely to be ruinous.
- The Bush administration has been repeatedly warned.
- Actions could be taken to reduce the impact, but the longer those actions are delayed, the worse the impact will be.
- The administration, rather than taking steps to mitigate these looming catastrophic impacts, has instead done things that can only worsen them.

His case, made in the newsletter linked to above, which is accessible only to subscribers, is reposted on Energy Bulletin, and I'll summarise it briefly.

:: ::

Peak Oil is foreseeable.

Heinberg quotes the French Ministry of industry, Ford Motors, investor T. Boone Pickens, Shell current CEO Jeroen Van Der Veer, Matthew Simmons and a few others. All the links are provided in his article, so you can check them out individually. You may also want to check through my diaries here on dKos as many of them have been chronicled here at various times.

The conclusion is clear. Peak oil is a concept understood by many in the industry and around it, and many, many predict it to happen in at best a small number of years. It has been written about in the mainstream press by reputable authors, including CEOs and top geologists.

:: ::

The consequences are also foreseeable and are likely to be ruinous.

The Hirsch report (which can be downloaded here (pdf)), which I diaried last October, was commissioned by the Department of Energy, and it describes starkly the consequences of peak oil and the imperative necessity to act right away to have a chance to do anything about it. That information, described in both my diary and the Heinberg article, is very detailed and leaves no doubt about how serious the situation is.

:: ::

The Bush administration has been repeatedly warned

Apart form the above Hirsch report, Heinberg quotes reports from the US Army and another one from the Department of Energy. He also mentions a speech by the CEO of Halliburton in 1999, someone named Dick C., who said this:


By some estimates there will be an average of two per cent annual growth in global oil demand over the years ahead along with conservatively a three per cent natural decline in production from existing reserves. That means by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day.

Today's production is 85 million barrels a day, so replacing 50 mb/d and adding more to cover demand is not a small task, to say the least.

:: ::

Actions could be taken to reduce the impact, but the longer those actions are delayed, the worse the impact will be.

The Hirsch report made a number of very concrete suggestions, in a wide range of fields (fuel economy, unconventional oils, biofuels, coal-to-liquids, conversion to rail). Again, many of these are in the public domain and have been discussed, assessed and prices repeatedly (not least in our own Energize America series).

:: ::

The administration, rather than taking steps to mitigate these looming catastrophic impacts, has instead done things that can only worsen them.

The Bush administration has talked about energy, but done very little. Heingerg notes that the Hirsch report was essentially censored for a long time, and has never been promoted.

We can also add that the most recent Energy Bill did nothing to solve this particular crisis, and endless discussions about Iraq, while inconclusive, suggest that oil, and possibly oil depletion, was at the heart of this war.

:: ::

Of course, an indictment of Bush on these grounds is also, in many ways,  an indictment of America's wasteful ways, not a popular endeavor, but the Bush administration so concentrates all the behaviors and policies that go against finding a rational solution to this all-too-real crisis that it may be worth a shot.

In any case, it's not too late - but probably not too early either - to put the blame squarely on his shoulders for the inevitable crisis. Now is the time.

Go read Heinberg's article, and go read Hirsch's report and add this growing scandal to the list.

Originally posted to Jerome a Paris on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 12:20 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar - Mar. 26 (14+ / 0-)

    In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
    Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

    by Jerome a Paris on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 12:15:27 PM PST

  •  but he has a plan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gegner, kraant

    to drill in alaska.  and also a plan for all that iraqi oil to pay for the occupation.  And we're making "progress".

    Fight global warming. Be a pirate.

    by Orangebeard on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 12:19:32 PM PST

  •  I'm not sure we can put all the blame on Bush (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tiggers thotful spot

    We've known about our dangerous addiction to oil for some time now.  Ever since the oil embargo during the Carter Administration.  Carter created some good initiatives but when Reagan took office they were pretty much all reversed.  Reagan rolled the CAFE standards back after congress had increased it modestly.  Bush raised the standards just a smidgen.  Clinton did nothing to improve the CAFE standard.  Clinton really didn't have an energy policy to speak of.  Congress doesn't seem to have pushed really hard for reforms either.  So I would really think you'd have a hard time impeaching Bush for peak oil as you critisize Clinton easily and many members of congress regarding this issue.

    Fight global warming. Be a pirate.

    by Orangebeard on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 12:26:58 PM PST

    •  To clarify (0+ / 0-)

      when I said Bush raised the cafe standards a smidgen I meant the first Bush.  That could probably be figured out from the context as I was going somewhat chronologically but just making sure.  Carter had solar panels put on the roof of the White House.  I know that as soon as Reagan took office he had them taken down and undid a lot of the conservation measures Carter had adopted.  He didn't waste anytime at all at that.  I guess taking those evil solar panels down and stopping conservation efforts was a real priority to Reagan.  Maybe we could dig up Reagan's corpse and put him on trial for peak oil.

      Fight global warming. Be a pirate.

      by Orangebeard on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 12:32:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is one that cannot (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gegner, Sandino

      be blamed entirely on Dubya.

      I remember learning about peak oil in my science class in 9th grade. That was 1979.

      We haven't done much about it since then. As Alexander Cockburn said: "After Jimmy Carter's timid efforts to make America adjust to late-twentieth-century realities, Reagan installed fantasy as the motor of national consciousness, and it's still pumping disastrously along."

  •  Abolish CAFE (0+ / 0-)

    Here is my 2 cents on how to improve vehicle fuel efficiency by abolishing the CAFE standards.

    Abolish Cafe

    Basically I propose an inefficiency tax on vehicles that fail to meet certain standards. This way the "marketplace" controls behavior, not a government regulation. In addition anyone is free to drive as big as a gas guzzler as they wish, they just have to pay the rest of society (via the tax) for being wasteful.

    •  Abolish the light truck category (0+ / 0-)

      I think we should not only raise the CAFE standard but throw the light truck category in the garbage heap.  This category has been abused waaaayyyy too much.  Something can be worked out so farmers and people that need trucks for business purposes will be able to purchase the vehicles they need.  The light truck category for personal use should be obliterated though.

      Fight global warming. Be a pirate.

      by Orangebeard on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 12:47:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's what CAFE does (0+ / 0-)

      It basically requires carmakers to meet a particular fleetwide mileage standard (27mpg).  If the carmaker doesn't meet that standard, their entire fleet is taxed in proportion to the extent that they don't.

      There is one huge loophole.  SUVs and trucks don't count against CAFE because they're trucks, not cars.  (SUVs are popular because the carmakers figured out that the buyers of big gas-guzzling tanks would buy them even if they were on a truck chassis.)  Before SUVs were popular, carmakers dealt with the requirement by selling smaller cars at cost or at a loss and making it up by charging more for large vehicles.  In effect, one paid a tax for cars at the shallow end of the CAFE threshold.  With large numbers of SUVs in the mix and with large luxury cars not being too far off 27mpg themselves these days, CAFE is almost irrelevant now.

  •  Careful with the I word... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Moli, Gegner

    You can't impeach anyone because you disagree with their policies (no matter how ruinous).  You can only impeach for actually violating the law.

    To suggest that impeachment is to be used for political reasons plays to the other side.  The proceeding is to important an instrument to be used politically (no matter who broke that rule first).  It is meant to enforce the rule of law.  Period.

  •  Meanwhile, the markets are doing some work (0+ / 0-)

    Wind and solar power both continue to increase their installations, even in the face of major fossil fuel subsidies.

    A couple of ways to really increase market power on this issue (and cut down gov't spending to boot) is to:

    a) Remove 'exploration' subsidies for oil cos.

    b) Tag fossil fuel royalties to a percentage of current market price of a given commodity.

    It would also be worth getting NASA/Air Force/whoever to issue some grand challenges on hydrogen storage (or a chemical to synthesize for an energy loop in lieu of hydrogen).  Something along the lines of high energy density material seems like a good place to start investigation for our mobile energy carrier.

  •  Bush thinks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanneleon

    he did something about Peak Oil.

    He invaded Iraq and is building military bases there to protect the oil.

    Of course, none of it is flowing. But that's another matter.

    Against silence. Which is slavery. - Czeslaw Milosz

    by Caneel on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 12:57:53 PM PST

  •  Unfortunately, this isn't just Bush. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Unfortunately, this isn't just Bush (0+ / 0-)

    (and my typing is contributing to the problem -- damn, it's easy to accidentally post now..)

    Americans have a great love for setting their houses on 12-acre lots and driving around in SUVs because they "feel insecure" in a smaller car.

    Compare American cars with the same ones sold in Europe.  It is very hard to get an American to buy a car with a four-cylinder engine.  (Even compact cars often have six-cylinder engines.)

    Compare American suburbs.  Do Europeans voluntarily accept two-hour commutes so that they can live out in the woods?  This is very common in America.

    This all predates George Bush.  Of course, he is accelerating the problem.  But this is something that has been building for the last 40 years, and unfortunately we've ignored it.  It reflects something very wrong with American culture.

  •  Great work as usual Jerome a Paris n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  Conflicts of interest (0+ / 0-)

    The administration has consistently sided with oil interests, who have paid them well for decades, against the best interests of the U.S. I'm not sure how to tie this obvious corruption to a high crime other than to suggest that the faux-president owes his allegiance fo a foreign/multinational entity, and is engaged in treason by executing such policies...

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