"The Politics of Energy and the Environment"

The Canadian politician Edward R. Schreyer argues for energy conservation:
The reality is that the very scale and nature of the problem is so great that it requires the adoption of all practical efforts and renewable, sustainable alternatives. This includes promotion of the conservation ethic—use less, waste less. It includes promotion of all efforts toward greater efficiency in energy and resource use; building better, smaller and with more insulation, more allowance for solar gain, etc. These are some examples that come mind. Acceptance of new technologies that have passed tests of feasibility must be encouraged. The slow rate at which geothermal heat pumps are being installed as an alternative to gas heating is a disappointing case in point. The technology is known. The capacity to install must be encouraged and ramped up but who will do this? One potential stakeholder awaits the other and governments remain passive bystanders. So it proceeds at a snail's pace.

Disclaimer: I have not yet read this whole article, but I was intrigued by Energy Bulletin's comments on it:
Long historical overview that makes some good points about familiar themes. Interesting to see at the end 'moderation' [a.k.a. sustainability?] being framed as a moral issue—how to save your skin and feel superior at the same time?
I was in ASPO 2005 in Lisbon and Schreyer was in a panel with Yves Cochet and Michael Meacher, (both ex environmental ministers) and Rudolf Rechsteiner, a Swiss parliamentary.

Schreyer is quite aware of peak oil and its possible consequences and his speech at Lisbon reminded me a lot to Carter.

The less convincing and "the optimist" was Rechsteiner (the only active politician in the panel), and only Cochet (who already speaks about decroissance, a French based initiative to adopt a sort of ungrowing-stationary economy that in turn is based in the works of Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen), brought up the subject of economic growth and energy consumption.

Some interesting 12/30/05 Drudge Report headlines:

Oil Prices Seen 40 Percent Higher for '05...


Europe Gets Hammered by Another Snowstorm...

Oklahoma, Texas Remain Under Burning Bans...

(The latter three may all be related to the slowing of the Gulf Stream).

(The latter three may all be related to the slowing of the Gulf Stream)

Which, in turn, is related to the buildup of fresh water in the Arctic.

Which is due to increased runoff from streams and glaciers around the arctic.

Which is related to a slight increase in the average air temperature.

etc ...

I interviewed Schreyer two weeks ago. We discussed Peak Oil and Politics. The transcript from the interview is up at my site:
Power Struggle
Whew! What a long-winded article. I guess that outfit lacks editors.

Do as I say, not as I do: I'd find Schreyer and other politicians to be much more credible if they actually set an example. When the day comes that there are truly massive layoffs in the airline and tourism industries, severe travel reductions by legislators and government employees, and the elimination of all the many generous tax subsidies for business travel, then, and only then, will I begin to consider these guys to be worthy of taking seriously. The telephone has been around for over 100 years, so it's high time they learned how to use it. And by the way, it wouldn't hurt their credibility to impose heavy taxes on mega-houses.

In the meantime, I suspect that Schreyer, in his capacity as a politician and author, burns more fuel in a month than I would in a year.

Schreyer was Govenor General of Canada many years ago (usually an end of political career post), but is now contemplating a return to active politics as an MP. Perhaps he will try to influence the debate in the direction of peak oil awareness if he is elected.