An observation worth noting … and pondering, from Oil & Gas Journal Editor Bob Tippee:
In service to the quality of discourse, the oil and gas industry should fall silent on energy independence and hope that others who converse about energy recognize the consequent boost to public enlightenment and do likewise. Energy independence is an appealing ideal. So is perpetual youth. The problem in both cases is achievability…. [E]nergy independence means little. It’s a concept devoid of content, a rallying cry.
But it makes an effective sales slogan. Everyone marketing an energy program uses it.
Oil and gas producers have asserted the ideal of energy independence in their policy arguments for years....
[E]mpty concepts are like that. They work in any argument. This helps explain the lamentable state of contemporary political discussions about energy.
Kudos to Mr. Tippee for attempting to put to bed a standard talking point about our energy future that does little other than to offer false assurances to a public badly in need to unbiased information about our energy supply challenges in the years ahead.
No doubt it’s easier—and without question much more appealing—to convey an impression that our ingenuity and the magic of technology will provide us with all the energy we need to continue on with Life As We Know It until just about forever. It’s false, but a nice message. It meshes neatly with the “vast” resources and great “potential” and a nation filled with “abundance.”
It is, as Mr. Tippee noted, a great sell. But the public needs more than that. This is not a retail store transaction. The energy supply which has sustained us for decades and decades has built-in limitations, ingenuity and technological prowess notwithstanding.
Sooner or later, facts and reality are going to impose their wills on the nicest of stories. It would be best if sooner rather than later the public understood those facts and realities. Adapting to and transitioning into a future with a very different mix of supplies and demands won’t be arranged after a lovely weekend conference somewhere.
Planning ahead is not such a bad idea.
Adapted from a blog post of mine