President Bush calls for easing of environmental protection in face of gasoline price blowout.

“Dependence on foreign oil”, on hearing this I thought, is that the only problem that President Bush sees when the price of oil soars to unprecedented highs? In a speech to the Renewable Fuels Association he had this to say: “Our addiction to oil is a matter of national security concern… After all, today we get about 60 percent of our oil from foreign countries. That’s up from 20 years ago, where about 25 percent of our oil came from foreign countries.” Mr Bush what does that tell you?

How did he envisage getting out of the bind? Well why not just suspend EPA requirements by asking the Environmental Protection Agency to grant waivers to clean air requirements if necessary or, halt purchases of oil for the government emergency reserve. Or, as he has proposed, as a matter of urgency, increase oil exploration in Alaska with the aim of “fuel independence”.

The Economist of July, 2007 had an interesting article on fuel consumption per capita per day for a list of countries and the price of petrol in these countries to fill the 50 litre tank of a Honda Civic. View the graph here. Nine months on and the price of petrol has soared. This quote from the article is hold some irony.

“Despite protests over rising prices, filling up in America is relatively cheap at $31.06. Indeed, this may explain the country’s enormous daily petrol consumption, which in 2003 was more than the next 20 biggest consumers combined. Although consumption will have increased in some countries since then, particularly in China, it is nonetheless easy to see why George Bush has introduced a plan to cut petrol consumption by 20% in the next ten years”.

Yes, but the time to cut consumption is sooner not later. The aim should not be to continue looking for new and innovative ways to continue on polluting our atmosphere and pillaging pristine areas of the planet. It should not be to sure up the right of increasing numbers of drivers to continue polluting .

This problem does not belong to the US alone, all nations need to look at the weaknesses in their transport systems if the ills of the planet are to be addressed. It is about reducing carbon emissions into the atmosphere and finding new ways of managing the energy needs of our nations. Find and fund the development of new alternative sources of renewable energy, encourage or mandate the use of energy efficient vehicles, put more funding into improving public transport infrastructure, to name but a few things that need to be done.

The solution is not finding more oil reserves, foreign or otherwise, it rests with the notion that we can no longer lead unsustainable lives and selfishly continue to consume at all costs. Like all addicts it is time to find some form of rehab for addicted drivers so that this planet can survive and so that all the peoples of the planet can lead dignified lives. Bolivia’s president is quoted as saying this about the food crisis caused by the increased use of biofuels to satisfy drivers in developed countries:

“it is not an internal problem, it is an external problem. This is very serious,” he said. “How important is life and how important are cars? So I say life first and cars second.”

Yesterday was Earth Day, I repeat, what did you do to make a difference. Today I ask you all: What can we do to make a difference every day?

Sorry for the rant today but the price of petrol has gone up across the whole world and it is time to face the fact that we cannot go on like this.

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~ by abstraktbiblos on Wednesday, 23 April, 2008.

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