The following is an excerpt from Lewis Tagliaferre's online column
"Bottom Line Energy Issues"
While the shift to control by Democrats was being initiated in the Senate,
and stalled progress on enacting a comprehensive energy policy, a passionate
speech was delivered before the U.S. House of Representatives - June 5, 2001,
page E1014 Congressional Record. Quotes are edited.
"Mr. Speaker… Throughout history prosperity has been inextricably
linked to society's access to sources of raw energy and the technological capacity
to convert and distribute usable forms. The American economy has been built
upon an energy base, especially on a cheap and abundant supply of oil. But that
is to change.
"…[I]nstead of being a wake-up call to produce more energy, California's
experience just might be a harbinger of things to come. The U.S. population
is projected to increase from 283 to 325 million by 2020. During the same period,
U.S. petroleum consumption is slated to increase by 33 percent; domestic oil
production to decline by 16 percent; and imports to increase by 33 percent.
All forms of energy consumption increased from 84 quadrillion BTUs in 1990 to
98 quads last year, and is projected to top 121 quads by 2020 - up 44 percent
in 30 years.
"It's time to face uncomfortable facts. Pour the world's increasing population
and demand for energy into a pot boiling with poverty, stir with resentment,
and add fanaticism and easy access to weapons of mass destruction. Where will
it lead? Japan's thirst for oil led to Pearl Harbor, Saddam's desire to dominate
the oil-rich Persian Gulf sparked the call for half a million troops to drive
him back to Baghdad.
"Given a set of stubborn facts that can't be washed away, future energy
wars no longer may be a dim possibility, but rather, highly probable - and sooner
than we think."
A wise oil sheik was quoted by Rush Limbaugh: "The Stone Age did not end
for a lack of stones, but because of new technology." One can only hope
that some unexpected breakthroughs will intervene to prevent the dismal scenario
predicted by Rep. Sherwood.
Lewis Tagliaferre is a contributing editor to Buildings.com. Please forward
your comments and questions directly to him at (lewtag @aol.com).