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).