The Joke

Bill McKibben’s tweet says it all:

“President Obama promised to heal the planet. MY promise…is to help you and your family.” On some other planet, apparently.


  1. The joker is the joke (w/apologies to McLuhan).

    Biggest gag so far: all-hydrocarbon path to energy independence by 2020. Leaving aside personal ideology, technology preferences, party affiliation and all the rest, that's flatly impossible proposition, not even remotely likely.

    Where do they come up with this stuff, and how far is the ritually embedded election year suspension of disbelief supposed to stretch?

  2. I wouldn't say it's flatly impossible (we've been closing the gap), but it's highly improbable to put it mildly. It's difficult to imagine achieving that goal without significant government intervention (i.e. production mandates and subsidies. Serious demand reduction wouldn't hurt either... say increasing vehicle efficiency?).

    Also, if we did balance our production and consumption, how long would our local supplies last? Optimistic estimates say what... maybe 20 years? (I'm not optimistic).

    It should also be said that high oil prices and domestic production are positively -not inversely- correlated. North American oil production is up because high prices make fracking, deepwater offshore, and tar sands profitable.

  3. Highly improbable or flatly impossible, depending on how many corners could be cut in practice, and as well on physical constraints. See previous drilling booms for supply/demand problems with tubing let alone the myriad other details of bringing fields into production. Some things can only be hurried so much.

    As well, futile in the long run, as you point out. A war effort to buy a couple of decades of hegemony over our energy supply, or permanence? We'll only get to have the war once; we won't have any bullets left for a second take.

  4. Just to point out Bill's remark loses its irony if considered in light of Mormon theology, which expects that after death we will all be promoted to be gods of other planets. Even non-Mormons, as our Mormon descendants can induct us into the church retroactively.

  5. Pingback: Another Week of GW News, September 2, 2012 – A Few Things Ill Considered

  6. Pingback: Short-term needs vs the long-term | Planet3.0

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.