The Big Chill

– One of the blogs I read regularly is Jim Kunstler’s .  He’s the author of The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century.

– He’s insightful and direct which I like. In this piece, he expresses his doubts about all of the hoopla being raised about Ethanol and how it is going to save us from the coming energy crises. Like me, he thinks people are just looking for easy answers so they don’t have to confront the really hard problems which are approaching.

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One of the farmers who organized the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s annual meeting put it nicely: “The ethanol craze means that we’re going to burn up the Midwest’s last six inches of topsoil in our gas-tanks.”

The American public is in chill mode in more ways than one. We are finally freezing our asses off in the Northeast after a supernaturally mild December and January, and the heating oil trucks are once again making the rounds of the home furnaces (and running down their inventories). But we’re also chillin’ on the concept that there is an energy problem per se. The public is convinced that we are one IPO away from attaining the sovereign rescue remedy that will permit us to continue running our Happy Motoring utopia.

The public is bombarded daily with feel-good news about new bio-engineered bacteria that can turn sawmill refuse into high-test gasoline, cornucopias of miracle diesel beans, lithium batteries that will take you from Hackensack to Chicago on a single charge, and still (despite all the evidence against feasibility) hydrogen-powered SUVs. The public is convinced that we will enter a nirvana of “energy independence” just-in-time — the same way that WalMart miraculously restocks it’s shelves.

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