First came fire. Then the wheel. Then, shortly thereafter in relative terms, the internal combustion engine, the light bulb, airplanes, air conditioning, the Internet, really cool kitchen equipment and lots of other good stuff. A Brief Primer on Energy

First came fire. Then the wheel. Then, shortly thereafter in relative terms, the internal combustion engine, the light bulb, airplanes, air conditioning, the Internet, really cool kitchen equipment and lots of other good stuff.

Much of that stuff that allowed us to move from the trees and caves to our current high-tech dwellings, that moved us from goat barter to contemporary commerce, that allowed some of us to work where we live and others to commute requires fuel and energy.

The more a civilization progresses, the more energy and the more varied forms of energy it needs. Where once there were relatively few progressing civilizations in the world, there are now many, all competing for energy.

As you may have heard, China, India and Japan have some of the really good stuff we in the United States have and they want a lot more of it, and they also have a lot more people to supply it to. But there are other countries that, for the moment, just need clean water and basic electricity and basic transportation.

All, on a global basis, are competing for energy resources, of which, for the moment, fossil fuels are the most necessary. You can’t build a hydroelectric dam, or a nuclear plant, or a windmill farm or a solar array without trucks and other equipment powered by fossil fuels.

Fossil fuels are not scarce and will not be scarce until far into the future. The end use availability of fossil fuels is scarce, for numerous reasons, including some that are arbitrary (OPEC production quotas, for example), others that are geopolitical and others resulting from sheer political stupidity. It is to the latter that we shall speak.

The cost of fuel and energy are governed by an economic concept called supply and demand. Perhaps you have heard of it, but even if you have not, it is a fact. When supply exceeds demand, prices are lower. When demand exceeds supply, prices are higher. Supply and demand works for goats and energy and every other area of commerce.

Blessed be those who have supply. Cursed be those who don’t. Facts of life, rules of the world, and so on and so forth.

It’s time to change the rules. The U.S. has ample supply. We have fossil fuels, of all types. We have innovation and expertise. We have technology. We just need to make the energy to which we have access available.

To make our supply available, we must demand it, in no uncertain terms. We must demand it from those who control it. Yes, our government. It is surely not those who want to get it and sell it to you who are the problem.

Now, you can spend your days ranting and raving about the environmentalists or Hugo Chavez and the oil sheiks. You should understand those issues, but ranting and raving about them will get you not one drop of oil, not one btu of coal, not one kilowatt of electricity. Not one.

We must demand the development of the energy resources we have and those we can develop. It doesn’t matter what they are. Oil, gas, coal, nuclear, wind, water, solar. We need them all and we need them now.

Government has obstructed safe and reasonable plans to allow us to have our supply of energy. The whys are no longer relevant. You’re not going to remove that obstruction by being nice or by cursing under your breath at the pump or when your power bill comes. You’re not going to get it by being respectful during the demagoguery regarding “green” this and that or punishing those who bring you the energy we have.

You’re only going to remove the obstruction to your supply when you demand it. Drill the oil. Dig the coal. Build the refineries. Build the nuclear power plants. Build the wind farms.

Rise up now. Go to your windows. And shout into the streets and into the corridors of power. Fill the ballot boxes against those who obstruct. Do it once, twice, as often as it takes, because if you do not, you are going to awake one fine cold morning and have to burn the tires of your useless vehicle to heat your dead house.

Cursed be those who deny us our very own energy supply which we herewith demand.

End of lesson.

June 12, 2008
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