The Washington Times columnist Fred Reed's latest work reads like an abbreviated Cliff Notes version of our energy crisis by someone just getting used to talking about the issue. Reed tries, in just under 600 words, to concisely identify all the problems of and possible solutions to our ongoing energy problems, but he misses some obvious ones (he neglects to mention biofuels, for example). There's no way anyone even come close with such a limited space, so I won't take him to task for this.
Still, Reed declines to answer the question he asks himself in the beginning of the column, namely are we or aren't we going to run out of oil? In fact, Reed doesn't even try to tell us what the scientific debate is, he just says, "We need to find out" and says people usually choose a side based on politics rather than evidence.

I agree with Reed that, "The problem, of course, is that we have too many people using too much energy." I disagree with Reed that some of the solutions he presents as unworkable. Take this gem:

"We could live in far smaller, well-insulated houses, use fans instead of air conditioning, drive the sorts of glorified go-carts that one sees in Thailand, and spend our time reading and listening to music. In practice, people don't behave this way."

You don't have to read too deeply to see that Reed doesn't consider Thai people to be real people (otherwise they wouldn't drive in those glorified go-carts). That's just the most absurd part of Reed's light glossing over of this deep problem, and I think that people can change their habits and lifestyles.

Reed doesn't really get us anywhere in the debate, but, hey, when a conservative paper (which the Washington Times is, and one led by a self-declared Messiah, no less) is saying we've got a problem, it's something.

[Source: Washington Times]


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