Seriously — how does one of the smartest columnists in the country write an entire piece on the U.S. oil habit and never once mention global warming?
The point of the article by Robert J. Samuelson is summarized in its headline: “An Oil Habit America Cannot Break.” He writes: On energy, we’re disproving even this cynical axiom. Our main energy problem is our huge dependence on imported oil.”
He then spends a great deal of time explaining why the situation is hopeless either politically (because no solution is currently acceptable) or practically (because as he sees it, no politically plausible solution could possibly make a serious dent in our rising oil consumption). This is all summarized in the penultimate paragraph of the article:
So we probably won’t do much about our oil habit. Any realistic proposal would ignite a firestorm of protest. Environmentalists would denounce more drilling. Auto companies would protest new fuel economy standards. Most important, the public would denounce a steep energy tax, even if it were introduced gradually with most proceeds rebated by lowering other taxes (as is desirable). And these unpleasant steps would merely reduce our dependence from what it would otherwise be. It’s a hard case to make.
Samuelson couldn’t be more wrong. I know for 100% certainty that we will do a great deal about our oil habit, because before 2020, most everyone (including him) will understand that failure to cut US oil consumption 50% by 2050 will inevitably lead to a series of dire and irreversible consequences costing trillions of dollars, including returning the earth to temperatures when sea levels were 80 feet higher.
Now, Samuelson may not believe this now, but our top climate scientists do. To write an entire article on oil and never even mention climate means he just doesn’t get it.