alternatives to big oil and if they can be allowed to happen....

From: john grigg (
Date: Tue Feb 01 2000 - 22:56:24 MST

Robert Bradbury wrote:
When electric or fuel cell cars (driven by alcohol produced via solarpowered
bacteria) are available there then becomes a huge incentive for the U.S.,
Europe, Australia, etc. to move away from oil. At that point it seems there
would be a huge ROI to the people in a country if the governments pushed the
solar cell development hard (through lowcost loans, tax incentives, etc.).
It makes a lot moresense to me for the developed countries to be spending
their "gas&heating" dollars on the installation ofthe infrastructure
required to give them a relatively "free" energy future. It would give me a
huge amount of satisfaction to fill my car up from the ever replenishing
alcohol tank sitting on my roof.

This could be a case of the dark side of human nature getting in the way.
How many on this list think the vastly powerful oil companies have lobbied
against or even underhandedly suppressed developing technologies that could
threaten their multi-billion dollar near- monopolies in the western world
and elsewhere? Remember President Carter trying to change things with the
department of energy that is no longer with us? Back during WWII the
Germans developed synthetic fuel technology to a high degree! But we are
not using it. Considering the U.S. is the breadbasket of the world we could
just "grow" our fuels instead of drill for them.

Third-world nations would be smart to try to be more independent by using
the technologies you mention. But again, the oil companies would wield
their influence to get the leaders of these nations to bend to their will.
It would be nice to see one or two brave leaders in the third-world just say
no, I won't be bought in an effort to stop my nation from not being
completely dependant on big oil.

Robert wrote:
Its worth noting that for many of the oil producing countries, though this
dampens their revenue stream from depleting natural resources, many of them
are relatively rich in land mass and renewable solar energy. The question
will be whether they build up their educated populations (engineers, etc.)
to levels that are high enough that they can develop technologies that take
advantage of this. Robert

I have known people who worked in oil rich Arab nations and said the oil
profits were poorly spent and the infrastructures of these nations are
already frayed around the edges. I have heard and it may not be true but
people that in these nations do not tend to take advantage of the subsidized
educational opportunities for advanced professional training. It would be
ironic if we go from middle eastern oil dependance to solar power
dependance! When the oil runs dry I see things getting very difficult in
Saudi Arabia and elsewhere unless they can live off profits from their
national portfolios. In the state of Alaska we have our humble permanent
fund. :)

In Alaska the oil companies tell the public and government we better "behave
ourselves" or they will start really downsizing here. When they put out
that vibe it sent a chill through the state. BP likes to talk about how the
next Alaska will be in the Arab lands formerly under Russian control and
they must gear up for this.

I hope one day fuel cells will power our vehicles. I just hope it is
allowed to happen until every last drop of oil has been drilled on the
planet when there are better alternatives.


John Grigg

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