Re: Energy and "the Clash of Civilizations" -- a policy thought problem

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Sat Sep 29 2001 - 20:46:23 MDT wrote:
> Greg Burch wrote:
> > Assume that you are George W. Bush's senior science policy adivosor. (This
> > means that you are NOT an anarcho-capitalist or even a libertarian -- try it
> > as an exercise for fun.) Now assume that you have become convinced (which
> > wouldn't be hard to do) that one of the most rigid constraints on US foreign
> > policy is the industrialized world's dependence on Middle Eastern oil. In
> > recent briefings you have become despondent over the intractable nature of
> > the conflict between the Enlightenment cultural values you hold as a
> > scientist and the Islamic revivalist movement that is the most dynamic
> > political and social force throughout that region. You want to propose some
> > means of decreasing the West's dependence on fossil fuels.
> >
> > Question: What would you propose?
> Oil will continue to be favored as long as it's far cheaper to use. Given
> the
> staggering investments already into finding alternative energy sources, the
> chance of any pet project replacing oil is next to nil. So the only solution
> is to tax oil and natural gas heavily, to the point where imports aren't
> necessary. I don't know the numbers, but I'd guesstimate 3-4 dollars
> per gallon of gas equivalent would do the trick. Most adjustments to reduce
> oil consumption, such as car gas mileage, transportation arrangements, and
> siting decisions, have long lead times, so the taxes should be imposed
> gradually.

I hope you are joking. Nuclear is cost-effective now compared
to oil
without seriously killing an already ailing economy with an
and utterly unnecessary 100-200% tax on gas. I can see why
would propose something of this kind. Especially since most of
energy needs are not for cars.

- samantha

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