Tuesday, March 22, 2005

We've got our hand in the coconut (but we can get it out)

Robert Freeman outlines America's choice. We can meet our energy crisis through an ultimately futile global military campaign to seize and control oil or we can "reconfigure" Amerca for a new energy future. Two items to pick at in an otherwise well devised article. First, Freeman suggests that biotechnology can help us devise crops that require smaller quantities of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, all of which are heavily dependent on oil and natural gas for their feedstocks.

However, the companies that make the seeds are the same ones that sell the pesticidies, herbicides and fertilizers (after a frenzy of mergers in the 1990s). They design their seeds intentionally to make people dependent on their pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. They'll be absolutely no help in an energy transition. Second, the unending global war which Freeman talks about will go on for a time, but ultimately there will be no money to pay for it. Right now the Chinese and the Japanese are lending the U. S. government vast sums that enable it to carry on its global military operations. What incentive will they have to continue that lending when their own energy interests are being undermined?

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