Phoenix Sustainability Project

Good news.  Local government is considering issues of sustainability here Phoenix.  Debating the merits of what they are doing can be left to another date.  You can check out the Phoenix Sustainability Project here.  They are addressing many important issues, like transportation and air quality, energy use, recycling and pollution prevention, historic preservation, riparian area restoration and preservation, water, and land use.

The one thing missing from the site is the use of the term ‘peak oil.’  This doesn’t mean they aren’t aware of the problem.  But, it is something I find curious about political dialogue within the United States.  Governments in general aren’t discussing it.

There are exceptions.  I was pleased to discover that the Minnesota state legislature passed a resolution asking the governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty, to prepare a response plan. 

Roscoe Bartlett, former (and possibly future) governor of Maryland addressed Congress about peak oil back in 2005. 

Even so, most of the time discussion of the issue takes place within the context of ‘climate change’, or ‘sustainability’.  Few people in government specifically speak directly to declining oil reserves.  And yet, the fallout from peak oil potentially could impact the average person more than climate change.

There is a lot of resistance to acting on behalf ‘climate’ within American politics.  There are quite a few climate skeptics on the Republican side of the debate.  I myself am not entirely sure how much of it I buy into, myself.  Perhaps, switching the terms of the debate to ‘peak oil’ would be more effective in generating intelligent debate and support for well thought out initiatives.

Certainly climate change activists would like to reduce carbon consumption.  Peak oil has the potential to do just that.  Both issues could be addressed through broadbased initiatives to develop renewable sources of energy and energy independence.

Without a frank political discussion of how we are to meet our energy needs as oil supplies begin to decline, there is the possibility of panicky behavior and irrational decisions too focused on the short term.  That could be disasterous.

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