The financial press was all a-twitter last week with worries about rising oil prices. Not just rising prices, but the possibility that "world oil supplies may not be able to keep up with future demand, a situation that could potentially lead to even higher prices," as it was reported in the New York Times.
Hmmm...does that sound like Peak Oil to anyone else out there?
All the financial worry--and the pain being borne by companies like Ford Motors and American Airlines, while regrettable, certainly could have been predicted. Unfortunately, despite the fact that we've known for years that oil is a "finite resource," we haven't been able to wean ourselves enough from it, nor have we planned for a future without oil. Thus, we have no real energy policy other than fighting over the last few oilfields remaining to us.
Of course, some lawmakers out there are taking the first steps towards creating an energy policy. One such effort was the recently passed Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008, which marries reducing our dependence on oil with creating green jobs.
Probably the most exciting part of HR 6049 was its focus on rural areas, and the incentives that it provides to rural farmers and ranchers who rent out their land for windpower turbines. I love the idea of putting turbines on working farms and ranches, because it provides monthly income to farmers, and allows them to keep on farming at the same time. As someone described it to me, "it's a win-win-wind."
Unfortunately, one member of Oregon's House delegation, Greg Walden, didn't vote for HR 6049. I'm not sure if he's against windpower, incentives for renewable energy, farmers or ranchers, or just this particular bill. But's in an odd vote for a man who's long touted himself as a friend to rural Oregonians.
Let's hope the rest of the delegation stands strong in their support of renewable energy in upcoming votes. We don't have time to wait around for $5- or even $10-a-gallon gasoline.