Sunday, June 08, 2008

Teddy Roosevelt’s Advice, Our Energy Disaster, and Parallel Universes

When asked the basic rule behind accomplishing an important task Teddy Roosevelt gave the following advice.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

If only we had applied this advice in the early nineteen eighties, when the clouds of the forthcoming energy disaster first gathered. Can you imagine how it would have changed history if we had not placed the responsibility of our energy future into the hands of the oil companies? However, bad decisions that do not consider the future almost always lead to serious consequences. In this case, the United States is now suffering the consequences in spades.

The possibility of parallel universes is under consideration by many scientists. If so, perhaps there is a universe where we did push forward with an aggressive energy program and a mind to the future. The people living in that universe now enjoy a balanced energy program where there are multiple biotech and petroleum derived blends of fuels available. The transportation vehicles can run on any blend so the fuels are all competing with each other in a free market. The infrastructure to support this flexibility has long been in place. The disaster of a single fuel type and a few large companies completely controlling the market and prices ended years ago. The mergers that led to a few very large companies dedicated only to petroleum fuels never occurred. OPEC must now work very hard to sell their products in competition with the other sources of fuels.

The crippling transfer of dollars from the US economy to unfriendly companies also never happened. The United States, as a leader in biotechnology and agriculture, is enjoying a boom period that could not be imagined in 1981.

Unfortunately, we do not have a way of moving into that parallel universe at this time. However, let us apply Teddy Roosevelt’s advice right now and maybe 25 years from now we can pull alongside.