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[GreenYes] FW: BRAIN FOOD: See Campbell's great online oil depletion lecture in Germany!!!
- Subject: [GreenYes] FW: BRAIN FOOD: See Campbell's great online oil depletion lecture in Germany!!!
- From: "Barry Brooks" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Tue, 29 May 2001 12:37:43 -0700
From: Jay Hanson [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, May 28, 2001 8:54 PM
Subject: BRAIN FOOD: See Campbell's great online oil depletion lecture
See the basic text and graphs of Campbell's lecture in Germany at:
See his splendid 50 minute RealAudio lecture at:
You owe it to your family to watch this lecture together! If you don't have
a RealAudio player, download a free version at http://www.realaudio.com/
Invited oral testimony (limited to 5 minutes)
given by A.A. Bartlett to the Subcommittee on Energy
of the Science Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives,
May 3, 2001, in Room 2318 of the Rayburn House Office Building
in Washington, D.C.
We were allowed to submit longer written testimony, and the written
testimony could be revised after the hearing. As of the date of this
mailing, I am still working on the revision of my written testimony.
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:
My name is Albert A. Bartlett.
I am Professor Emeritus at the University of Colorado at Boulder where I
have been a member of the Faculty of the Department of Physics since 1950.
Our national energy situation is a mess!
For years we have seen recommendations from the Department of Energy that
suggest that the leaders of the Department have little scientific
understanding of the problems of energy.
We have seen the President of the United States sending his Secretary of
Energy on bended knee to plead with OPEC leaders to increase petroleum
production so as to keep our gasoline prices from rising. For a country
that boasts that it is the world’s only superpower, this is profoundly
Gasoline prices are rising. California currently has an electrical energy
crisis that is likely to spread. Natural gas prices are rising rapidly,
which poses real economic hardship for millions of American home owners who
depend on natural gas to heat their homes in the winter.
The only energy proposals we see are for short-term fixes, sometimes spread
over a few years, that seem to ignore the important real-world realities of
resource availability and consumer costs.
For years, scientists have warned that fossil fuels resources are finite and
that long-range plans should be made. These plans must recognize that
growing rates of consumption of fossil fuels will lead, predictably, to
serious shortages that are now starting to appear.
For years we have heard learned opinions from non-scientists that resources
are effectively infinite; that the more of a resource that we consume the
greater are the reserves of that resource; and that the human intellect is
our greatest resource because the human mind can harness science and
technology to solve all of our resource shortages.
There seem to be two cultures; science and non-science. Each has its own
Ph.D. “experts” and “think tanks.” Each has its own lobbyists who argue
vigorously that their path is the proper path to achieve a sustainable
society. So let’s compare the two recommended paths.
The centerpiece of the scientific path is conservation; hence it is
appropriate to call this path the “Conservative Path.” On this path the
federal government is called on to provide leadership plus strong and
reliable long-term support toward the achievement of the following goals.
The U.S. should:
1) Have an energy planning horizon that addresses the problems of
sustainability through many future decades.
2) Have programs for the continual and dramatic improvement of the
efficiency with which we use energy in all parts of our society. Improved
energy efficiency is the lowest cost energy resource we have.
3) Move toward the rapid development and deployment of all manner of
renewable energies throughout our entire society.
4) Embark on a program of continual reduction of the annual total
consumption of non-renewable energy in the U.S.
5) Recognize that moving quickly to consume the remaining U.S. fossil fuel
resources will only speed and enlarge our present serious U.S. dependence on
the fossil fuel resources of other nations. This will leave our children
vitally vulnerable to supply disruptions that they won’t be able to control.
6) Finally, and most important, we must recognize that population growth in
the U.S. is a major factor in driving up demand for energy. This calls for
recognizing the conclusion of President Nixon’s Rockefeller Commission
Report (Commission on Population Growth and the American Future, 1972). The
Commission concluded that it could find no benefit to the U.S. from further
U.S. population growth.
In contrast, the non-scientific path suggests that resources are effectively
infinite, so we can be as liberal as we please in their use and consumption.
Hence this path is properly called the “Liberal Path.” The proponents of
the Liberal Path recommend that the U.S. should:
1) Make plans only to meet immediate crises, because all crises are
2) Not have government promote improvements in energy efficiency because the
marketplace will provide the needed improvements.
3) Not have government programs to develop renewable energies because,
again, the marketplace can be counted on to take care of all of our needs.
4) Let fossil fuel rates continue to increase because to do otherwise might
hurt the economy.
5) Dig and Drill. Consume our remaining fossil fuels as fast as possible
because we “need them.” Don’t worry about our children. They can count on
having the advanced technologies they will need to solve the problems that
we are creating for them.
6) Claim that population growth is a benefit rather than a problem, because
more people equals more brains.
We should not be confused by the conflicting expertise that supports each of
these two paths because there is a very fundamental truth:
For every Ph.D. there’s an equal and opposite Ph.D.
For our U.S. energy policy, we must choose between the Conservative and the
Liberal Paths. The paths are the exact opposites of each other. Each is
advocated by academically credentialed experts. On what basis can we make
an intelligent choice?
There is a rational way to choose. If the path we choose turns out to be
the correct path, then there’s no problem. The problems arise in case the
path we choose turns out to be the wrong path. It follows then that we must
choose the path that leaves us in the less precarious position in case the
path we choose turns out to be the wrong one.
So there are two possible wrong choices that we must compare.
If we choose the Conservative Path that assumes finite resources, and our
children later find that resources are really infinite, then no great
long-term harm has been done.
If we choose the Liberal Path that assumes infinite resources, and our
children later find that resources are really finite, then we will have left
our descendants in deep trouble.
There can be no question. The Conservative Path is the prudent path to
However, it is the Liberal Path that we are so eagerly taking today.
If resources turn out to be infinite, then we will be OK on the Liberal
Path. But if resources turn out to be finite, then today’s choice of the
Liberal Path will create enormous and critical problems for our children.
I thank you for this opportunity to share my views with you.
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