I believe that the single most important thing that North America needs to do within the decade is to establish independent self-sufficency from foreign oil. (US, Canada and Mexico acting together as partners to achieve this goal)
Context and Precedent
TODAY – If total energy is looked at, the U.S. is over 70% self-sufficient. (Wall Street Journal) That is not good enough. North America and more particularly, the United States needs to free itself completely from reliance upon politically unstable states for energy needs.
The US is the world’s third largest producer of oil, yet it currently only produces about 40% of the oil that it consumes, but most of its imports come from Canada. 19% of the oil that the US consumes is imported from the Middle East.
Oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) was discovered in the 1970s, and the question of whether the national park should be opened up to oil exploration is a very controversial issue in American politics. ANWR has been reported as having the largest remaining oil reserve in North America. The U.S. Department of Interior estimates range from 9 to 16 billion barrels of recoverable oil (up to 32 billion barrels of recoverable oil at a 5% probability of recovery).
The US has vast reserves of coal and oil shale/oil sand that environmentalists do not want exploited (but I’m really not sure why since coal gassification plants don’t generate environmentally dangerous pollution and the technology is both proven and is in use in limited areas).
Opponents of U.S. Energy Independence (mostly in the Middle East) argue that a major supply disruption has not occurred for more than two decades, and contend that the movement promotes isolationism and protectionism.
France derives 77% of its energy needs directly from nuclear power. Switzerland and Sweden derive 40% of their energy needs from nuclear power and the US obtains about 20% of its needs from nuclear power. The US clearly needs to increase construction of safe, modern nuclear power plants as an unambiguous step in the energy independence direction. Solar and wind power do not provide the necessary on-demand power that the nation needs.
The United States has the largest proven recoverable coal reserves in the world in all categories of coal (Anthracite and Bituminous, Sub Bituminous and Lignite). Coal can also be converted into gasoline and diesel by several different processes. In the direct liquefaction processes, the coal is either hydrogenated or carbonized.
Coal liquefaction methods do not necessarily involve significant carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the conversion process. If carbon capture and storage technologies are employed, a 75% reduction in CO2 is achievable when co-gasifying coal with commercially demonstrated levels of biomass.
President Obama bows to King Abdullah
Some Democrats say it was a dropped contact lens, others
speculate that he slipped on a banana peel and caught himself.
The Keystone Pipeline System will transport synthetic crude oil and diluted bitumen (“dilbit“) from the Athabasca oil sands region in northeastern Alberta, Canada to multiple destinations in the US. To date the heaviest opposition and the most important opponent of the Keystone Pipeline has been President Barack Obama, because of the pressure put on him directly by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Keystone XL pipeline would allow the U.S. to increase its energy security and reduce its dependence on foreign oil as soon as it’s in place An independent study conducted by the Cornell ILR Global Labor Institute reports that the crude oil routed to the Gulf Coast will end up being exported to Asia, and not contribute to energy independence or national security.
TransCanada CEO Russ Girling has argued that “the U.S. needs 10 million barrels a day of imported oil” and the debate over the proposed pipeline “is not a debate of oil versus alternative energy. This is a debate about whether you want to get your oil from Canada or Venezuela or Nigeria.”
Much of the opposition to the oil sands actually comes from foreign countries such as Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia, all of whom supply oil to the United States and who could be affected if the price of oil drops due to the new availability of oil from the pipeline. She cited as an example an effort by Saudi Arabia to stop pro-oil sands television commercials.
Venezuela is an avowed enemy of the United States and Saudi Arabia’s citizens flew airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. While Saudi Arabia is an ally of convenience of the US (Iran threatens their continued existence with the development of nuclear weapons at present), they are not ‘friends’. They buy weapons from us and sell us oil.
WE NEED AN AMERICAN solution to the problem of energy independence and we need an AMERICAN administration that will work toward our best interests. We don’t really have either at the moment.
I am not anti-Saudi Arabian, but I feel that the interests of the economically imperiled United States should take precedence over the Saudi preference that we be dependent on them for oil supplies.