from the too-depressed-to-care dept.
Drivers across America are rejoicing at falling gasoline prices as pumps across the country dip below $3 a gallon. But according to Sharon E. Burke while it's nice to get the break at the gas pump and the economic benefits of an energy boom at home, the national security price of oil remains high. Burke says that the United States should be doing everything it can to diversify global energy suppliers, and that ultimately the only way to solve our long term energy problem is to make a sustained, long-term investment in alternatives to petroleum. October saw a 52 percent jump in Jeep SUV sales and a 36 percent rise in Ram trucks while some hybrid and electric vehicle sales fell at the same time. “This is like putting a Big Mac in front of people who need to diet or watch their cholesterol,” says Anthony Perl. “Some people might have the willpower to stick with their program, and some people will wait until their first heart attack before committing to a diet—but if we do that at a planetary scale it will be pretty traumatic.”
Nicholas St. Fleur writes at The Atlantic that low oil prices may also undermine the message from the UN’s climate panel. The price drop comes after the UN declared earlier this week that fossil fuel emissions must drop to zero by the end of the century in order to keep global temperatures in check. “I don’t think people will see the urgency of dealing with fossil fuels today,” says Perl. Falling oil prices may also deter businesses from switching to energy-saving technology, as a 2006 study in the Energy Journal suggested. Saving several pennies at the pump, Perl says, may tempt Americans away from actions that can lead to a sustainable, post-carbon future.