Save, Baby, Save

A barrel saved is a barrel not needed — ever!

The Death Gusher in the Gulf should tell us to end offshore drilling forever.

The reason is simple: Systemic risk!

regulations won't end what went wrong: Corporate greed, cutting corners
to save money, lack of coordination among subcontractors, unforeseen
factors, and just plain incompetence in private industry. Add that to
isolated deep drilling sites in deep ocean where no human being can go,
bad weather, and oil exploding out at 10,000 pounds per square inch,
and you will virtually guarantee more Death Gushers.

Do we really need that oil? Could we make do with none of it?

money, "A penny saved is a penny earned," as Ben Franklin noted. But
saving oil -- not needing or using it -- is a much better deal: it is

alternative exists, though it is badly named: "energy efficiency" and
"conservation" miss the general point. A high percentage of oil and
fossil fuels are wasted. Huge efficiency gains per barrel are
immediately possible with the right investments. What is missed is the
most basic of truths. Oil savings keep accumulating.

insulating a building. It will save a certain number of barrels of oil
this year. And the same number next year. And the year after that, and
after that, year-after-year! The barrels of oil saved multiply! Without
the insulation, those barrels of oil would have to be drilled
year-after-year, drill and drill and drill versus save and save and
save. Every year, as energy is saved, fewer barrels are needed.

offshore drilling is very expensive, even without death gushers. And it
takes time - year after year. What if that cost and that time were
invested cumulatively in NOT using oil? Suppose we ended offshore
drilling and re-invested the equivalent amount of money and time in
forms of "energy efficiency." Would that offset the number of barrels

The Mismeasure of Energy Efficiency

Department of Energy has misframed the energy efficiency issue. The
calculation made is in money, not in barrels of oil saved. How many barrels of oil
will the 2010 energy efficiency programs save not only in 2010, but in
2011, 2012, and so on ... for, say, the next 30 years. And if we putting
the drilling investments into all the job-creating ways of saving
energy, how many barrels will be saved on 2011's energy efficiency
programs over the following 30 years. And so on. Will those
multiplied, accumulated savings tell us that we don't need to do
offshore drilling after all? Or that we can cut it down significantly?

And how many jobs will be created? Real, good-paying, non-exportable jobs!

We need to know. As soon as possible.

It may be the case that ending offshore drilling is good, not bad, for the economy - and the future of the world.
Chu, please add up our energy efficiency savings in terms of barrels of
oil saved, with cumulative estimates over the next 30 or so years.

make this suggestion with the greatest respect for programs already in
motion from energy efficiency and conservation funding.

  • Development of an energy efficiency and conservation strategy
  • Building energy audits and retrofits, including weatherization
  • Financial incentive programs for energy efficiency such as energy savings
  • Performance contracting, on-bill financing, and revolving loan funds
  • Transportation programs to conserve energy
  • Building code development, implementation, and inspections
  • Installation of distributed energy technologies including combined heat and power and district heating and cooling systems
  • Material conservation programs including source reduction, recycling, and recycled content procurement programs
  • Reduction and capture of greenhouse gas emissions generated by landfills or similar waste-related sources
  • Installation of energy efficient traffic signals and street lighting
  • Installation of renewable energy technologies on government buildings
  • Any other appropriate activity that meets the purposes of the program and is approved by DOE

to that all the many ways that oil is used in agriculture and could be
saved -- fertilizers and pesticides could be eliminated by organic
farming methods, as well as transportation fuel that could be
eliminated by the localization of food production. Instead of investing
in offshore oil, we should be investing in NOT NEEDING OIL. Think
about greening our long-term infrastructure -- our buildings, our cars,
our public transportation, our industry, our military bases, our homes.

saves a certain number of barrels of oil right away, barrels that need
not be drilled the first year. And it keeps saving that many barrels of
oil every year. That means that the yearly oil-barrel savings
accumulate; and less and less oil has to be drilled.

good meaningful jobs increase here, green jobs that cannot be
outsourced. The economy does not lose, it benefits. And so do we all --
no risk of future offshore oil-drilling disasters, a serious move to
lessen climate change and abate future climate disasters (e.g.,
hurricanes), a cleaner environment.

of course, means a decrease in oil company profits. Unless the oil
companies seriously invest in the development of alternative fuels and
oil-saving industries.

The Gulf Oil-drilling Disaster should teach us many things, among them:

  • Corporations are too greedy, too powerful, and all too often incompetent.
  • We cannot depend on oil companies to protect us and our environment.
  • There is no way around it; oil is dirty, morally as well physically.

are told that oil from offshore drilling is necessary, as we transition
to new forms of energy. But that estimate does not include the
cumulative year-after-year savings of NOT NEEDING OIL. Imagine this:
Instead of investments in the cost of drilling in the deep ocean and
subsidizing oil companies, instead of paying for oil year after year,
invest in jobs that would eliminate oil needs, as suggested by the
energy department programs listed above.

Money is fungible: A penny saved is a penny earned.

Oil is cumulatively fungible: A barrel saved is a barrel not needed, year after year after year.

The lesson of the Death Gusher is clear: SAVE, BABY, SAVE!

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