Don’t Let A Drop In Fossil Fuel Prices Disguise The Issue

Fuel Prices Drop

Read this:  One of the problems in staying on track to move away from fossil fuels is that they are a commodity and their price can and will fluctuate.  We tend to try to justify any changes we make by some financial means.  For some issues and policies this makes a lot of sense and may be the only way to move forward.  When it comes to climate change, the role of fossil fuel and their periodic fluctuations, their price can no longer be the driving justification.  If science is correct and somewhere near 97% of scientists think it is, then we must aggressively move away from fossil fuels as fast and aggressively as possible.  We may already be too late.

The article below by The Union of Concerned Scientists, says: “Fossil fuel prices will always fluctuate depending on supply and demand, and … low prices tend to lull consumers and policy makers into complacency. When gasoline costs as little as $2 a gallon, savings from driving a more efficient vehicle are reduced and it is harder for cleaner fuels to compete with fossil fuels.  (On the bright side, low gas prices have forced producers to abandon some of their most damaging fossil fuel projects, such as drilling in the Arctic Ocean and making further investments in tar sands.)”  The article goes on to emphasize that change must “establish strong standards that ensure progress on low-carbon fuels, zero-emissions vehicles, fuel economy and renewable electricity”.  State and federal clean fuels programs must “require producers to make transportation fuels cleaner every year” as is being done in California and Oregon. This must continue in spite of temporary reductions in the costs of fossil fuels. This will be difficult as those on the right try to justify only by fiscal means.  Our leaders must continually push the message that we are doing the right thing even when it may be less comfortable otherwise the only message we will hear will be the propaganda that flows from Big Fossil Fuel and Wall Street.  This is a real challenge of democracy and its’ ability to do the right thing when it is most difficult.

The article and Senior Scientist in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Clean Vehicles Program, Jeremy Martin focus on the impact of bio fuels and fuel policy, which are definitely important parts of the overall effort.  However, I must admit, I feel the article didn’t adequately emphasize the urgency in which change needs to occur. Like so many discussions of any kind of change, it seemed to assume a very gradual process.  That’s not acceptable as we annually shatter “hottest year ever” records world wide.


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