I realized in chronicling the various challenges facing President Obama or any leader attempting to overcome our oil addiction that my list was incomplete and I may have been trying to soft-pedal the challenge. I have added two more, crucial facets of the problem which would need to be addressed by a serious leader on energy issues.
In my original list of hurdles I listed the following barriers to a reasonable effort to reduce oil demand in the US:
1) Market Idealization vs. Planning
2) Deficit Worries and Hysteria
3) Balancing the Interests of Stakeholders/Mixture of Public and Private Enterprise
4) Many Americans’ Love of Expansive Resource Use
5) The Biofuels Distraction
6) Corporate Funding of and Influence in Politics
I am now adding two additional hurdles which are significant as well:
7) Fear of and Unwillingness to Accept Inconveniences
8) Tax Aversion
In my original post, I mentioned that infrastructure would need to be built using or facilitated by deficit spending in the short-term but in the long-term, Americans as well as those in other countries need to accept that tax revenue will need to be raised through a variety of taxes including a carbon tax, an oil tax or other taxes. I believe a carbon and or oil tax should be phased in now, though in some scenarios, the revenue from the carbon tax would be dividended to the public. Total tax levels are low now which represents a political challenge to leaders as well as an economic challenge to find tax levels and judicious use of tax revenues that meets national goals for economic development and development of new industries.
Also, though I am of the belief that inconveniences associated with radically reducing oil demand will be not that significant in the long-run, transitions from one energy and transport system to another will involve SOME changes which will be experienced as inconveniences. I believe leaders need to pro-actively address the prospect of some form of inconvenience.
Overcoming these hurdles is part of the "job description" of any competent or even visionary leader who decides to move our society towards oil independence.
Your comments and thoughts are appreciated!
Terraverde - Energizing Green Markets
Belmont, CA 94002