Oil's Curse

Increasing reliance on Middle East oil should be 'clarion call for national energy policy that stresses development of alternative energy sources...'

Published: 13-Dec-2004

Exxon Mobile President Rex Tillerson told a meeting of the Independent Petroleum Association of America last week that global demand for energy would rise 66 percent between now and 2030. Exxon also forecasts that demand for oil-based transportation fuels will double in the same period. As a result, the United States will become even more dependent on oil from the Middle East.

If that scenario is not a clarion call for a national energy policy that stresses development of alternative energy sources, nothing is. Tillerson predicts that renewable solar and wind power will account for just 1 percent of energy consumption in 2030. If true, that is all the more reason to increase research into hydrogen, nuclear and other power sources, some yet to be envisioned.

The trouble with reliance on foreign oil is not only the rapid depletion of reserves, but also the location of those reserves. Only 3 percent of the world's oil is in private hands. Providence has placed much of the rest in the hands of corrupt dictators and cruel despots. As Tillerson noted, Western companies will have to partner with state monopolies to produce enough oil.

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