While they were busy building trains and streetcars, throwing up windmills and solar panels, technology jumped forward and made it all irrelevant.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, these advances mean there is at least six times as much recoverable natural gas today as there was a decade ago.
Natural gas, which emits less carbon dioxide than coal, can be used in both electricity generation and as a fuel for automobiles.
The arguments for converting the U.S. economy to wind, solar and biomass energy have collapsed.
Another casualty of energy abundance is the new urbanism. Because cars and trucks and buses can run on natural gas as well as gasoline and diesel fuel, the proposition that peak oil will soon force people around the world to abandon automobile-centered suburbs and office parks for dense downtowns connected by light rail and inter-city trains can no longer be taken seriously. Deprived of the arguments from depletion, national security and global warming, the campaign to increase urban density and mass transit rests on nothing but a personal taste for expensive downtown living, a taste which the suburban working-class majorities in most developed nations manifestly do not share.
Unfortunately, as is so often the case, many so-called "leaders", especially in places like Portland (which takes great political pride in pushing its view of itself as a world leader in all things "green" and "sustainable") have yet to get the memo, because, quite frankly, they haven't been paying attention.
Thus, we have Portland's slimy little "mayor" holding forth today in Brazil: "While national governments continue their excruciatingly frustrating dialog on climate change, we in the cities are acting," Portland, Oregon Mayor Sam Adams said in an interview. "It's sheer common sense. Becoming more efficient with your city's energy needs means you're also more economically secure."
Portland's Adams said he's in Brazil to tout "green" loans that allows householders to install insulation and heat pumps, paying back the borrowings through their energy bills.
Portland, Oregon Initiatives
The city is working on the home loans with Portland General Electric Co., Northwest Natural Gas Co. and Pacific Power Group Inc., according to Adams's office.
The Oregon city also is working to contain a $41.9 million deficit, caused by a slump in tax revenue from businesses, especially hotels, according to Moody's Investors Service Inc.
This seems difficult to understand, as to hear officials in Portland tell it, the metro area is not only business-friendly but brimming with opportunities. And it was mere weeks ago that the "mayor" was beamingly assuring us that he was finding pots of money all over the place: why, they "found" millions for the Milwaukie light rail line, and another big pot of money to buy 140 acres of southwest Portland land; thus removing it from the property tax rolls in pertpetuity. How odd that, from a safe location in Brazil, he suddenly reveals that there is, in fact, a $42 million hole.
Not to worry, though: today the "mayor" is simply overflowing with common sense (as he seems to refer to things while down there in Brazil). Mayor Sam Adams wants the city of Portland's employee health insurance to cover sex changes and other treatments for transgender employees.
"I think it's fair, and it's common sense," Adams said in an interview with The Oregonian.
He must have "found" another pot of money somewhere. It's sheer common sense.