My how times change. The boost that 9/11 gave the oily men in the White House was as short-lived as any post-Seinfeld sitcom starring Jason Alexander. It seems like only yesterday that Dickless Cheney was defending our latest Blood for Oil campaign by suggesting Americans essentially have a God-given right to our “way of life”–even if, no, ESPECIALLY if that means giving a petroleum-jelly-covered middle finger to Kyoto, worldwide imbalances in energy consumption and all the nasty diseases associated with oil production and consumption. But while Bush and Cheney's Big Oil pals rolled around naked in the resulting Twin Towers-high piles of your former money, the ill will and market ramifications of rising U.S. gas prices are proving that this may be the oilees last big payoff–like the one you make to your bookie before giving up gambling for good.
What kind of Bizarro World do we now find ourself in? Well, remember when the Bush boys were cutting tax breaks to Hummer buyers? Now there's legislation kicking around NorCal to tax SUV owners–and it may be gaining traction among consumers–even SUV owners! Save Our Environment is crowing over the fact that the U.S. House of Representatives–the Republican-controlled (for now) U.S. House of Representatives–last week passed six out of six pro-environment votes. (Two amendments to preserve the 25-year-old moratorium on new offshore drilling; a requirement that the EPA to better protect wetlands and other waters; a requirement preventing the EPA from moving forward with plans to weaken the public's right to know about toxic chemicals; elimination of subsidies for logging roads in Alaska's Tongass National Forest; and a prohibition against the Department of the Interior awarding new leases to oil companies that are drilling off our coasts without paying royalties.) “These victories demonstrate the power of citizens to convince their elected representatives to act in the interest of the environment–now and in the future–instead of catering to the oil and gas industry and other polluting industries,” says Save Our Environment's Katelyn Sabochik in an email.
You know how during the height of conflicts over Middle East oil (pick one), environmentalists have suggested that the government TAX gasoline even more to encourage people to get off the motor fuel crack pipe? That's now the cornerstone of the Geo-Green plan being bandied about by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, most recently last night on the PBS Charlie Rose show. Meant to appeal to neocons, greenies and everyone in between, the strategy would employ various methods–including higher gas taxes–to reduce U.S. consumption so much that it would reduce the global prices of oil, force economic diversification in the Middle East that would lead to democratic reforms among the hardline regimes and force entrepreneurs around the world to fast-track clean alternatives to oil–a “market solution” if you will.
Friedman charactizes this as our generation's Moon mission, only it's much more important. It could simultaneously save the Bush presidency, improve U.S. relations with countries that hate America (a list that grows daily) and boost worldwide financial markets as a whole new green energy sector drives the economic bus. And yes, that bus would be a hybrid.