Bush Has No Intention of Tackling America's Oil Addiction

Rather than suggesting ways for Americans to 'kick the habit,' President Bush has plans to reduce his nation's dependence on Middle East oil, not oil in general. But given the reality of America's profligate energy use, this editorial from the Trouw newspaper of The Netherlands suggests that, 'the energy addict participates in the global detoxification program: The Kyoto Treaty.'


Translated By Meta Mertens

February 2, 2006

Original Article (Dutch)    

President George W. Bush Delivers the 2006
State of the Union Address, Jan. 31 (above);

— C-SPAN VIDEO: George W. Bush Gives
the 2006 State of the Union Address,
and the Democratic Response
Jan. 31 01:02:00 RealVideo

RealVideo[SLIDE SHOW: State of the Union].

After His Speech, President Bush Shakes Hands With
His Old Adversary, Senator John Kerry. (below)

Bush accuses Americans of being addicted to oil. But he won't do anything to help them kick the habit. In his annual State of the Union speech, Bush announced that American dependence on Middle East oil must be dramatically curtailed.

These imports from the politically unstable region should be cut by 75% over the next 20 years. Bush would make up the loss of Persian Gulf oil with petroleum from other regions in the world and an accelerated development of alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind.

From his speech it is clear that Bush is talking about independence from the Middle East, not America's energy addiction. The Americans are wholesale users. Nevertheless, they have started a love affair with the hybrid car, which can drive on gas as well as electricity. And in their all-terrain SUVs, which they adore, they want a more efficient engine. However, these are small changes; American oil consumption remains much higher than that of, for example, Europe. The Americans complain about the price of gasoline, but for them the cost is only 50 eurocents [per liter, or 1.75 per gallon]. The addiction could be reduced by imposing a considerable excise tax. But Bush won't do it.

But the consumption is not only focused on cars, but also for example on the air-conditioning mania. Americans use more energy to cool off in the summer than they use in the winter for heating. The result is stores and bars where a normal human being can only survive wearing a sweater, while it is 30 Celsius [86 Fahrenheit] outside. It wouldn't be that difficult for the U.S. government to offer perks and incentives to stop this, if it enunciated a policy on it.

Furthermore, it is recommended that the energy addict participate in the global detoxification program: The Kyoto Treaty and the accompanying (scant) trade in emission rights. It appears that large American companies are starting to become aware of the necessity to participate in the emission trade. However, Bush doesn't want to hear about curtailing emissions. If Bush had touched upon any of these points in his speech, he would have delivered a welcome surprise. But no, Bush only wanted the Middle East to know that he would perhaps find his oil elsewhere.

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