April 13, 2006

UC/Berkeley Study: Reducing U.S. Oil Dependence

While perusing the Americans for Energy Independence website, I ran across some research that provides evidence that reducing dependence on fossil fuels for transportation may not be as painful as most of us fear.

According to a study developed by Professor Daniel M. Kammen and his colleagues at U.C. Berkeley's Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL), America could end the need to import fossil fuels from the Persian Gulf region by 2020. Towards Energy Independence in 2025 details immediate and long-term measures, basically increased fuel economy standards that, when applied to the nation's transportation sector and fleet of power plants, could reduce oil imports by more than 30 percent within 20 years.

Below are excerpts from the editorial posted at the Americans for Energy Independence website. To get a PDF copy of the actual report, click here.


Achieving Energy Autonomy
April 5, 2006
Daniel M. Kammen
Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy
University of California, Berkeley

What energy independence means to me is the ability to make foreign and domestic policy decisions without being hostage to a resource – in this case oil – addiction, and all of the irrationalities that come with decisions made in the face of an addiction. To date the U. S. has not been able to break that addiction.

Do we need to go off fossil-fuel cold-turkey? No. As dire as the ever-mounting body of evidence about global warming is, we do have time, several decades in fact, if we begin the transition to a low or no-carbon economy effectively and with the resolve to make it a reality.

Hybrid cars are now available and plug-in hybrids running on corn-based or, ideally, cellulosic ethanol could get us to the 100 – 200 mile per gallon range with current or near-term technology. We also have the success stories of wind in Denmark and Germany, ethanol in Brazil, and the policy leadership that California, New York and the New England states have shown to point the way to a clean energy future.

In our report, we examine scenarios to wean the U. S. off of oil by 2025, the super-aggressive path, and by 2050, the less aggressive but still revolutionary future-changing strategy. In both cases we find that the technologies exist today to begin the transition, and that the benefits of embarking on this path are tremendously positive, both locally and globally.


No comments: