Tom Friedman: Flush With Energy
(Sure, we all know he's an idiot, someone whose fate as a useful idiot for the GOP has forever been sealed with Atrios's coinage of the term Friedman Units. But every once in a while, Friedman is a useful idiot for the progressive side and this article, written from Copenhagen, Denmark about that country's advances in energy production, is extremely interesting when you contrast how Denmark responded to the Arab oil embargo in 1973 with our response. While we were engaging in fist fights at the pumps to the delight of rag-headed Arab dictators and bloated oil executives, Denmark banned driving on Sundays and slowly began enacting systematic and longterm measures to ensure their energy independence for what appears to be forever. Click on the title to read the rest of the article. The last line of Friedman's op-ed is a pretty sobering one.)
Unlike America, Denmark, which was so badly hammered by the 1973 Arab oil embargo that it banned all Sunday driving for a while, responded to that crisis in such a sustained, focused and systematic way that today it is energy independent. (And it didn’t happen by Danish politicians making their people stupid by telling them the solution was simply more offshore drilling.)
What was the trick? To be sure, Denmark is much smaller than us and was lucky to discover some oil in the North Sea. But despite that, Danes imposed on themselves a set of gasoline taxes, CO2 taxes and building-and-appliance efficiency standards that allowed them to grow their economy — while barely growing their energy consumption — and gave birth to a Danish clean-power industry that is one of the most competitive in the world today. Denmark today gets nearly 20 percent of its electricity from wind. America? About 1 percent.