Energy Security versus Environmental Stability

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Just over 15 months ago, OPEC was worried that the price of oil would drop below $50 a barrel. Now, it’s $110. With record-high oil prices overseas supplies increasingly uncertain, Vice President Cheney is expected to ask Saudi Arabia next week to help push the price down by producing more from its massive reserves. In the interests of energy security, the United States is looking to tar sands in Canada and development of domestic coal. But both alternatives are devastating to the environment, creating some agonizing questions. Can the US have energy security at the same time it tries to cope with global warming? Can wind, solar and other renewables be developed in time, or will there be a trade-off between economic growth and environmental destruction? We look at some of the contradictions that result as the US gropes toward a coherent energy policy. (An extended version of this discussion aired earlier today on To the Point.)




Warren Olney