This is my book review of Kurt Cobb's Prelude, published on Huffington Post on Friday 11, 2011 - please visit and leave a comment.
Many green groups and other science-based analysts criticized President Obama's recent State of the Union speech for failing to mention the imminent catastrophe of climate change. Instead, the President focused on a "clean energy and jobs" message. Yet perhaps he did the best he could, given our current political reality and the extreme irrationality that infects our Tea Party nation.
Following the hideous violence in Arizona, it was a stroke of genius to call on Republicans and Democrats to sit together, pairing red and blue like a pair of those old-fashioned 3D glasses -- Obama's attempt to show us that America is much more than a two-dimensional conflict between political parties. But the State of the Union address, while considerably more three-dimensional than many I have heard, still fell far short of the reality we find ourselves in. That reality includes more than just the threat of climate change. It also encompasses the phenomenon known as "peak oil."
I don't know what it is about energy and our use of it that inspires so many euphemisms, but "peak oil" is a term rarely used in the mainstream, corporate media. You may hear about "energy security" or "commodity price super-cycles" but never peak oil. And yet most of us know that the world has either passed or is now approaching the maximum volume of oil we can pump from the ground -- aka peak oil. It's the secret everyone knows but that few will mention. And it is the reason that Obama's call for investment in clean energy jobs resonates even with hardcore climate deniers. Polls consistently show high levels of support for government investment in clean energy, even from Republicans. That's because, in our guts, we all know that fossil fuels can't last forever.