Sunday, May 17, 2009
T. Boone Pickens...
Peak Oil folks love this guy: T. Boone Pickens. Perhaps you've seen his commercials on TV for the "Pickens Plan"? Since I'm at work, which means I stay at the hospital in the old Nurses Dorm, I have time to read. I picked up this tome, part autobiography, part energy tract, at the library to peruse in my free time.
First the good parts of the book: I like the style of the writing. It is quite populist. Country Oklahoman in style. I also liked it when he admitted that he got depressed during his divorce in the later 90's. He fully admits that anti-depressant medications helped him. Even billionaires get the blues.
Unfortunately, that is about all I have to say that I liked about the book.
Reading this book was way outside my normal reading material. I have never, ever read a book written by a billionaire. I have never, ever read a book by a man who calls Ronald Reagan our "greatest President". Reading this book made me feel like I was wearing a Parka to a sun drenched, Beach Volleyball game. Out of place.
And repugnant. In the biography section, it is quite apparent that for oil executives, morality and environmentalism just isn't a part of their experience. Not on their radar. It is a good ole boy network. He calls this frat friend and that golf buddy to gather his capital. The only morality he embraces is dedicated to investors. He saw that stockholders were being ripped off by executives who kept their stocks valued too low. For Pickens, his best moral behavior was to lift corporate stock prices.
As for his energy plan for America? Here you can see how the populist, American, entrepreneurial, corporate class (as opposed to the multi-national corporate class) wants to deal with Peak Oil. Change transportation to natural gas (an industry that Pickens has huge investments in). Embrace wind energy (as long as they are on huge, ugly, wind farms). Keep everything centralized and Mega in scale. Develop clean coal. Go Nuclear!
He writes nothing of conservation; very little about solar. He writes nothing about redesigning cities, nor mass public transit. He writes nothing about greening agriculture. He ignores geothermal and tidal power. He ignores small scale community local investments in clean energy.
Just because he thinks that Oil has Peaked in production, doesn't mean that he should be a hero to the Lefty Peak Oil crowd. In fact, I think he has done us a favor by revealing which way the corporatists want to go. Be afraid. Be very afraid.