Wednesday, April 9, 2008

John Hofmeister and Global Warming

I just watched Charlie Rose interview John Hofmeister, the outgoing president of Shell Oil Company. I have to say, I was impressed by his knowledge and passion on the issues of global warming and alternative energy sources, even on domestic oil production. Most times, people tend to brand oil companies as blood thirsty vultures that throw parties whenever oil prices increase, or who think global warming is all a myth.
I would like to note that although these issues are real, things cannot just shutdown as they are or else the entire economy will fall apart (you think we're in a recession now? wait till there's no gasoline to buy within 20 miles of you). John Homeister showed a genuine interest in these issues, and he actually verified that gasoline production in the U.S. will remain steady for about 100 years from now. It's the growing population that might cause the big problems.
He noted that the U.S. really needed to ramp up domestic production of gasoline by increasing the amount of infrastructure required for our energy supply in its various forms. I was shocked to hear that no such investments have been made in the past 30 years...and we are seeing its consequences. He gave an example of New York state (which appearantly has had no growth in infrastructure in the past 30 yrs, but according to and, population growth in this region is close 1 million) and the rest of the country. New Yorkers were paying $50/Btu of Natural gas heat compared to the national average of $7.50 this past december. Imagine that!
He also discussed the wind energy industry calling it "fun" (I wonder what he meant...) and stating that 15% of the entire U.S. energy supply could be supplied by 100,000 wind turbines across the country; but the waiting list for wind turbines are so long, that it could take one up to 3 years to get one.
You have to listen to this interview to get the entire gist of it...The link is attached. I would say that it was interesting and refreshing to see his viewpoint on these issues and I wish him the best of luck with his future endeavors.

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