The Other Energy Speech:  James Woolsey at NYU


Jenna Orkin

Now that Truthout has published Al Gore's speech yesterday at NYU, let's not overlook his opening act, former CIA Director James Woolsey.

Having learned from Reagan that the American people are suckers for one-liners, Woolsey started with several self-deprecating jokes to 'warm up the audience' as it's called in the game-show world.

Then he got down to business. "Wiping the smile off his face," as your mother used to say, he sounded like Will Ferrell impersonating a certain tough-talking, down-home-wannabe President.

The recent attacks in Yemen were conducted by Al Qaeda which also attacked the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia. The sulphur clearing towers, through which 6-7 million barrels pass per day, are vulnerable if they're merely 'within mortar range.' The Saudis were able to fend off the attack on their facility. But with 6-7 million b.p.d. off-line we would be up to $200 p.b. oil.

Saudi Arabia earns 160 billion p.a., a good portion of which goes to Wahhabis who are 'equivalent to' Al Qaeda as the Trotskyites were to the Stalinists - [Commies, terrorists, what's the difference?] - except that they differ on who should be in charge. They are against apostates, homosexuals and Jews. (NYU, where Woolsey was speaking, is in Greenwich Village, a gay Mecca within New York City which is a Jewish Mecca. Woolsey knew his audience: If he'd tossed out a baseball, chances are it would have been fumbled by one of the above.) The Wahhabis use this income for madrassas to spread their dubious philosophy. So in this war against terrorism we pay for both sides.

The solution, according to Woolsey, lies in ethanol.

Debt is the number 1 problem in developing countries whose chief industry is agriculture; if something is to be done about it, then something must be done about the price of oil.

The U.S. will borrow $320 billion this year just to import oil. Replacing a quarter of that with ethanol doubles farm income. Thus ethanol is the answer to the prayers of a number of factions across the political spectrum from environmentalists to businesspeople to a coalition of 85 evangelicals who recently held a press conference on climate change.

Segueing into his history with Al Gore, Woolsey said that several decades ago, he was summoned by a 'young Congressman' to explain Code 50, computerized war games with the Soviets so as to figure out how to design U.S. forces. The young Congressman asked Woolsey, who had worked at the Pentagon, what the underlying assumptions of the Code were. Woolsey knew he was dealing with a different sort of Congressman.

So, he concluded his introduction, in the ethanol solution the United States is seeing "a growing coalition of evangelicals, venture capitalists, do-gooders, tree-huggers, sod-busters and Al Gore."

There was no question period; hence no opportunity to point out that oil at its height offered an 'energy returned on energy invested' (EROEI) of 30:1. The EROEI of ethanol is barely above one. Like all the other apparent panaceas to the energy/imminent economic crisis, this one dissolves upon closer inspection. The Powers That Be are looking for alternative means to old ends; they are not acknowledging that it is the ends themselves which will have to change.

posted by FTW admin @ 4:16 PM   7 comments