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Interview with Roscoe Bartlett on Peak Oil

Maryland Representative Roscoe Bartlett speaks with David Room of Global Public Media about his special order speeches to the United States Congress. Mr. Bartlett discusses the response to his speeches and his plans for educating the public. He also discusses ramifications of oil peak, the responsibilities of leadership, and the need for a change in how we define success.

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Go to original article to hear the interview. Both .mp3 and .ram (stream) versions available.

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This is David Room for Global Public Media speaking with Representative Roscoe Bartlett on April 27, 2005. Tonight you’re going to deliver your third special order speech, how did this come about?

 

Roscoe Bartlett: I have been concerned for a number of years that there will be an end to high-quality readily-available oil; that the United States in particular and the world in general ought to be posturing themselves for a transition. This, of course, has been largely totally ignored. It’s not like we shouldn’t have seen it coming because, as you know, M. King Hubbert predicted in ‘56 that we would peak in about 1970 in the United States. We did, right on target. So by 1980 we were ten years down that slope, producing less oil than we had produced in 1970. By 1985 we absolutely knew that M. King Hubbert was right about the United States. He predicted that the world would peak in about 2000—that slipped a little because of the Arab oil embargo, oil price spike hikes and a worldwide recession (which he, of course, couldn’t have foreseen). So it’s very probable that the world is peaking in oil about now. If the first time that you recognize that we have peak oil is when it’s peaking, then it’s too late for many things that you should’ve been doing long before you’ve reached peak oil. The world in general, and the U.S in particular, has pretty much blown 25 years of time that we had, but no longer have, for preparation for the necessary transition.
 
DR: To what extent do you think oil peak should be a driving force in U.S. policy?
 
RB: I think it needs to drive, essentially, all of our policy. When you recognize the reality, and that is that the demand for oil is going to keep going up even more than it has in the last few years. It’s really quite tragic that the peak oil occurs at about the time that the third world and sleeping giants like China and India are now awakening and using more oil. Last year, China used perhaps as much as 25% more oil. Of course, they won’t continue that forever. Their economy grew 10% and who knows how long they will continue that. It’s reasonable to assume that if your economy is growing 10% you’re probably going to need about a 10% boost in energy. A 10% exponential growth doubles in seven years, it’s four times bigger in 14 years; it is eight times bigger in 21 years. Very few people understand exponential growth. Our growth has been small—down around 2%--but that doubles in 35 years and it’s 4 times bigger in 70 years. Even that is meaningful. But 10% growth is just incredible. Last year the world grew 5%.
 
DR: You mentioned M. King Hubbert—many people don’t know that later in his life he said that the science of energy and matter was incompatible with our exponential growth culture and, in particular, on debt-based monetary system. Any comments on that?
 
RB: I just spent about a half an hour today, maybe more than a half hour, talking with Colin Campbell from England. He was mentioning the banking economic implications of peak oil. We have been really growing the cash fund. Very much faster than it should grow, and that’s okay because it will be covered by growth tomorrow. What the banks do, of course, is loan out that money six or seven times. You can’t continue to do that if you don’t have continued growth. In a real way, our financial system is pegged on obligatory growth. If we don’t have obligatory growth, who knows what will happen to this financial system. Last year, China (as you probably know) was the second largest importer of oil in the world. They have surpassed Japan now, and they are gaining on us. They have a billion-three hundred million people. I just heard something that really stunned me—in at least parts of Beijing, they have banned bicycles. That used to be the only way to get around in Beijing, but now they have so many cars that bicycles are in the way. You can use your own judgment as to how rapidly you think oil demand is going to increase in China.
 
DR: It’s astounding. I had heard that they have a new subdivision in China that’s actually named Orange County. Could you explain, for our audience, how these special order speeches work?
 
RB: After the close of business, there are two kinds of opportunities for special order speeches: one is five minutes and you can get up and, as long as you’re not obscene or betraying your country or something, you can talk about anything that you wish to talk about. Following those, there are hours; you can claim sixty minutes. Leadership on each side has the first sixty minute hour, and sometimes we get the leadership hour, sometimes we don’t. Following that anybody can claim sixty minutes of special order. This is very important particularly to the minority. I’m fortunate, now I’m not in the minority. It’s very important for the minority because they don’t have any other way of getting their message out. This was really used by Republicans in all those many years that the Democrats were in control. Now it’s very important to Democrats because it gives them an opportunity to their message out…they don’t have the Presidency now and they don’t have the Committee Chairs. This gives them an opportunity to get your message out. So this is a unique way of communicating with the public. On average, probably about a million and a half people listen to this at any one time. That audience varies, depending on the time of day and so forth. When we do this several times we’re talking to, not the same audience, but to somewhat different audiences. In a former life, I was a teacher and I understand that repetition is the soul of learning. I don’t mind repeating it. I try to do it in a somewhat different way so that it will be new and still stimulating to the people that are hearing it. Even if the basic message is the same message, you use different charts and different facts and a different approach.
 
DR: Right. What is the importance of putting peak oil on the Congressional record?
 
RB: We’re just trying to get the message out that we probably have reached peak oil and if we don’t respond to that very quickly, the transition to alternative energy sources is going to be a very bumpy road, it’s going to be very painful. Who knows what kind of geo-political dislocations as a result of [peak oil]. When the world recognizes that the oil supply is going to be slowly diminishing year by year, and then in a few years it will start falling down the other side of Hubbert’s peak and the decline in production will be greater. But, all the while, we have this exponential growth. If it’s only 2%, when you plot that curve, you see how rapidly that gets going up. When we have this increased demand and no supply to meet it, what will the world do? What threat is this to the monetary system? What threat is this to international stability? How aggressive are countries going to try to be to make sure that they have adequate supplies of oil? For instance, China is now scouring the world for oil. They have contracts in Canada, in Venezuela, in Columbia, in Brazil, in Argentina, of course in the Middle East, and in Russia. They’re now negotiating a major contract with Russia. In the far east in Russia, they have a lot of oil and nobody over there to use it. It’s very hard to get it out in ships because it is so cold. One of the ways to get that oil out, like we get it out of Prudhoe Bay, and that is through a pipeline. They are now contemplating a pipeline that would come to China, perhaps down to the Korean peninsula. China recognizes the dependency, the growing dependency, that they are going to have on oil. They are now not just securing contracts for oil they are securing assets to help them assure that that oil supply is going to be available to them. And because they recognize that we, with the only blue-water navy in the world, have the ability, if we wish, to cut off their oil supply, they are now aggressively building (with our money, by the way, because our trade deficit last year with China was $162 billion), they are aggressively building a blue-water navy so that they can be more assured that oil is going to be there for their growth.
 
DR: When you say ‘blue-water navy’ what exactly do you mean?
 
RB: Blue-water navy is a navy that is capable of moving around the globe to fight an adversary anywhere. Many countries have navies and most of their navies are designed to protect them and they have no projection capabilities, they couldn’t come over here and threaten us. We are today, now with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the only country in the world with a blue-water navy. We are the only country now that has nuclear submarines patrolling the oceans. The Russians still have some of the Soviet capability, but they don’t have the money. They’re getting more money because they pegged their economy a couple of years ago on $18 oil, then it was $25 and now it’s $50. So Russia is awash in cash. Of course, they have very bright people, very good engineers. An interesting statistic, by the way, we turn out about 70,000 engineers a year; China turns out about 200,000 engineers a year; and India turns out 150,000 engineers a year. So, in broad terms, India turns out twice as many as we do and China three times as many as we do. Of course, their ability to use these engineers to develop products to sell or products that will protect them for their military is dependent on energy.
 
Since oil is the source of so much of what we do, it is just incredible. It is not just driving your car. Almost literally the food you eat is oil—it made the tractor, it made the tires, it fueled the tractor. Gas, which always occurs with oil (it’s kind of the volatiles from oil when it was produced trapped under a dome of rock), and natural gas is now the only major source of nitrogen fertilizer, which was largely responsible for the ‘green revolution’ that permitted the world’s population to grow from less than a million people to now 6.5 billion people. So we face a real challenge—how will we feed the world with the exhaustion of oil and gas? Gas will be exhausted about when oil is exhausted.
 
We have an enormous petrochemical industry, for which oil and gas especially, are very important feed stocks. We need to conserve some of that for that petrochemical industry. As a matter of fact, some people believe that gas particularly, and oil somewhat, is too good to burn. We live in a plastic world; the herbicides for our crops; the fertilizer for our crops; the herbicides made from oil, the nitrogen fertilizer made from natural gas. Every calorie of food you eat if you’re in this country, it’s not quite that way in other parts of the world, but every calorie that you eat represents about 10 calories of input from fossil fuel, from oil mainly. That will need to change, by the way, and it doesn’t have to be that much. My father grew up in a world in which there wasn’t one BTU of oil that went into producing the food that we ate. Every bit of it came from grass that grew on the pastures and fed the horses who plowed the fields. We used very little fertilizer, very little. We rotated crops so that the crops put fertilizer into the ground, the nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the nodules on legumes, alfalfa and clover and so forth put nitrogen in the soil. Then you planted corn after that, just for one year because that would pretty much exhaust the nitrogen and you had to replenish the soil. So you were back into grass and legumes to replenish the nitrogen in the soil. There’s going to have to be a revolution in agriculture as we face a world in which there will no longer be unlimited supplies of oil and natural gas.
 
DR: So you’ve been making the public and your colleagues and Congress aware in these special order speeches. What has been the response?
 
RB: Very interesting is that most people have never thought of it and shame on our leadership that have not told the American people. The American people are very responsible, they are up to challenges. I don’t know why our leadership has never done that. Well, I guess I do know why. Leadership in industry has great difficulty seeing beyond the next quarterly report—that’s got to look good or their stocks fall and they get funds and the Board of Directors are very unhappy with them. Politicians have great trouble looking beyond the next election. The longest cycle we have in our country is six years, so I guess the people that had an opportunity to sound the alarm were Senators because they run for about the last two years and so they can coast for the first four years. In the House, we run every two years. The President runs every four years. Telling the American people that we’ve got to have some belt-tightening in the future, life is not going to go on quite like it’s gone on now because oil is not forever. This is not a happy thing to tell people. I understand why politicians don’t like telling people this. But leadership has a responsibility. When I ran for office I promised my constituents, it’s now been 14 years ago when I started running, that I would try to conduct myself so they wouldn’t come and spit on my grave because of what I had done to their country. I think that leadership has a responsibility to be honest with people, and we try to do that.
 
I’ve had very interesting responses from people. People who had never heard of this, they tell me, one of the members told me, “Gee, I had CSPAN on I couldn’t tell you anything anybody said about any of the special orders but when you came on I really tuned in and I remember everything you said.” One of the leaders of the conservatives here told me that he tuned in to one on at 11:30 at night, don’t know what he’s doing up that late, tuned in at 11:30 at night and was spellbound by what I said. And he’s one of the conservative leaders. A three-star General the other day out here in the hallway here had never heard of peak oil. One of the things that we’re trying to do is just get the word out—that there is such a thing as peak oil; we probably are there now; if not now then shortly.
 
The President the today said that the demand for oil was exceeding the ability to supply oil. That is kind of a layman’s definition of peak oil, that’s where we are. The President gave a pretty good speech today on oil. It would be hard to reconcile his speech with our energy bill we just passed because it didn’t come close to addressing the problems that we face. The original bill had 72% of the R&D money for renewables; the bill that we voted on had 6%. I, of course, voted against the bill. It didn’t come close to what the President wanted and it was a million miles of what we need to address this problem.
 
If we’re going to get through this crisis period without an awful lot of pain, we’re going to have to have the equivalent of a Manhattan-like Project. We’re going to have to challenge, not just the American people, but the people of the world because the first thing we have to do is to have an enormously conservation effort so that we buy time. As the President said today, there’s not enough oil out there to meet the demands we have. Honestly, we have got to reduce our demands so that there’s a bit more oil than we need to meet our demands. Not only do we need to meet the demands of our economies, we need to have a surplus of energy to invest in the renewables, an investment we have got to make. If we just let the clock run down we are going to face a very uncertain future with very traumatic dislocations. We should’ve started 25 years ago when we absolutely knew that Hubbert was right. He was right about the United States, why wouldn’t he be right about the world. So we have, in a very real sense, blown 25 years. Now, we kind of have to play catch up. It’s going to be a lot more difficult now than it would have been 25 years ago but it’s going to be easier now than it will be next year. Putting it off is going to make it just more and more painful and more expensive.
 
DR: Let me ask you this – what has been the response from your colleagues in Congress?
 
RB: Those who listened are intrigued by it. They’d like to know more about it. It’s not something that they even thought about before. Most people have assumed, I have no idea why you would assume that, that oil is forever. It obviously is finite—it was put there by little critters that grew a very long time ago and the waters inundated and carried sediments over them and with the movement of the tectonic plates and so forth why these areas sank and under pressure and time and temperature, sometimes, this material was converted into oil and gas. That’s not happening today. The closest we have to that are the peat bogs of England, which if we left them there for a long while they were harvesting and then burning them…that’s how we got coal. But these processes occurred over a very long time and we are obviously exploiting them enormously faster than they occurred and these fossil fuels are not being replaced at anything like the rate we’re using them.
 
By the way, not everybody believes that oil is a fossil fuel. There are some people, and I know some people who would relegate them to the Flat Earth Society, but there are some people that believe that oil is a-biogenic in origin. This is theoretically conceivable, I understand. That it is produced down deep in the bowels of the earth where there are the appropriate elements there, the appropriate temperature from the molten core of our earth and reactions take place there that produce oil. This is very popular in Russia and Ukraine and there are people in this country who believe in that. They say that since that’s the way that oil was produced, it exists in places that we never thought to look and when we look in those places we’ll find more oil. I hope that’s correct, but any oil that we find today is not going to do us any good for at least five years, probably ten years.
 
We’re at peak oil, and if there are any discoveries it’s simply going to stretch out this peak. We’ll have a little bit longer with a pretty austere kind of existence to prepare for an eventual downturn. By the way, any technology which increases our abilities to extract oil from these reserves simply means that the peak will occur sooner (if it hadn’t occurred, I think it is here now). What it means is that the down slope is going to be even faster. So we had better hope we don’t find any new technology so that the oil will last a little longer because the more confident we get in extracting oil the sooner it will be gone.
 
DR: What, in general, can people in the United States do to get their Congressperson to pay more attention to this issue?
 
RB: Just call their Congressman and ask them if they know about peak oil. If they don’t, please log on to some site that talks about peak oil. They can log on to our website. The talks that we have given are there and I think there are links to some other things. There is a peak oil website. There are lots of information out there. Until very recently, until oil hit $50 a barrel, all the people who were concerned about this (all, there weren’t all that many in the world) but the people that were concerned about this were almost relegated to the lunatic fringe because we just keep pumping oil. We use 21 million barrels a day. The rest of the world uses 63 million barrels a day. We’re pumping 84 million barrels of oil a day and that rate is probably not going to go on.
 
People with other interests note that we probably have peaked out. I was at an early breakfast here a few weeks ago with Peter Brooks from the Heritage Foundation. He was talking about economics, wasn’t even talking about oil or energy. He mentioned that all of the countries pumping oil, with the possible exception of Saudi Arabia, had peaked out in their oil production. I was talking today with the Chairman of our Transportation Committee, Tom Huan. Tom noted that Saudi Arabia today did not promise the president they would produce more oil. Don said that what they really told the president was ‘Gee, Mr. President, we’re sorry. We can’t pump more oil.’ He believes that they have peaked out in oil. Now people note that we have probably peaked out in oil but very few people make the connection between that and the consequences of peaking out—where we have a somewhat constant but slowly diminishing supply of oil with a big increase in demand for oil. What will that do? It’s driven oil prices up to over $50 a barrel. But what will it do in terms of geopolitical stabilities? What will China do to assure that they have oil? What will we do when we recognize? One person in 22 in the world and we use a fourth of the world’s oil. We’re not now loved around the world, but when the world finally wakes up to the fact that for all these years we have been peaking oil like there was no end to it. This one person in 22 has used 25% of all the world’s oil; denying other countries the opportunity to do what we’ve done and industrialize to improve the quality of life for their people. Who knows the geopolitical consequences of that recognition?
 
That’s one of the reasons that we need to be a leader in this. We need to lead the way. We need to have very vigorous conservation measures. We need to have café standards that produce smaller cars that get better mileage, not bigger SUVs that get worse and worse mileage every year. We need to be focusing on mass transportation. If you’re going to drive in your car, you better have somebody else with you. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t mind a little fine for people that didn’t have another person with them, kind of a patriotic contribution to the energy effort in your country. But everybody ought to be looking for somebody to ride in their car with them. If we had two people in every car, we’d use about half the oil we now use, which is 70% of all the oil imported for use for transportation, a whole bunch of that for personal transportation.
 
DR: Tell me what your future plans are, I understand you’re focusing on education at this point. Where do you go from here?
 
RB: We’re going to primarily focus on education. I’m on the Energy Subcommittee on the Science Committee, and we have the responsibility for R&D. We’re the ones, of course, who ought to be leading the way in legislation that looks at what we need to be contributing to this transformation effort in going to renewables. By the way, there are some non-renewable sources out there that we have to exploit. We have got to exploit the tar sands, if it is economically-feasible, and the oil shales and the coal. Our fabled 500 years of coal is not that. At best, it’s 200 years at current use rate. If we start using at higher rates, which we must, that rapidly diminishes to about 50 years. So there’s very little or more coal than there is oil out there, in reality. It’s going to be used at considerable economic penalty, or environmental penalty or a combination of those two…and nuclear.
 
We now get 20% of our electricity from nuclear, France gets 80%. But if we’re going to go on nuclear in any big way, we’re going to have to go on breather reactors because the world also has a limited supply of fissionable uranium. I hope we can get to fusion. If we get to fusion then we’re home free and the world will live happily ever-after with plenty of energy. But, I think, the odds of getting there are pretty small about the same odds as you and me hoping to solve our economic problems by winning the lottery. That would be nice but it’s most unlikely to happen. We need to be addressing all of these things. We need to involve the American people. People need to take drive in conserving.
 
By the way, we need a new yardstick to judge success by. Right now, success is judged by how much energy is used. Think about it, the person who is successful has a really big car; they take really expensive vacations; they have a really big house. Now we have got to have another yardstick by which we measure success because success can’t continue to be measured by how much energy we use, do you think?
 
DR: I think you’re absolutely right. It’s sounds like what Hubbert was talking about when he said the ‘exponential growth culture’.
 
RB: We just think it’s forever. We think that God gave us the right to this quality of life, to use all of this. I have friends who really believe that the marketplace is really going to take care of this, they really believe this.
 
DR: I do, too. And a lot of them have gone to business schools, very interesting.
 
RB: If there were another energy source that was inexhaustible, or at least large, to replace oil with…but there isn’t any. We went from wood to coal and coal to oil and every time we went to a higher-quality higher-density fuel. What is there now? The only conceivable thing is nuclear, with lots of problems that come with it. We may decide that we have got to deal with some of those problems because we really need the energy.  Once you’ve got electricity, you can do a lot of things with electricity. You can make hydrogen with it; you can split water to make hydrogen. You can put that in your car. You can’t put the nuclear reactor in your car but you can certainly put water in there that you can produce with nuclear. And the nuclear is non-polluting if you are able to handle the by-products of it. Certainly the hydrogen you make to run your car is non-polluting, and so I think we need to look at nuclear. I have friends, by the way, who have been very opposed to nuclear, and with this uncertain energy future they are now taking a new look at these nuclear reactors. And I think we need to do that. As I mentioned, France gets 80% of their electricity from nuclear; we get 20%. By the way, we are commissioning no new plants and by and by we will hit zero. When you drive tonight, every fifth house and every fifth business will be dark if we don’t have nuclear electric generation.
 
DR: Let me ask you this, because I know we’re getting towards the end of the interview, what recommendations do you have for municipal leaders with respect to peak oil and perhaps developing a contingency plan?
 
RB: I think the information that one writer gives to individuals is also good for communities. Get off the grid. Make yourselves as energy independent as possible. They can do with wind machines and solar and so forth, with distributed power production, lots of opportunities to do that. Then he says, get out of debt. If we come to some financial crisis, our municipalities as well as people will fare a whole lot better if they aren’t carrying a big debt. Make the investments…conservation, efficiency…We’re really good at efficiency. Your refrigerator today uses about half it did 20 to 30 years ago. We can make cars…I drive a little Toyota Prius. I get an honest 45 miles per gallon, with good performance. My wife enjoys being at a traffic light with a big muscle car because she can almost always she jump out ahead of the muscle car (that’s because of the very large torque that an electric motor has compared to a gasoline engine). It gets very good performance and really good mileage with one-tenth the pollution of many of the other cars in their class.
 
DR: Now that you mention transportation…it seems as though transportation will get quite a bit more expensive, particularly for air and road. What I’m wondering is—what do you think about rebuilding local economy so that we make much more of the things that we need locally?
 
RB: The average food on your plate travels 15,000 miles. Everything that you touch, if you’ve got it, a truck brought it. Everything is going to go up when the price of oil goes up because it’s going to cost the trucking company more to bring it there. Some of those who really have been looking at the future see a future in which we’re going to be more self-sufficient, we’ll have more self-sufficient communities. You won’t be buying your food from halfway around the world, you’ll be storing more of it.
 
Much of the world needs to do what the Russians have been doing. They just don’t trust the system, so everybody rich or poor has a dacha. If you’re a poor man it’s a little larger than an outhouse but at least contains your garden tools. Every year they make a garden. Since they don’t trust the system they have the food there for them. They store it. They put it in root cellars. They pickle it. They can it. They don’t freeze it. You may not have electricity, that’s not a good way to store food for the long haul. We need to start going that in this country. The old Victory Gardens, remember the old Victory Gardens? You’re too young to remember that. In World War II, everyone had a Victory Garden. It was very patriotic and everybody enjoyed going that. It was a kind of competition—who could have the most productive, most attractive victory garden.
 
DR: We need to change the culture, it sounds like.
 
RB: We need to change the culture, that is absolutely right. We have had a culture which says ‘the more energy you use, the more successful you are’. We need to have a culture that says ‘the less energy you can use to be comfortable, the better off you are and the better you should feel about yourself’.
 
We need to have a culture which has entirely new goals. As I said before, we have to have a culture where success is not measured by how much energy you consume. Success ought to measured by how little energy you can consume and still be very comfortable. I’m thinking of Thorstein Veblen and his theory of the leisure class. He talks about conspicuous consumption—the rich people who wear fur coats that really do not insulate as well as the wool coat you might wear. We have a lot of conspicuous consumption in this country. We need to have a culture where you take pride in being happy and living well. By the way, the people in California use only about 60% of the energy as the average person in our country. I’ll tell you, most Californians would deny that they live a less fulfilling life than the other people in this country. Europe uses half the energy per person that we do. When you travel in Europe, they seem at least as happy as we are, and they are using half the energy that we do. We can do this. We just need a leadership that helps us understand how critical it is to do it.
 
DR: One thing I’ve noted is that Europe is able to use much less, it has to do with the built infrastructure, how their cities are laid out and their mass transit. Do you think we will have to change how our cities are organized?
 
RB: It’s going to be very difficult because we’ve moved to suburbia and we’ve kind of abandoned the cities. We have very interesting statistics in this country where we’re somewhere between a third world culture and the premier technology culture in the world. That’s because in our inner cities we’ve kind of abandoned them. They have a third world culture there and we moved out to suburbia. Suburbia is an enormous consumer of oil. We do not have mass transportation…where we have them they are enormously expensive. Maryland uses 40% of its transportation money for mass transit, 5% of the people ride mass transit. In the future, people are going to have to do what they did when I was a kid. When I was a kid, most people didn’t drive to work. They walked to work because they moved to where they could see the building that they worked in. I walked to school the first two years of my life, there was no bus. I walked to school. There were all sorts of one room schools within about a mile of everybody in the country, and you walked to school. By the way, the best two years I ever spent in school were those two years in a one room school with eight grades and one teacher. In fact, I learned so much that when I went to a consolidated school I was one grading period in the third grade and they put me in the fourth grade.
 
DR: It’s going to be very difficult for people to be able to walk to work when you consider that a lot of the suburbs are set up such that the zoning laws separate residential from business.
 
RB: We are going to have to rethink a lot of things. The tragedy is that we didn’t use the 25 years when we knew this was coming to do something about it. Now we have got to do it in kind of a panic. We have really got to be aggressive, the longer we wait the more painful the transition will be.
 
DR: I have one last question, I really appreciate the time you have been giving this. How did you find out about peak oil and when was this?
 
RB: Probably 30 years ago I was concerned about this. In another life, I was teaching school and all the textbooks came over my desk. I was teaching the biological area, I taught human anatomy and physiology and I taught a basic biology course, too. All the books would come over my desk to see if I would use them for my class so they could sell some books. They sent me at least one of every new textbook. I always turned to the environmental chapter and the energy chapter and read.
It’s not that people didn’t know this was coming. We certainly did know, we’ve known for a very long time. I’m very privileged to have a staff member who has been concerned about this. We’ve been friends for 25-30 years probably. He is great — Dr. John Garnell, he is very knowledgeable in this. There’s no other combination in the Congress where they had a Congressman who was himself interested in this and had a staff member that is knowledgeable in it and has a background in it. We’re kind of in a unique position, and we’re trying to exploit that position to be useful to our country and to try and get this word out. And I was a teacher in a former life but this is kind of the role we’re playing now. It’s kind of like teaching and it’s kind of fun. You have an audience out there and I can’t see them (a million and a half people), but I’m used to teaching and it’s a matter of educating. I believe that repetition is the soul of learning, so I don’t mind saying the same thing in different ways over and over again. I’ve had students who have had difficulty in some concepts, but boys who go over it often enough, by-and-by, they get a bright look on their face and they finally got it. We’re trying to do that with our people.
 
DR: Wow, that’s very commendable. We thank you very much for your time.
 
RB: Thank you so much. Thank you for your help in getting the word out.

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Editorial Notes: For earlier references to Rep. Bartlett see: www.energybulletin.net/?keywords=roscoe+bartlett&action=search See also "Congressman Roscoe Bartlett Votes NO on Energy Bill": www.bartlett.house.gov/latestnews.asp?ARTICLE2900=6141 -AF and BA

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Energy Crunch: The end of business as usual for fossil fuels?

It’s the end of business as usual for fossil fuels. That’s …

Peak oil notes - April 17

A mid-week update. Oil prices in London have risen this week on concerns …

Climate Panel Stunner: Avoiding Climate Catastrophe Is Super Cheap — But Only If We Act Now

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just issued …

Kashagan – Back to the drawing board?

The recent shutdown of Kashagan oil field in Kazakhstan represents one …

King Coal Is Dying a Slow Death in America

In cities choked by pollution and a world coming to grips with the realities …

Peak Oil Review - Apr 14

A weekly review including: Oil and the Global Economy, The Middle East & …

Did crude oil production actually peak in 2005?

Haven't we been hearing from the oil industry and from government and …