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Ulmer: Supporting coal, oil industries

Ulmer: Supporting coal, oil industries

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I’m not sure if either of my loyal readers heard that General Motors recently announced that they would cease making vehicles that run on gasoline/diesel/oil by 2035, but they did.

Both my loyal readers know that I have postured a few theories on these pages. Some have been proven, some were preposterous, some possible, and some should have never been put on paper. This note could be any of the above.

My calculations indicate that it’s fairly unlikely that I’ll be around in 2035 but the announcement did affirm one of my previous "I told you so" moments that Mom always said not to mention. Quite a while ago on these pages I wondered how long our oil and coal resources would last under a rapidly changing environment caused by the fact that we humans may have filled the nest with poop. So here’s some stuff that I think those of you likely to live further into the future than me should take into account.

Global warming/climate change -- you can deny it or believe it but you have to admit that the poop in our nest is still piling up and some future generation is gonna have to clean it up before they choke on it. For those of us who live in the midst of coal and oil country this is an extremely tough issue to accept.

Our economy has been dependent on coal and oil but the science says that the world’s climate is approaching a tipping point of no return if we don’t reduce our consumption of fossil fuels. Therefore it seems to me that it’s a good idea to clean up the waste but it’s probably a better idea to create cleaner sources of energy. It’s also my opinion that the majority of our country’s citizenship is more interested in green energy than oil or coal.

So I’ve been wondering how far into the future our oil and coal industries will last since General Motors announcement that by 2035 they will no longer manufacture gasoline powered vehicles. My guess is that gasoline powered vehicles will experience a similar fate suffered by the horse and buggy somewhere close to 2045.

Then look at coal powered electrical plants that are presently fading into oblivion as a result of being replaced by greener technologies (natural gas). The present pace indicates they might have 20 years left. The year 2040 looks to be close.

Since North Dakota is one of the world’s top producers of oil and coal, my prognostications aren’t pretty because these changes will cost thousands of jobs and billions/trillions in revenue for our communities.

So given all that I can fully appreciate why our leaders are doing all they can to save our energy industry, (including hoping that climate change is a hoax) but reality indicates it’s only a matter of time before they’ll be overruled by the rest of the world.

Therefore it seems to me that while we have the revenue from these resources we should probably spend it trying to find ways to offset the demise of our oil and coal industries. Yes we should support what’s left of our coal and oil industry with research funds/tax breaks but I think a better path would be to spend our Legacy Fund with the future in mind rather than trying to preserve the present.

Of course I don’t plan on being here in 2040 so I hope someone who plans on being around grabs the horns of this bull because I’ve just done all I can do about the matter. 

Dan Ulmer is a parent, grandparent, as well as a retired teacher, counselor, politician, lobbyist, public employee, nonprofit executive and opinionated citizen who believes that we need to do what we can to leave the world better off than we found it.

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