Palin’s full speech contained yet another energy lie, one that is very revealing:

To confront the threat that Iran might seek to cut off nearly a fifth of the world’s energy supplies

Not even close. Yes, if you live in a world where the only energy source is oil, then the Persian Gulf countries do produce 20 percent of the total world supply — although it would be next to impossible for Iran to cut it all off. And kind of stupid, since they’d lose tens of billions of dollars in revenues themselves.

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But we don’t live in a world where the only energy supply for the world is oil — well, maybe Palin and the McCain campaign do, but the rest of us don’t. In the world the rest of us live in, oil is maybe 20 percent of total world energy usage. And I’m going to ignore efficiency, even though it is certainly the largest energy resource.

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Bottom line: A really self-destructive Iran might in fact be able to cut off a few percent of the world’s energy supply.

And one more thing. If you were really worried about the possibility Iran might cut off a fifth of the world’s oil supply — cut off some 20 million barrels of oil a day — then it is inane to say you confront that threat by saying “we need to produce more of our own oil and gas.” If you opened every conceivable area now off-limits to drilling, you might get 1 million barrels of oil a day starting in 10 years.

The only way to prepare for losing a fifth of the world oil supply — or, more realistically, to prepare for the reality peak oil — is to transform our transportation system into one that can also run on electricity.

Here is the total global energy use:

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Image:World Energy consumption.png

This post was created for, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.