Candidates and country in denial about looming energy crisis

The San Francisco Chronicle is running a three-part series on the looming energy crisis and the peculiar refusal of the presidential candidates — and the country — to deal with it realistically. Global oil demand is rising, prices are rising, and production is relatively static. Despite the campaign rhetoric, neither candidate’s energy plan would dent this problem. Bush pushes for increased domestic production, hoping to pepper the American West with oil and natural-gas drills that would despoil open spaces without solving the long-term problem. Kerry has softened his support for strict CAFE standards, fearful of offending the swing-state-based American auto industry, which remains in denial about the urgent need for fuel-efficient vehicles. Energy expert Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute calls the candidates’ plans “simply constituency wish lists that balance votes and hand out goodies … a lousy way to make policy.”