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Cafe Society to discuss energy-environmental issues

By Staff | Dec 11, 2015

The Cafe Society, a part of Shepherd University’s Life Long Learning Program will hold its final session for the year on Dec 15. The topic will be: “How should we react to the dual issues of the Saudi power play on oil and heightened concerns about global warming?” These weekly discussions are held from 8:30 to 10 a.m. in the Rumsey Room of the Shepherd University Student Center each Tuesday morning. Pre-registration is not required and there are no fees or charges.

Mike Austin, one of the Cafe Society facilitators commented, “Saudi Arabia is using its ability to produce oil more cheaply than anyone else and at the same time ramping up production to drive competitors out of the market. OPEC nations have no choice but to go along. The world economic recovery, which was largely driven by commodities, is now feeling the pain and the U.S. is not exempt. While at first cheap gas was welcomed, we are now seeing the adverse consequences in loss of jobs and failing businesses throughout the energy sector. At the same time there is growing concern that we have to deal with global warming both internationally and on the home front. This “perfect storm” may force us at last to realistically deal with both issues. There are important social, political and economic issues that should emerge in the current presidential campaign.”

“This could lead to sea change in the over-concentration on the Middle East that has dominated post World War II foreign affairs,” Austin continued. “We have significant leverage now that the U.S. is no longer dependent on foreign oil and have significant advantages in our comparatively strong economy and the U.S. dollar’s critical role in world energy transactions. What is missing is the political will to act. At the same time we need to make some meaningful progress on related environmental issues including trade-offs between coal, hydro, nuclear and alternative energy programs. Significant adjustments will be needed in the U.S. transportation and financial sectors as well.”

Following next Tuesday’s discussion, Cafe Society sessions will resume on Jan. 5 after the Christmas holiday. Those with suggestions for future Cafe Society topics or who want more information about the Cafe Society program should contact Austin at 304-876-0598 or michael.austin@frontiernet.net.