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A Message from Executive Director Jan Lars Mueller
On March 1, I officially started my tenure as ASPO-USA’s executive director. I am both energized and humbled by the challenges that face the organization, the nation, and the world at this point in history.
With oil prices ramping upward in spite of a sluggish global economy, exacerbated by events around the world, our work is more urgent than ever. To meet the challenges and opportunities rising around us, however, we need to sharpen our tools and expand our capacity. That’s why I’m here.
I have been engaged with transportation, energy, and economic issues related to peak oil for many years, but my direct involvement with ASPO-USA began last fall when I helped organize a Congressional briefing as part of last year’s conference in Washington, DC. That experience, the monumental importance of the peak oil issue and all it touches, and the role that ASPO-USA is poised to play in facing it head-on, compelled me to seek and accept this new post.
Regardless of when world oil production reaches its historic peak (which will only be known in retrospect), it does not take an expert to realize oil is becoming more difficult, risky, and costly to get out of the Earth. Meanwhile, the natural gas industry, with relatively low prices and large reserve estimates, still faces serious obstacles to reach and sustain hoped-for production levels. Gas will certainly remain a part of our name, and an important focus of our work.
Though uncertainty and unease about our energy predicaments are palpable to many, most Americans still live under a host of myths about energy. Part of ASPO-USA’s mission is to dispel those myths, and shine a bright light on our energy challenges and a pathway through them-beginning with the prospect of a peak and decline in world oil production.
But, beyond illuminating problems facing oil and gas, ASPO-USA’s mission is to inform and lead a transition to a sustainable energy future. By sustainable, I mean not just environmentally benign and non-toxic to people, but resilient energy systems that don’t threaten our economy with every spike in oil prices, or our national security with instability in faraway oil-rich regions.
Accelerated development of cleaner, smarter energy sources is important, of course; and rising oil prices could spark supply-side innovations faster than many people expect. But because the most immediate problem centers on oil and its essential uses for transportation and industry, for which there are no quick, easy, or cheap substitutes, ASPO-USA’s work must focus on innovation and strategies to use less oil in the face of tightening supplies.
What can businesses, governments, communities, families, and individuals do to adapt to the challenges and seize the opportunities created by present and future oil crunches? ASPO-USA is bringing the cumulative knowledge, experience, and creative resources of our vast network of experts, partners, and supporters to bear on answering that question, and to spur bold, innovative action. We are building on our past accomplishments to forge new partnerships, engage new audiences, and influence critical decisions about America’s energy future.
We hope you will be part of that effort; in fact, we need your help and support to be successful. I invite you to join us and become a Peak Oil Pioneer.
Thanks for all you are doing to help tackle the peak oil energy challenge. Please feel free to share your ideas and input with me anytime at jmueller[at]peak-oil.org.
Jan Lars Mueller
Jan comes to ASPO-USA after serving as senior policy associate at the highly-respected Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) in Washington DC. He brings extensive experience in federal and state policy, strategic planning, campaign management, communications, and coalition-building-experience and skills that will all be essential in charting ASPO-USA’s future. In addition to strengthening ASPO-USA’s core activities, other priorities include establishing a presence in Washington DC, building stronger relationships with policymakers and other national organizations, and developing new communications and outreach capacity.
ASPO-USA extends its deep appreciation to former interim executive director Kim Comart for his critical role in leading and strengthening the organization over the past year.