The former president of Shell Oil Company took aim at a dysfunctional U.S. Congress and blasted politicians for turning our election system into a “perversion of our democracy” that has degraded into partisan bickering to hold onto power at all costs — regardless of the damage it inflicts on our nation.

John Hofmeister, author of the book “Why we Hate the Oil Companies,” spoke about his frustration with the nation’s leadership and its failure to craft a workable long-term energy strategy at the Second Annual California Ag Summit on the UC Davis campus in late January. About 300 attended the event.

Hofmeister’s remarks focused on what he calls “an energy abyss” in which the nation’s political leadership has failed to develop a long-term energy plan to progressively guide us into the future.  He noted that eight presidents and 19 congresses have failed to develop a workable long-term solution, and warned that developing nations such as China are currently taking steps to assure they have a steady supply of both domestic and imported energy going into the future. “During the next three years China will be increasing its oil consumption from 9 million barrels a day to 15 million.”

Hofmeister, who is founder and CEO of Citizens for Affordable Energy, said that over the next few years China is planning to build 50,000 new skyscrapers, each more than 30 stories tall. “These new structures will need electricity, heat, and air conditioning, which will put new demands on the world’s energy sources.” In preparation to meet the demand, he said China has already secured $120 billion in loan guarantees to fund its state-owned oil companies. “They have made sure that their 15 million barrels of daily oil is guaranteed. They want to make sure that their growing middle-class is well cared for.”