Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Energy policy

The U.S. Senate is debating an energy bill. If your morning paper is as uninforming as mine is, you probably found little or nothing about it.

U.S. energy policy is one of the most important issues affecting Americans. Some would argue that it is the single most important issue affecting our bloated, consumptive way of life. Regardless of one’s political persuasion, it behooves all of us to learn about some of the issues and pay attention to the debate.

The current bill, at over 1,000 pages, touches almost every corner of life in our country. Unfortunately, much of past policy has resulted in $500 billion in subsidies given to old paradigm energy industries such as coal, fossil fuels and nuclear. Contrast that with only $25 billion subsidizing renewable and alternative energy options.

Unbelievably, this morning, one segment on C-Span’s Morning Journal had a rehashing of the debate of whether nuclear energy is an option. With a spokesperson from the Nuclear Energy Institute obfuscating the issues brought by Navin Nayak of the Public Interest Research Group, I was just shaking my head that arguments refuted 25 years ago about the viability of nuclear energy, are still being debated.

Ultimately, regardless of one’s stand and orientation on energy, our current consumption of energy and reduction of demand must be a prime pillars in the debate if we ever are able to reduce our reliance on foreign oil. If we want to bring our troops home from Iraq, we can’t be driving SUV’s and other gluttonous consumers of petroleum.

1 comment:

Joe said...

Jim, this stuff drives me absolutely crazy. Why energy conservation and a reduced dependence upon fossil fuels is not a priority of the American people, I’ll never figure out. Our current methods of meeting the energy needs of the US are so detrimental to the environment, our health, the political atmosphere, and the lives of our troops, that to me we are obviously in the midst of an energy crisis. Furthermore, we know that the well is going to run dry one of these days, yet our demand doesn’t decrease. Are we blind to the fact that we can’t live like this forever (especially as the billion-plus people in China rush to catch up with us)? We are, because there is no mainstream media that is addressing the situation. W wants to make nuclear power safer through (yet-to-be-developed) “advances in technology”? What about using existing frigging advances in technology to more efficiently utilize fossil fuels (if we must use them at all), and to tap into readily-available “clean” energy sources like, just for example, that huge ball of hydrogen burning up there in the sky?

Americans are proud of their consumption. In our country an H2 is something to be desired, a symbol of status and achievement. An H2 is unnecessary gluttony! We should be proud to conserve energy! We should be proud to encourage the development of energy-efficient means of transportation, to show that we are doing everything in our power to reduce our reliance on foreign oil suppliers because we have everything we need, right here in the USA, to meet our energy needs. We should be proud to show the world that we are committed to preserving the beauty of this planet and maintaining it’s most vital resources (clean air and water) for future generations. We should be proud that we are making the earth a better place for our children and grandchildren, and their children and grandchildren. But we seem to only care about ourselves, today. It seems so obviously wrong, I can’t make any sense of it.

We're headed straight for a cliff. But we're making great time!