Friday, December 15, 2006

When they're right .............

……………. they’re right. The ever so rare reasonable, and isn't that always a very relative adjectve, liberal, “rf”, recently posted the following:

"Anyways, we can agree to disagree on the science of climate change. However, one of the biggest consequences of our political leadership’s refusal to do anything about it is the fact that we have been left behind when it comes to technology. While other countries have forced and encouraged their industries to adapt, they have pushed for technical innovation at the same time. Not forcing our auto industry to innovate (Michigan D’s can be blamed on this too) has been a big factor in their current sorry state. Tiny Denmark is one of the biggest exporters of renewable energy technologies, such as wind turbines and anaerobic digesters. Because others have been leading the way, the U.S. is playing catch-up with many of these technologies and we often end up buying the stuff from foreigners. Good for them. Not so good for us. Whether you agree with the science or not, the world is looking for ways to address these concerns. It is big business now, and it will only get bigger. I want us to get a big piece of that pie."

First, a little nostalgia. Remember the first oil embargo in 1973? Since then we’ve known that our reliance on oil from unstable foreign sources has made us economically and physically vulnerable. Given our enormous technological advantages, particularly in 1973, American energy policy could have dramatically reduced the production of green house gases (which may or may not be bad but certainly aren’t good), consumption of non-renewable energy sources (always a good idea to lengthen the supply of any finite resource) and importation of energy from countries that hate us (Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran etc….) as an economic predicate to prosperity. Millions of new, and largely well paying, jobs, many of them even union, would have been created. The strategic importance of the Middle East would have been progressively diminished. Lots of upside.

The failure to do anything meaningful about it, through Democrat and Republican executive and congressional leadership is perhaps the greatest domestic policy mistake since the long gone Ante Bellum days of the 1820s-1850s. Everyone has a share of the blame on this one.

But blame won’t fill my gas tank for 75 cents a gallon so where go we from here? It took 9.11.01 to produce even an attempt a real policy for energy independence, and the Ds don’t even kind of give W credit for a very bold energy policy, but we need to do one hell of a lot more. I’m no expert on energy policy, but what we’re doing, ain’t working, and almost everyone suffers from this failure. In a far better world, where I would be the President of course, this would be a crusade 'cause everyone benefits from an almost manic drive toward a new energy policy.


RF said...


Thanks for the compliment. I would also like to point out that among the '08 presidential hopefuls, the candidate with the strongest energy/renewable energy record comes from the R side: George Pataki. People who follow renewable energy issues closely - most of them true lefty liberals - give Pataki a lot of credit. Interestingly, those same lefties haven't been very impressed with Vilsack on these issues.

RF said...

I also like the way the issue of renewable energy has brought together the national security driven right wingers and lefty environmentalists - and pretty much everyone in between. Energy should be our unifying agenda, our new Apollo project.

Anonymous said...

vilsack does nothing for renewable energy.

how windy is western iowa?

Anonymous said...

RF is a thoughtful and, thus far, a very decent fellow probably demonstrating many middle of the road Democratic Party views.

I still have major disagreements with him concerning the War on Terror as ALL Democrats are taking this war far too lightly. I am here to tell everyone this War is going to have far more impact than WWII on this world's future.

Speaking of the environment how do you think the global balance will be effected after a couple limited nuclear exchanges between the following countries:

Israel vs. Iran
Pakistan vs. India
North Korea vs. South Korea

I believe such exchanges are real possibilities if we don't step up in Iraq before it is too late. The world is watching us fall and when the policeman is gone the bad guys take over.

-kenbo out!

Kenboiraq said...

On an unrelated note I see the Duke Rape DNA shows she was lying and now the DA lied too.

Joe said...

I respectfully disagree. Anything the government does is inevitably politicized and misdirected; the subsidized ethanol industry is a classic example. I know that you and the politicians can't say so, of course, as you would get pilloried, but this will become evident over time. The market, not the government, is what will someday sort this out.

A serious effort at energy independence would start with removing regulatory obstacles to drilling, new refineries, and nuclear energy (the only current technology that can make much difference in greenhouse gas production). It would also not fret over high prices -- in the real world, a switch to other energy sources will only take hold when they are cheaper than fossil fuels.

But people blanch at high gas prices and the corn/farm lobby doesn't want to give its subsidies. So pass the ethanol, I could use a drink.

RF said...


A couple of points. We have subsidized - and continue to do so - oil and other fossil fuels pretty heavily. If you consider the military expenditures used to protect our fossil fuel supplies, we are talking very big numbers. Some have suggested that it would be best for renewables if we got rid of all the subsidies. Also, sometimes you just have to make a political call: Do we want to buy our fuel from dictators who hate us or do we want to produce it domestically?

Nuclear energy is an interesting and complicated issue. Your point is one side of the coin. The other side is that without some type of very hefty government liability guarantee (a big subsidy), it will never be cost effective.

Anonymous said...

There is no excuse other than the lefty green peace nutballs as to why we have not developed nuclear energy.

I believe the whackos on the extreme left will not be happy until we end all forms of energy and return to some version of the stone age.

The Real Sporer said...

anon is right, but rf is even more right.

The Real Sporer said...

The ecoludites have prevented development of nuke power but I don't think rf is saying we shouldn't increase domestic nuclear useage. That's more of a local problem 'cause no one want a nuke plant in the neighborhood.

We do need more short term develop domestic gas, oil and coal tech and useage. However, with every bit as much urgency we also have to develop the "greener" solutions, including some forms of conservation-like incentives to ship things on trains, for example, especially if those were solar powered trains.

..........and yes, Charlotte, we can do both. We are the United States. We put a man on the moon in 8 years, and the man on the moon pales in comparison to many other uniquely American accomplishments.

mohammed was a pedophile said...

The fact to the matter is this, the dictators have as much power as we have need of their oil.

I have a solution...

There is more oil in Siberia than the entire middle east. The Russian extraction technology is from the 1950s and 60s.

My proposal is to GIVE them, free of charge, the extraction technology, pipelines, scientists, tankers, trucks and anything else they need. Sign a treaty making the United States Russia's ONLY customer for perpetuity and negotiate a price that undercuts both OPEC and PEMEX. If Russia violates the treaty and sells to China or other unfriendly countries, we blow everything up.

Every penny they make is pure profit and the OPEC and PEMEX dictators are powerless.

Hydrogen would be cool but I really do not relish the thought of tiny Hindenburgs driving around.