Monday, August 4, 2008

A Vision for Energy

A political cartoon this weekend shows Ike proclaiming "We shall build an interstate freeway system across this nation," JFK proclaiming "We shall send a man to the moon in this decade," and G.W. Bush holding his energy policy, saying, "Don't look at me."

Then I caught the news sound bite on the radio on my way home of Sen. Obama announcing "If I am President, we shall become in independent withing the next ten years of Middle East and Venezuelan oil" (or something close to that--I'm working from memory here).

The coincidence struck me, and since I only caught the sound bite, perhaps there's more to the story. Still, a few quick thoughts:

Oil is a global market. You can't simply buy oil so judiciously. Anyway, what are the options? Russia? Nigeria? Offshore drilling? Oil anyway goes where it can most profitably be sold. That's the fantasy of solving America's energy needs with more drilling, and that's the fantasy of only buying oil from certain places (and we haven't even addressed transportation costs).

But if he means developing real alternatives, finally, with the support of the U.S. government--like solar (traditional or using mirrors to heat water to drive turbines), wind, tidal, geothermal, (or just much better use of earth insulation and trees to cut or even eliminate heating/cooling costs), or perhaps even McCain's thirst for nuclear power (although I still have heard no plan regarding the waste or the terrorism risk), then yes, we could cut oil consumption dramatically.

At least, we could stop subsidizing oil companies--I think they just may be ready financially to stand on their own feet...


No comments: