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Monday, August 11, 2008

Stopping the stupid in energy policy

Two NY Times columnists have illustrated the stupidity of American energy proposals in the last week.  And sadly, they both recognize that we have a serious lack of political will to meet the energy challenge.

Last week, Paul Krugman noted that the GOP is making a name for itself as the "know nothing" party - proposing simplistic and naive "solutions" for energy problems and calling detractors terrorists or French. 
What I mean, instead, is that know-nothingism — the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise — has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: “Real men don’t think things through.”
But it's not just Republicans that are selling America short.  Friedman tours the Scandinavian countries and marvels at their commitment to energy efficiency and renewable energy.  Hotel hallways have lights on sensors in Greenland.  Half of Copenhagen commuters ride bikes and 20% of their electricity comes from wind turbines (in the U.S., it's 1%).   

The Danes responded to the 1973 Oil crisis with a commitment to being free from foreign oil addictions.  They made gasoline cost $10 a gallon and juiced their economy by lowering income and other personal taxes. 
In 1973, said [climate and energy minister] Hedegaard, “we got 99 percent of our energy from the Middle East. Today it is zero.”
Back home, both presidential candidates are proposing to add to offshore drilling and even tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to give addicted Americans another hit on the oil bong.  Where's the vision?  Even the previously-staid Al Gore has a better offer - getting 100 percent of our electricity from renewable, domestic resources in 10 years

Now that's worth voting for.

1 comment: said...

Hello. My name is Edgar and I'm an editor at, the debate website. Since we both cover energy and environmental issues, I thought I'd drop you a note. I would've e-mailed you but I couldn't find an address.
See, we're currently having a discussion about whether or not the U.S. should allow offshore oil drilling. You can see it here:
Although vetted experts are the ones doing the debating, anyone can contribute by choosing a side and posting comments about the experts' arguments.
Check it out and, if you have the time, let me know what you think at