04 September 2008

Energy Policy

Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we're going to lay more pipelines ... build more nuclear plants ... create jobs with clean coal ... and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources.
Sarah Palin, RNC Acceptance Speech
Despite a multitude of temptations, Patriots and Peoples shall not become a blog about current politics. Patriots and Peoples concerns history, albeit the spin given to history when ideology drives the research. But that’s quite different than dissecting convention speeches, opinion polls, campaign strategies, and voter despair. Often it is difficult to resist commenting on the executive experience gained bringing a Fred Meyer to Wasilla, Alaska, or the lack of accomplishments by a Presidential candidate who co-sponsored the Coburn-Obama Transparency Act (McCain signed on as an additional sponsor).

Plenty of bloggers write continuously about the drama of American politics. I read them. I read such things as Brad DeLong’s obituary for trickle-down economics, Doghouse Riley’s screeds against self-important, overpaid pundits, Prerna’s exposés, fact checking by the Reality-Based Community: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts,” Victor Davis Hanson's Pajamas Media column, and many others. I seek a breadth of perspectives and return to those that write well.

In politics I seek the balance that I demand in history. Of course I have my views, but they are not dogma.

"She said she'd like to support McCain but felt she couldn't at this particular time because of his stand on ANWR," said the governor's spokeswoman, Sharon Leighow.
Anchorage Daily News, 3 February 2008
Indeed, it was the prospect that an Alaska Governor on the Republican ticket, and her prospects of shifting John McCain’s previous position against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, that sent me to the Jimmy Carter Library where I was able to reread his 1980 State of the Union Address.

Clear and Present Danger

President Jimmy Carter called for a comprehensive energy policy that focused on conservation and a diverse portfolio. I think it’s fair to say that he failed to get his ideas implemented.

The crises in Iran and Afghanistan have dramatized a very important lesson: Our excessive dependence on foreign oil is a clear and present danger to our Nation's security. The need has never been more urgent. At long last, we must have a clear, comprehensive energy policy for the United States.

As you well know, I have been working with the Congress in a concentrated and persistent way over the past 3 years to meet this need. We have made progress together. But Congress must act promptly now to complete final action on this vital energy legislation. Our Nation will then have a major conservation effort, important initiatives to develop solar power, realistic pricing based on the true value of oil, strong incentives for the production of coal and other fossil fuels in the United States, and our Nation's most massive peacetime investment in the development of synthetic fuels.

The American people are making progress in energy conservation. Last year we reduced overall petroleum consumption by 8 percent and gasoline consumption by 5 percent below what it was the year before. Now we must do more.

After consultation with the Governors, we will set gasoline conservation goals for each of the 50 States, and I will make them mandatory if these goals are not met.

I've established an import ceiling for 1980 of 8.2 million barrels a day—well below the level of foreign oil purchases in 1977. I expect our imports to be much lower than this, but the ceiling will be enforced by an oil import fee if necessary. I'm prepared to lower these imports still further if the other oil-consuming countries will join us in a fair and mutual reduction. If we have a serious shortage, I will not hesitate to impose mandatory gasoline rationing immediately.

The single biggest factor in the inflation rate last year, the increase in the inflation rate last year, was from one cause: the skyrocketing prices of OPEC oil. We must take whatever actions are necessary to reduce our dependence on foreign oil—and at the same time reduce inflation.

As individuals and as families, few of us can produce energy by ourselves. But all of us can conserve energy—every one of us, every day of our lives. Tonight I call on you—in fact, all the people of America—to help our Nation. Conserve energy. Eliminate waste. Make 1980 indeed a year of energy conservation.
Jimmy Carter, State of the Union Address 1980, 23 January 1980
It was hard to get behind Carter in 1980, and not much easier today. Never the less, I wonder how his policy ideas might have helped avert some of our present struggles.

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