Magazine article The American Prospect

Independence Day: Galvanizing Public Support for a Real Energy Plan

Magazine article The American Prospect

Independence Day: Galvanizing Public Support for a Real Energy Plan

Article excerpt

IF I HAD 15 MINUTES WITH THE FUTURE PRESIDENT KERRY, I would not have to educate him about my ideas for energy security. That's because he already has a deep understanding of them. Making America energy independent, strengthening our national security, and protecting the environment are causes that John Kerry has fought for his entire career in public life.

And with America's national security at stake, combined with uncertain energy supplies, he knows we need a bold vision for a sustainable energy future.

Regrettably, for the past three and a half years, the Bush administration has pursued a drastically different course. Instead of working toward lowering our dependence on foreign oil in the long term and helping to stimulate energy conservation in the short term, the Bush administration continues down a path that has caused U.S. taxpayers to support massive subsidies to already profitable and polluting energy industries while neglecting development of new clean-energy sources.

Given the opportunity to share one priority idea with President Kerry to change the status quo and move in a new direction, I would propose the following three national principles toward achieving energy sustainability and security:

1. Invest in new technologies and alternative fuels. We need to make major investments in research and development of clean, renewable energy sources, like wind, solar power, and hydrogen fuel cells. New, innovative technologies already exist and are being implemented slowly, but the lack of leadership at our highest levels of government fails to promote these sustainable energy sources.

2. Energy efficiency. We need to establish tax incentives that help consumers buy and manufacturers build fuel-efficient cars, and we need to devise other incentives for more energy-efficient buildings and homes.

3. Increase fuel-economy standards for cars and trucks. We can begin today to provide incentives for converting domestic assembly lines to manufacture highly efficient cars, increase consumer choice, and strengthen the U.S. auto industry.

By pursuing these principles, we can lessen our vulnerability to energy price shocks and our reliance on oil from unstable regions around the globe, thus strengthening our national security. …

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