Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Perfect Fit: Clinton in Carter's Cardigan

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Perfect Fit: Clinton in Carter's Cardigan

Article excerpt

WHEN Jimmy Carter turned down the thermostat and put solar collectors on the roof of the White House back in the 1970s, groans and snickers could be heard around the country. It seemed to be a wimpy symbol of national energy policy when sending warships to the Persian Gulf made us feel a lot better. Besides, presidents in cardigan sweaters ... well, how dorky can you get?

Mr. Carter, it turns out, was ahead of his time. Not only are solar devices on the White House (and probably your house, too, one day soon), but they may well have a "Made in Japan" sticker on them. Japan Times reports this month that the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) is fast-tracking its "New Sunshine Program."

Since Carter was President, manufacturing costs of solar cells have dropped from $288 per watt of output to $5.75 and are expected to fall further to $1.90 by the end of the decade, the magazine reports. "Sanyo Electric is dreaming of satisfying the entire world's energy needs with solar energy, via a global network of superconductor grids fed by huge banks of solar cells located in the world's desert regions."

In recent years, the federal government has taken some steps to encourage a disengagement from foreign oil and other non-renewable and polluting energy sources. But not until last week did Uncle Sam get serious about setting an example for how this should be done.

President Clinton ordered all departments of the government to reduce energy consumption by 30 percent (half-again as much as the goal in the Energy Policy Act of 1992) and increase energy efficiency by at least 20 percent by the year 2005. And that's just for starters.

The executive order is full of sticks and carrots for retrofitting old facilities and building new ones that use far less energy.

Agencies will get to keep some of the savings for other programs. Managers and teams who do particularly well will be eligible for monetary awards. And budgets to increase energy efficiency are given steep increases - four times the amount spent last year has been requested for fiscal year 1995. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.