Energy & Environment

Energy & Environment

Al Gore, T. Boone Pickens and the Future of American Energy Security

If you glance quickly at the headlines of the newspapers, you would think that Al Gore and T. Boone Pickens would be in agreement on some things. Gore announced a bold plan to end America’s addiction to oil. Pickens did the same thing. Gore said that America needs to invest a lot more in renewable energy. Pickens said the same thing. And both seemed to condemn the Republican plan to drill more in America. Except that they didn’t. Gore condemned Republicans. Pickens said that Republicans were right to want to drill.

In actuality, Gore’s plan is science fiction. He believes that the world is coming to an end, and that only he has the plan to save it. But his plan is fanciful. He wants to scrap just about every non-renewable energy source in 10 years, and require that we all go renewable. Under the Gore plan, we scrap coal, scrap oil, scrap natural gas.
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N.H. takes Hugo’s Free Oil: Say Goodbye to Live Free or Die

Here in northern New England we experience a kind of liberalism I would call detached. Or maybe a better word is unhinged. It is an organic product of changing demographics.



Not long ago — in my father’s day — it counted for something to be from these parts, because most people lived in the Northeast; Texas was a desert and California was a hinterland. New England, particularly its northern parts, was considered core to that sensibility which evolved into the American condition. So much flinty character we were imagined to have that when Gov. Sherman Adams — Yankees used to have names like that — put his mind to it, he would send Eisenhower to the presidency, even though Eisenhower hadn’t even put his name on the ballot. Even nowadays that rugged individualist sensibility resonates on big- and small-screen; the fictional president in “The West Wing” was, naturally, reared in New Hampshire.
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Democratic Energy Crisis

If you go to page A17 of today’s New York Times, you see two interesting stories about the Democrats and their varied positions on energy.

First, you have Al Gore and his man-to-the-moon strategy (“Gore Calls for Energy Shift to Avoid a Global Crisis”). He believes that the world is going to end fairly soon unless we dramatically cut our emissions by getting rid of pretty much all coal-powered plants and by stopping the use of gas-powered cars. He believes that we can make this conversion in a decade. He acknowledges that this will dramatically increase costs, but then he proposes a “payroll tax cut to offset higher prices for fuel and electricity.” So, what Gore proposes is to financially weaken the Social Security Trust Fund (which is already teetering) to pay for the sharply increased costs of all forms of energy that will come with the Gore plan.
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McCain Closes the Gap

Issues don't always flow from the top down — from the campaign hierarchy to the voters. Sometimes they flow the other way, from an angered public upward.

This is the case with the oil drilling and energy issue. Every time Americans gas up, they are reminded that the Democrats' refusal to allow oil drilling virtually anyplace has caused the long-term escalation in oil prices in the United States.
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Ready to Take His Place

If you have watched cable television in the last 24 hours, or read today's Wall Street Journal, you know that T. Boone Pickens — billionaire oilman — will soon be a factor in the 2008 presidential race.

Pickens has purchased tens of millions in airtime and will hit the talk show circuit to promote his plan to tackle the nation's dependence on foreign oil, now costing $700 billion each year. Boone's plan, to reduce that dependence by one-third within five to 10 years, would replace gasoline with natural gas and use clean coal, wind, nuclear and solar to fuel power plants. While the plan hasn't received resounding support from energy experts, Boone is pushing his plan hard, claiming it will not only reduce imports but lower transportation costs, create thousands of jobs and reduce the country's emissions.
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Group of Eight Leaders Impeach George Bush

The Group of Eight leaders have met, and with an energy crisis inflaming the domestic and world economy, the leaders did nothing about energy.

With the dangers of climate change more obvious every day and the leaders of allied nations intensely committed to action, the Group of Eight did nothing about climate change, either.

What was striking, extraordinary and unique about this summit was the manner in which the other leaders told the press on background that they could do nothing better than wait for George W. Bush to leave office.
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Kill the Gas-Guzzler and Declare Economic War Against Oil

Instead of fighting wars that become intertwined with oil, we should declare economic war to end our addiction to oil, and not fight unnecessary wars.

Make no mistake: If there is an attack against Iran, it would almost certainly trigger both a stock market crash, which could occur anyway after seven years of Bush policies, and a severe recession, or something worse.

Make no mistake: America has the power and strength to end our dependence on the oil economy and the gas-guzzler car. The problem is not only a lack of leadership but a leadership in exactly the wrong direction from Bush, Cheney and now McCain.
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John McCain: aka 'Mr. Green,' aka 'Mr. Enviro,' aka 'Mr. Energy'

I just talked to a reporter who reported that the McCain spinmeisters have come up with the line of lines: “John McCain owns the issues of energy and the environment.”

What?

Over the last week we have seen a plan from a candidate who is flip-flopping all over the place, pandering all the while. A summer gas tax holiday that wouldn’t even put $30 in people’s pockets; a $300 million “reward” for car batteries that the car companies and many well-respected firms are already working on; drilling offshore (oops — no oil until at least 2017); a $1.2 billion tax giveaway to Exxon. McCain claims it is the “psychological effect” that he is pursuing. Sorry, John, but that doesn’t fill my tank and it sure as heck doesn’t solve the long-term problem of energy.
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Try Anything

John McCain is doing his version of Franklin Delano Roosevelt when it comes to the energy crisis that faces this country. Barack Obama is playing a hip version of Herbert Hoover.

It was Roosevelt who said of efforts to pull the nation out of the Great Depression, “If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”

Yesterday, McCain unveiled a plan to invest $300 million to build a better car battery. Smart idea, and if the price tag seems high, think in terms of a $1 investment per American for better energy security. Put in those terms, it actually is a little on the cheap side.

It is on the cheap side, because building a better battery would end America’s addiction to oil overnight. It would solve the emissions problem. It would be better for the environment. And it would be better for noise pollution, to boot.
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Where Their Heart Really Is

The House Democratic leadership is taking a huge gamble in not locking arms with House Republicans on passing legislation dealing with the rapidly increasing price of oil.

By not proposing a bipartisan solution, they expose their more vulnerable members to nasty charges of “do-nothingism.” Inaction also leads to other vulnerabilities.

First, there is the Al Gore problem. Al Gore has been quoted time and time again saying that a steep increase in gas prices will be good for the environment. Well, the steep increases are here. Do you feel better yet?
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