Energy & Environment

Energy & Environment

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”


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.

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.

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?

Offense Is Better Than Defense

House Republican leaders have decided to go on offense on an issue that has resonance with the American people: gas prices. Rather than tie themselves in knots on an issue of dubious value, earmarks, they have decided to strike hard and fast against the Democratic Congress’s inability to act to bring down the price of gas.

The Republicans have some vulnerability on the issue, chiefly the fact that President Bush and Vice President Cheney are so closely associated with the oil industry. But the Democrats are even more vulnerable.

The fact that House Democrats have such a long record of opposing domestic production of oil and gas will be exploited time and again by House Republicans.

Europeans and the Environment

From Belgium

Like race, environmentalism is one of the pillars of the EU’s perceived superiority over the U.S.

A leading British politician recently stated that the name of the European Union should be changed to the Environmentalist Union. But in fact, Europe's environment is far from the pristine image they would like for the world to buy into.

For example, urban air pollution causes premature deaths, by their own account, of some 375,000 people yearly, roughly the same number as in China. By contrast, the United States’ number is 50-60,000 and steadily dropping.

The Politics of Oil Prices

Last October, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) of the House Energy and Commerce Committee unveiled a proposal to increase taxes by 50 cents a gallon of gasoline and jet fuel.

He did it as to protest environmentalist efforts to put the entire burden of conservation on the backs of the auto industry, but his efforts were applauded by many Democrats who believed that gasoline was too inexpensive.

An important part of liberal theology is that American behavior must change if we are going to be able to protect the planet. That means that American consumers should take more public transportation, buy smaller cars, fly less and generally consume a lot less energy.