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Public Statements

Energy Plan Options

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Date:
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July 2, 2003

Energy Plan Options

By Harry Braun

As the people in California quickly realized during the rolling blackouts of 2001, energy is not just another commodity-it is the very foundation upon which an economy functions. Indeed, there is no product produced that does not have a corresponding energy cost. In addition, energy is the most significant variable that impacts the natural environment and global ecosystems, as well as U.S. foreign policy. At present, the world primarily runs on oil and other fossil and nuclear fuels, which are highly polluting and non-renewable. Given that these resources are being exponentially consumed (i.e., there are more and more people competing for fewer and fewer resources), energy instability and economic and environmental chaos will be inevitable if alternatives to fossil and nuclear fuels are not developed and deployed.

Given these realities, which of the following 4 energy options would you support?

1. The Bush Administration Plan

The Bush administration seeks to maintain America's addiction to oil by securing the oil in Iraq and recovering the relatively insignificant reserves in sensitive offshore or wilderness areas, which is analogous to the Capitan of the Titanic speeding full-speed ahead into the iceberg.

2. Strategic Energy Initiative Plan

Senator John Kerry has proposed a "Strategic Energy Initiative," a democratic alternative energy plan that will conserve the remaining oil by encouraging energy efficiency and having American consumers give up their SUVs, as well as have 20% of America's electricity coming from renewable sources by 2020. At this rate, it would take 200 years for the U.S. to end its reliance on fossil and nuclear fuels.

3. The Apollo Plan (apolloalliance.org)

The Apollo Alliance is made up of several environmental groups and 12 labor unions who seek to have the Federal government to spend $30 billion a year over a 10-year period to encourage the development of more energy efficient appliances, buildings, infrastructure and mass-transit projects, renewable energy, hybrid electric and fuel cell propulsion technologies. However, the Apollo project has no specific timetables proposed for eliminating U.S. dependence on fossil and nuclear fuels.

4. The Phoenix Project Plan (phoenixproject.net)

The Phoenix Project plan will allow the U.S. shift from all fossil and nuclear fuels to non-toxic, pollution-free solar hydrogen systems by 2010. This a $6-trillion dollar "transition of substance" will be accomplished by passing Fair Accounting Act legislation that will eliminate subsidies to fossil and nuclear fuels, and factor in the environmental and military costs of using such fuels. This will make solar-sourced hydrogen the least expensive fuel, which is the necessary market incentive for oil and utility companies (not taxpayers) to make the multi-trillion dollar in the renewable energy technologies (primarily wind and OTEC systems) that will be needed for large-scale hydrogen production. As part of this reindustrialization effort, every existing power plant and vehicle (including aircraft) will be modified to use hydrogen fuel.

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