The United States has no energy policy.

January 25, 2008 | By | 1 Reply More

As writer Thomas Friedman explains, we only have energy POLITICS.  Shame on us for screwing around with an issue that has massive repercussions for national security. 

In September 2007, Tom Friedman gave a succinct (11 minute) speech to the Rocky Mountain Institute. Friedman is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist with the New York Times.  His speech contained many important take-away messages.  The main message is that the green revolution has finally reached Main Street, even though we are just getting started.

Friedman bemoans the lack of any real policy paradigm.  We don’t yet have the means for connecting lots of capital with lots of technology yet.  He explains that we need a coherent and correct enabling government policy in order to have things take off, yet “there is no discussion by government leaders.”  He bluntly argues that “we don’t have an energy policy.  We have energy politics driven by the richest lobbies.”  The decisions currently being made by the federal government have nothing to do with making strategic and smart decisions.  This massive corruption of the political process was recently exposed in detail by Rolling Stone.

In some state governments, things are starting to change.  For instance, in California utilities are paid by how many kilowatts they say, not for how many they sell.

Friedman argues that we need a galvanizing principle in order to make green “the new red white and blue.”  He argues that until we start making smart decisions regarding energy and environment, the United States cannot be healthy, innovative, secure or respected around the world.  The reason we can’t cheat the environment is that “you can’t fool mother nature, because she “always bats last and she always bats 1000.

Is there enough time remaining to make the necessary changes?  Friedman ended his speech by quoting Dana Meadows: “We have enough time, just enough time, starting now.”

I agree entirely with Friedman. See here, for example, where I criticize the way politicians and the media present ethanol as a pancea so that we don’t need to talk about changing our wasteful and destructive ways.  The undeniable dwindling of oil and other natural resources are inconvenient truths for a media that seeks only drummed up conflict and happy news.   It’s the same type of disingenuousness used by politicians who tout coal as a “solution.”  Consider some of the real ways to make a long-term sustainable difference, like solar.  And here are dozens of things we can do right now, here (No Impact Man) and here, courtesy of the Rocky Mountain Institute. 


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About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    Amory Lovins tells us that its much cheaper to save energy than to produce it. He also discusses the use of micro-power rather than nuclear power.

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