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As Oil Ebbs
The nation still needs a sane energy policy.
Editorial, Washington Post
...The relief [of lower gas prices] should not distract from the central policy fact about oil, which is that government must do more to discourage consumption. The past year or so has vividly demonstrated the connection between surging oil demand and high prices on the one hand and noxious political trends on the other.
...The policy challenge can be summed up this way: How do you keep oil prices low so as to deflate petro-bullies but simultaneously high so as to stimulate alternative fuels? The answer is taxation, which could mean specific levies on gasoline and other products or a more general carbon tax. Taxation would prompt cuts in consumption, which would lower the pretax price at which petro-bullies sell crude oil. Taxation would simultaneously boost the incentive for carmakers and venture capitalists to pursue energy conservation and alternative fuels.
(9 Oct 2006)
Energy Vacation (Bush energy bill) (animated satire)
Mark Fiore, Working for Change
"An indefinite holiday from sound energy policy!"
(28 Sept 2006)
Caveat: the Democrats aren't much better. -BA
The politics of climate change - Why Democrats should stand up now.
Jerome a Paris, Daily Kos
...let me say it here starkly: Dems are so damn terrified to lose elections that they forget to actually stand for anything, and end up being an unattractive alternative - and losing the issues to smarter - or more cynical - Republicans.
...People do care about the environment, and would be willing to make efforts if they see these leading somewhere, and with a direct benefit to them or to their children, and not just as pointless sacrifice to save some unknown insect. Having a comprehensive plan on this would show an optimistic, forward looking, dynamic face (technology leadership, jobs, more real security, better environment, etc...), and it is a perfect contrast to the politics of greed, denial and fear of the Republicans.
Focusing on energy and climate change allows to demonstrate a commitment to real values without ignoring the other issues of the day. It shows trust in the capacity of Americans to mobilise and to be responsible. It is principled, it is optimistic, and, above all, it demonstrates leadership. Show Americans what is at stake; contrast the short termist approach of the Republicans with the long term future outlined by the Democratic plans, and stand by your ideas even as they are slimed, as they will be.
(8 Oct 2006)
The Conservative Party in the U.K. and Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in California show that the politics of climate change do not necessarily belong to the Democrats. -BA
Raise the Gasoline Tax? Funny, It Doesn’t Sound Republican
Daniel Gross, NY Times
...In late September, as [Allen Greenspan, former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve] spoke to a group of business executives in Massachusetts, a question was posed as to whether he’d like to see an increase in the federal gasoline tax, which has stood at 18.4 cents a gallon since 1993. “Yes, I would,” Mr. Greenspan responded with atypical clarity. “That’s the way to get consumption down. It’s a national security issue.”
Mr. Greenspan isn’t the only Republican-aligned economist to have discovered, or rediscovered, a fondness for higher energy taxes since leaving government service.
...What gives? Clearly, there is an emerging consensus among economists - right and left - that the nation would be better off, geopolitically and economically, if Americans used less gasoline.
...Others chalk up the rising chorus for a higher gas tax to a growing unity among economists across the political spectrum on the deleterious effects of global warming.
(8 Oct 2006)
Without Renewable Power, U.S. Army Could Fail in Iraq
Alana Herro, WorldChanging
In a July 25 memo to the Pentagon, U.S. Marine Corps Major General Richard Zilmer made a “Priority 1” request for solar-and wind-powered generators to help with the fight in Iraq. “Without this solution, personnel loss rates are likely to continue at their current rate,” Zilmer writes. “Continued casualty accumulation exhibits [the] potential to jeopardize mission success.”
The “thermal signature” of diesel-powered generators currently in use can enable enemies to detect U.S. outposts, experts say. And missions to supply the generators with JP-8, the standard battlefield fuel, are vulnerable to ambush. Without “a self-sustainable energy solution,” Zilmer notes, the U.S. Army will “continue to accrue preventable… serious and grave casualties.”
(4 Oct 2006)