Tuesday, June 24, 2008

McCain's Energy Problem

That headline is just begging for an age joke, so you make up your own.

In the past two days John McCain has unveiled two different complimentary energy plans, which frankly sound decent. The first plan is to sponsor a contest where the first company to make a more energy efficient wins $300 million dollars. The second plan is to provide a 5,000 dollar tax incentive for the purchase of cars that produce zero or "near-zero" emissions.

This sounds better than most Republican environment plans but there are many problems with McCain and his plan. The first problem is that these plans reek of a campaign trick than any real policy. Remember, this was the same man who supports a summer tax holiday on gasoline that would most likely cause gas prices to rise because of increased demand. Also, this is the man who said that we ought to open up off-shore areas for drilling despite 68 million acres that are currently leased by oil companies but not being used. He is not ready to leave the paradigm of oil.

Barack Obama called:

oil a “a 19th century fossil fuel that is dirty, dwindling, and dangerously expensive” and said a renewable energy economy was not “some pie-in-the-sky, far-off future, it is now."

And that...is the point. John McCain's call for oil would make current energy capital go towards development and production of more oil, not towards new energy. John McCain has not realized that he has to entirely turn away from oil and move towards new energy sources. His solution is to aggressively pursue nuclear energy. Yet, he only has to look as far as the Senate Chamber where Majority Leader Reid is still trying to block the Yucca Mountain Nuclear disposal project to realize that nuclear waste is still dangerous and the nuclear energy should not be the cornerstone of our energy policy. In the words of Michael Feeney, a member of McCain's energy panel today:
I don't understand how it's not compromising our environmental standards to
propose a crash program to build more nuclear power plants when the industry has
not complied with the federal law that requires there to be safe disposal for
the radioactive waste," Feeney said, alluding to McCain's proposal to put the
country on a path to building 45 new nuclear reactors by 2030.

As nations develop, as more people are able to purchase cars, boats, etc, the demand for oil will only increase. According to some estimates, we will begin to run out of oil in deposits within the the next 100 years. Dependency on Oil is bad for national security, its bad for the environment, its bad for the economy. There is no reason not to turn towards green energy and green policies. We can begin to fund those projects with a wind-falls energy tax and then allow the green energy and green jobs market power itself. Oil is not the answer, John McCain. Give up the gimmicks.
This post was cross-posted at Poli-Think

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