Al Gore’s Energy Challenge
McCain’s energy plan includes drilling for more oil and the continued use of natural gas and coal, as well as increasing the use of renewable energy sources. Obama’s energy plan is more heavily focused on renewable energy, but it also relies on hydrocarbons and it does not include the funding needed to meet Gore’s challenge. Obama is calling for spending $15 billion a year for ten years on renewable energy. That’s a good start, but it is not nearly enough funding. With an annual U.S. budget of over $3 trillion, and the fact that we are spending over $700 billion/year for foreign oil, our leaders need to step up with adequate funding for renewable energy research and development, and for building the necessary infrastructure. My guess is that a minimum starting number is $100 billion/year.
Last week President Bush called for off-shore drilling. House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi responded that she will not allow a vote on off-shore drilling. Just this week Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson said he expects that Exxon Mobil’s major business 15-20 years from now will be oil and gas. T. Boone Pickens is running television ads talking about our need to become energy independent and that wind and solar power must be a significant part of the solution. His web site is calling for using wind power, which he is investing heavily in, to replace natural gas in generating electricity, freeing up natural gas for use in powering cars, trucks and buses (I will write about this plan in an upcoming blog post). T. Boone Pickens is presenting his energy plan to the Senate today. Fortunes will be made or lost based on who wins the energy challenge debate.
Global warming demands that the U.S. and other countries reduce burning of hydrocarbons very significantly. The U.S. economy demands that we come close to becoming energy independent and that we do it sooner rather than later. My opinion is that the U.S. and the entire world will need to take a balanced approach that includes both renewable energy and hydrocarbons. Work needs to be done on reducing carbon dioxide and other emissions from burning hydrocarbons. Long term (20 years out and beyond), we need to rely primarily on renewable energy sources. During the transition, carbon-based energy needs to be relied on and more drilling for oil and natural gas is essential.
Al Gore was right to issue his energy challenge to the U.S. It should apply to the world. For the sake of our future, tackling the global warming and economic problems is critical. Let’s hope Gore’s challenge does not fall on deaf ears.
Listen to Al Gore’s Energy Challenge Speech – Jul 17, 2008 … 100% Clean Energy in 10 Years – Washington, DC.
Al Gore lays down green challenge to America – San Francisco Chronicle