31 January 2006

Applaud President Bush For Courage in State of Union

Did you ever think you'd see the day? The former oil man and the industry's latest favorite friend, President Bush, calling for investments in alternative energy and a "Advanced Energy Initiative" in tonight's "State of the Union" address. But as I heard one pundit say after the broadcast, If Nixon can go to China in his second term, then I guess Bush can become a champion for alternative energy.

Here is a portion of the transcript from the White House website:

Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative energy sources -- and we are on the threshold of incredible advances.

So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative -- a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research -- at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies, and clean, safe nuclear energy.

We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We'll also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn, but from wood chips and stalks, or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years.

Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. By applying the talent and technology of America, this country can dramatically improve our environment, move beyond a petroleum-based economy, and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past.

We'll be looking closely at the "Advanced Energy Initiative," for the details of his proposal. For now, we applaud President Bush for his courage in sticking his wildcatter's neck out by suggesting it's time to turn to market-based incentives for alternatives to oil dependency.

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marine_explorer said...

"To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies, and clean, safe nuclear energy."

Having the courage to say words like "solar" and "wind" energy is laudable, but I hope the talk is supported by action. Perhaps this adminstration recognizes the demand for foreign petroleum by emerging markets will become too great to support our current level of dependency? I imagine the easiest workaround will be to ramp up production of conventional domestic sources, versus a long-term plan of developing alternative energy technologies. Will we take the easy road, or begin the long and difficult path towards a more sustainable energy policy?

The Green Skeptic said...

Yes, let's hope it's not just empty rhetoric. But I prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt at this point. I'll remain ever skeptical (it's just in my nature) and will continue to look into and monitor this pledge.

For a contrarian view, see the Appollo Alliance, who claim "President Bush used last night's State of the Union address to rhetorically hijack a progressive platform."