Friday, July 18, 2008

Awakening from Slumber: A National Energy Plan

First of all, thanks to all of you that continue to check my blog site in spite of the fact that it has been over a month since my last post.

It is only fitting when awakening from slumber that I bring to mind an excerpt from a speech made "fairly recently", when you consider that life has a tendency to fly by....... Perhaps you'll figure out the speaker quickly. You can read the whole speech here.

I quote:

Our energy plan will also include a number of specific goals, to measure our progress toward a stable energy system.

These are the goals we set for 1985:

--Reduce the annual growth rate in our energy demand to less than two percent.

--Reduce gasoline consumption by ten percent below its current level.

--Cut in half the portion of United States oil which is imported, from a potential level of 16 million barrels to six million barrels a day.

--Establish a strategic petroleum reserve of one billion barrels, more than six months' supply.

--Increase our coal production by about two thirds to more than 1 billion tons a year.

--Insulate 90 percent of American homes and all new buildings.

--Use solar energy in more than two and one-half million houses.

We will monitor our progress toward these goals year by year. Our plan will call for stricter conservation measures if we fall behind.

I cant tell you that these measures will be easy, nor will they be popular. But I think most of you realize that a policy which does not ask for changes or sacrifices would not be an effective policy.

This plan is essential to protect our jobs, our environment, our standard of living, and our future.

Whether this plan truly makes a difference will be decided not here in Washington, but in every town and every factory, in every home an don every highway and every farm.

I believe this can be a positive challenge. There is something especially American in the kinds of changes we have to make. We have been proud, through our history of being efficient people.

We have been proud of our leadership in the world. Now we have a chance again to give the world a positive example.

And we have been proud of our vision of the future. We have always wanted to give our children and grandchildren a world richer in possibilities than we've had. They are the ones we must provide for now. They are the ones who will suffer most if we don't act.

I've given you some of the principles of the plan.

I am sure each of you will find something you don't like about the specifics of our proposal. It will demand that we make sacrifices and changes in our lives. To some degree, the sacrifices will be painful -- but so is any meaningful sacrifice. It will lead to some higher costs, and to some greater inconveniences for everyone.

But the sacrifices will be gradual, realistic and necessary. Above all, they will be fair. No one will gain an unfair advantage through this plan. No one will be asked to bear an unfair burden. We will monitor the accuracy of data from the oil and natural gas companies, so that we will know their true production, supplies, reserves, and profits.

The citizens who insist on driving large, unnecessarily powerful cars must expect to pay more for that luxury.

We can be sure that all the special interest groups in the country will attack the part of this plan that affects them directly. They will say that sacrifice is fine, as long as other people do it, but that their sacrifice is unreasonable, or unfair, or harmful to the country. If they succeed, then the burden on the ordinary citizen, who is not organized into an interest group, would be crushing.

There should be only one test for this program: whether it will help our country.

Other generation of Americans have faced and mastered great challenges. I have faith that meeting this challenge will make our own lives even richer. If you will join me so that we can work together with patriotism and courage, we will again prove that our great nation can lead the world into an age of peace, independence and freedom."

Jimmy Carter, "The President's Proposed Energy Policy." 18 April 1977. Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. XXXXIII, No. 14, May 1, 1977, pp. 418-420.

Thirty years later we begin to hear the same rhetoric, albeit with a touch of AlGorithm to damper Carter's enthusiastic 1977 coal endorsement. It wasn't hard to be a prophet back in the '70's.

How many years before we truly "reap what we have sown" and must come to terms with our devastating addiction. You think $4.00/gallon gasoline is a burden? Come on now, it's only the beginning. Let's face reality and begin the "12 step program" now, before it is too late.

Sustainability, Sustainability, Sustainability.

From pre-school to retirement village, let's embrace the mantra, model it, and incorporate it early into our educational systems so that it truly is our dominant paradigm.

Ah, I need some new birds to silence the rants...... But until then............Next entry:
Missouri's Clean Energy Initiative on the November Ballot!

1 comment:

marvin d said...

Well, said. I guessed it was Jimmy Carter. Of course, the development of coal now strikes fear into our hearts (and lungs), but in general he was on the right track given that climate change was not a hot topic.

I hope a lot of people read your last two blogs.