We’re hearing a lot from groups that are using the wide-open presidential race to try to twist candidates’ arms (gently, but insistently) to talk seriously about the issues that have been most assiduously avoided in this
country: health care, education, and the like.
Today, it was a group pushing the issue dearest to our hearts here at Energy Party
Visiting more or less under the auspices of Conservation Voters of South Carolina were the following:
- John Ramsburgh (upper right), Project Director, Conservation Voters of South Carolina
- Navin Nayak (below left), Global Warming Project Director, League of Conservation Voters
- Ann Timberlake (below right), Exec. Dir., Conservation Voters of South Carolina
- Cary Chamblee (bottom left), lobbyist, Sierra Club and SC Wildlife Federation
Their message about the need for a rational, comprehensive energy policy is a most timely one, in three ways:
- Voters across the spectrum are ready to demand real answers from candidates.
- You can’t win the War on Terror without it.
- It’s necessary to save the planet.
Read more about their movement here.
Particularly with Democrats Obama and Dodd starting to say some things that make sense (although Dodd’s "Corporate Carbon Tax" is a ideological copout — everybody needs to pay more for wasting energy, or you accomplish nothing), while Biden
long has done so, and McCain has been trying to do something for some time in the Senate, and even Bush (who’s he) getting on board, I’ll be listening with some anxiety to hear what some of these other folks who actually could be president have to say tonight.
The conservation groups are not putting their collective imprimatur on anybody’s plan, much less endorsing candidates. They’re just insisting that candidates have a plan so we can have a real discussion for once, extending beyond ideological platitudes.
Here’s what I think: We’ll have to do every practical thing that any of these candidates are talking about, and then a whole lot more, just to begin to get real and have the necessary effect to win the war, save the planet and other important stuff.
And yes, we should start with the plan Tom Friedman and other pundits keep pushing: A big ol’ honking tax to bring the price of oil up permanently. Most of the rest of a get-real energy plan would flow from, or at least be encouraged by, that essential move. Here’s a taste of his latest on that subject:
Everyone has an energy plan for 2020. But we need one for 2007 that will start to have an impact by 2008 — and there is only one way to do that: get the price of oil right. Either tax gasoline by another 50 cents to $1 a gallon at the pump, or set a $50 floor price per barrel of oil sold in America. Once energy entrepreneurs know they will never again be undercut by cheap oil, you’ll see an explosion of innovation in alternatives.
For the rest of the column, you’ll have to read the paper tomorrow.