Puttin’ on the heat

We’re hearing a lot from groups that are using the wide-open presidential race to try to twistRamsburgh_2 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:

Their message about the need for a rational, comprehensive energy policy is a most timely one, in three ways:

  1. Voters across the spectrum are ready to demand real answers from candidates.
  2. You can’t win the War on Terror without it.
  3. It’s necessary to save the planet.

Read more about their movement here.

NayakParticularly 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.Timberlake

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 theseChamblee 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.

3 thoughts on “Puttin’ on the heat

  1. Randy E

    Energy plan with this Republican field? There’s no room for that in a platform of 911, gay marriage, 911, abortion, 911, tax cuts, and 911.
    I was waiting for America’s Mayor to tie in abortion rights with 911.

  2. Brad Warthen

    I ran into Navin Nayak and John Ramsburgh after the debate tonight. They were pretty disappointed. Even the one or two candidates who have some thoughts on energy didn’t bother to bring it up.
    I share their disappointment.

  3. bud

    This just shows how out of touch politicians, especially Republicans, are with the real issues. There was considerable talk about taxes, the phony war on terror and immigration. But nary a word about health care or energy. I guess $3+/gallon gasoline prices don’t affect the average Republican millionare.

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