The energy problem is not new. For the past thirty-five years, seven presidents, beginning with Richard Nixon, have called for the U.S. to free ourselves from dependence on foreign oil. We in fact have gone backwards. We are more dependent today than we were thirty years ago. We have also made very little progress in implementing energy alternatives that strip oil of it’s strategic signficance on a world wide basis. In other words, over the past thirty years we have had a lot of political rhetoric, but very little progress.
Here is an opportunity for conservatives to frame a long term solution to the problem. We can and should take the lead! I suggest a three pronged approach.
Number one long term priority: A commitment to set us free from our dependence on oil as a transportation fuel.
We need this to be our guiding and impassioned objective for three reasons. Number one, for economic reasons. We cannot drill our way out of the cost of oil. World demand will grow by 50% over the next 20 years. As demand grows, there will be significant pressure on price. The added drilling we can do will help temporarily in world supply but it will not solve the problem long term. Ninety-seven percent of our oil is used for transportation. Three percent is used for producing electricity. Wind, solar, coal, natural gas, and nuclear are used to produce electricity. We need alternatives to our fuels for transportation. We could work out a perfect solution with electric cars as one alternative where we rely on cheap electricity produced from nuclear power to recharge cars at night. We might also develop something even more far reaching and innovative such as genetically altered micro-organisms that actually produce hydrogen and ethanol. Craig Vetner, who mapped the genetic code, is actually working on such an experiment today. There are innumerable solutions. Here is where the government must provide the inspiration for innovators to move forward with creative alternatives. Most importantly, when we say this is our number one priority, we have to mean it.
The second reason from our independence from oil is political. Oil is the currency of terrorism. Oil is also the currency used to fund our problems in the Middle East. We spend vast amounts of money to insure oil lanes around the world will remain open if an armed conflict does erupt. We also lose moral credibility in the world when people see we support petro-dictators like Saudi Arabia just to insure they keep up their supply of oil to our country.
Doug Wilson is the the co-author, with Edwin Feulner, of Getting America Right: The True Conservative Values Our Nation Needs Today.
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