Or we could just wait 'til the oil runs out and wing it.
How to win the energy war
Frank G. Zarb, May 23, 2007 (International Herald Tribune)
Frank G. Zarb was US “energy czar,” served in the Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations and headed the Nasdaq, among many other distinguished positions. Aside from not being able to hold a job for very long, he seems more than qualified to express an opinion.
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The U.S. failure to accommodate reality by its ongoing dependence on foreign oil and how that can be addressed.
In this op-ed piece, Mr. Zarb contends the U.S. has failed to move away from dependence on foreign oil for 30 years despite its ability to eliminate this vulnerability, an historical anomaly as well as a political mistake.
Mr. Zarb lays the failure to make this change at the feet of U.S. political leadership.
- Four “facts”: No. 1: US vulnerability to interrupted oil supply; No. 2: Foreign, military and economic policy dependence on oil; No. 3: Failure to act after the 1973 Arab oil embargo, when imports were 35% of consumption; No. 4: Lack of response is a lack of political will.
- Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush may all be implicated.
- Zarb’s energy plan ground rules to reduce oil consumption & increase other energy supplies over a 10 to 12 year period: 1. gas prices must signal a change in driving and car-buying: a 50 cent/gallon gas tax (rebates for low-income taxpayers, revenue to incentivize fuel-efficient vehicles, 4% annual improvement in CAFE standards); 2. nuclear power plants (federal streamlining of licensing and site approval)
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“The basic elements of a responsible energy policy are not complicated, but the politics are horrendous. Still, we can't continue to throw empty rhetoric at the issue, using the oil companies as political punching bags and relying on our troops to keep the oil flowing.
I once told President Ford that some of our energy proposals were angering both Democrats and Republicans. His reply: "We must have it just right!" If only the presidential candidates could show the same sort of courage.”