DemosNews: The Bridge
The Bridge
By: henry.stern

It is an experiment with truth to examine the future of American energy policy outside of the spotlight of political office, hidden from the watchful eye of market analysts, and freed from the pressures of perfectionism. The rhetoric of perfectionism, which infuses so much of our national dialogue on energy, is not only myopic; it is intellectually burdensome and unproductive. The gravity of climate change, the threats of geopolitical instability, the looming supply gap, the ballooning trade deficit and the American mantra of consumption as virtue-these are the challenges we face. And their collective weight, the gravity of the consequences and the fear of failure skews our thinking.

But fail we will.

The problems of climate change will come to roost. They already have. We will undoubtedly face periods of unemployment and economic depression. The risk and uncertainty in sourcing new energy to meet growing demand will continue. There will be more war.

But there will also be peace. For "Peace," as Pablo Neruda once wrote, "is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to live with it." The gravest dangers of global warming can be averted. The American economy can prosper. Energy demands can be met.

Our long-term energy policy must be one of principle. But we cannot get to this Oz of zero emissions power plants and hydrogen highways without adopting addressing the pragmatic challenges in the near term.

I hope this blog can help build a bridge somewhere between cynicism and perfectionism. Building this bridge, will require more efficient uses of the fossil fuels so deeply entrenched within our energy infrastructure. Near term supply must be met with more natural gas much of which must be sourced through imported LNG. Incentivizing energy efficiency, updating the grid, relicensing nuclear plants, investing heavily in renewables, and most importantly, adopting a national carbon mitigation policy are all critical as well.

But when our environmental heroes become heretics for putting a single toe on the shaky political ground of the energy bridge (e.g. the outcry following Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s op-ed applauding the consideration of an offshore LNG terminal north of Malibu, which has subsequently been abandoned by the Governator), we are in serious trouble. Before we embark on the historic mission to build this bridge, we must first be free to speak its name.

© 2021 henry.stern of DemosNews

May 20, 2007 at 5:37pm
DemosRating: 4.6
Hits: 1274

Genre: Politics (Western Hemisphere)
Type: Critical
Tags: energy, environment, climate, politics

henry.stern   react...
Raphael   Bravo! That is quite an elegant mission statement....
CalJack   You're making me want to get back into the Demos spirit agai...
CalJack   ...
CalJack   ...devious shades of green. http://www.boston.com/news/loca...
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