The problem with the current energy debate is that on the one hand, the right’s solutions will keep the economy humming for the next twenty years after which there will be a massive energy crisis.
On the other hand, the left’s solutions will crash the economy today with the well-intentioned goal of transitioning the American economy from a fossil-fuel-based one to a green one.
Both sides have some good ideas, but in totality their policies are both too doctrinaire. The right, for the most part, refuses to consider policies that support green energy, while the left refuses to expand domestic extraction of fossil fuels that might ease the transition to a green economy.
The problem with the right, as I see it, is that it simply does not have a dog in the clean energy fight. As a result, the right can only oppose clean energy policies because few have educated themselves on the benefits and pitfalls of this alternative.
The end result is that the left owns this issue. While many on the left know what they are talking about, others do not.
The danger is that the right cannot tell the difference.
This ignorance is a major problem, because some on the left who have no clue about clean energy have a great deal of political power. Witness the witless Nancy Pelosi in her interview on Meet the Press in August 2008 when she proposed replacing fossil fuels with…wait for it…a fossil fuel.
Of course, natural gas is a fossil fuel, but notice how Tom Brokaw did not bother to challenge her on her multiple and misguided assertions on this topic.
The right needs a dog in this fight before it is too late.
I thought the administration was moving toward more offshore drilling just as the BP spill happened and all that got put on hold. Where are we now. If anywhere…
No worries. There is now a boom in oil shale that analysts think can increase U.S. production by 30%. More on that later…
The question, of course, is: How do you sell it?
Personally, I’ve always had vastly more success working the energy independence angle, since the climate change angle is… more difficult to quantify.
It’s easier to get someone agreeing with the idea of telling the oil-producing nations to go hang, than it is to get them to agree with the idea that *something* could happen to the climate if we continue with an unchecked global fossil fuel economy.
That’s the angle I am taking. However, at some point the economic argument will kick in as will the environmental argument. But I agree with you.
On issues like this we need pragmatism not ideology. Both the left and right sometimes forget that ideologies are simplified interpretations of reality to help us try to understand what’s going on. They fall to the temptation to interpret reality through their ideology, meaning that the maintaining the ideology becomes more important than understanding reality. Both sides do this — it’s easier to think in terms of ideological beliefs than have to confront the dilemmas and difficulties of a reality that often defies any easily defined ideology.
I completely agree. The problem is that the ideologues are in charge.
Would ethanol have been a right wing dog, given it support in farm states, that also tend to be conservative. Though that’s sad as ethanol I think really, really is a dog. It take a lot of energy to make, and puts upward pressure on food prices as well.
I would put ethanol in the camp of bipartisan dog. If you are a Democrat or Republican politician in the heartland, ethanol is good politics. Unfortunately, for everyone else it is bad economics, bad business, a waste of taxpayer dollars, a less efficient fuel, and is terrible for food security. 😉