Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Ignoring energy is risky

At some point in the election cycle leading to November 2012, candidates for office will be talking around a national energy policy. In all likelihood, there will be charges and countercharges, but there will not be a meaningful discussion about the future of energy use and production because we Americans have, so far, shown practically zero interest in dealing with the real and significant costs and inconveniences that an effective energy policy would bring with it.

During the last presidential election, neither Republicans nor Democrats were all that serious either. Only Sarah Palin ginned up enthusiastic responses to the chimera that we can "drill, baby, drill" our way out of trouble.

Distracted by an economy in historic tatters, a nearly nonfunctional Congress and alternative energy experiments that shift into campaign issues, the Obama administration hasn't been able to get much deeper into real energy policy development.

Our energy problem is not that there are no solutions being proposed, or that our political leaders won't buckle down.

When will we Americans actually be willing to engage in a serious discussion about energy? When will we be willing to acknowledge that we can sustain our current profligate energy use only by spending incredible amounts of money and living with greater and greater political and environmental risks?

Are we going to dismiss those asking serious questions as European elitists or tree huggers, as we have to date?

Most risky of all, will we continue dependence on countries that we neither trust nor like and that do not trust or like us either?

Shakespeare nailed the answer in his play "Julius Caesar." "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves."

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