How the events in Russia and Bill Clinton link to America’s energy policy
Two seemingly unrelated events are making headlines this week and inspired a rare spark of optimism for this reporter that perhaps, just perhaps, our political leaders might actually see what’s been right in front of them for decades.
As NATO struggles with an angry bear of Russia and mulls over the country’s weight as a major oil supplier to several of its participating nations, Bill Clinton kicked off the National Clean Energy Summit with a 10 point list of what he believes the United States government should do to help solve our energy crisis.
We’ve all heard it before, mostly in respect to the Middle East: When dangerous countries control oil supplies, the current oil-based energy policies employed by world leaders empower such dangerous countries. While Russia has yet to disrupt major pipelines, its aggression in Georgia exhibits a very tangible threat that should motivate the US to move toward energy independence and the security that that offers.
Cue our 42nd president. Clinton in Nevada (incongruously in power-hogging Las Vegas) Monday talked up the usual points for a clean energy economy, much of which will fall on the shoulders of engineers to accomplish. Sustainable biofuels, accelerating the move to hybrid and electric vehicles, LED lighting, and modernizing the electrical grid made up four on his top 10 points.
Nothing here is new. We’ve known for decades that the energy policies of the US and other world leaders have been empowering their enemies and things like our transportation choices need rethinking.
Yet, as a voting nation, we’ve done little to bring about energy reform. Arguably, Google, which Tuesday announced a $10 million investment for enhanced geothermal systems as its latest green action, has done more to positively influence energy policy than several of our recent federal administrations, including Clinton’s.
As many the blog has stated before, America’s dependency on oil puts our security at risk, as well as our standing as a world power. Energy independence is the avenue for America’s continuing prosperity and future peace.
Sadly, the time for energy independence isn’t now. It was during the Clinton/Gore administration, or better yet, 20 or 30 years ago. Had our previous leaders had that foresight, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in now.
Hmm. Look at that. That spark of optimism is already burning out. Share your thoughts on the situation and how engineers will help below.
–Suzanne Deffree, Managing Editor, News