Monday, May 07, 2007

Profiles in Courage

Jeebus. Jon Tester, the new Dem senator from freakin' Montana has stopped an effort by Republicans to impose a coal-derived liquid fuel mandate on the Energy Bill. The mandate would have effectively killed the energy bill, all for parochial interests in the coal states... like Montana.

This is a particularly good example of the perils of talking about "energy security." I've written about this at Gristmill, but the bumper-sticker summary is this:

If you make energy a military-industrial issue, you'll get a military-industrial solution. That means no wind power, no solar panels, no efficiency. Instead, you get coal, nuclear, and increased dependence on the "reliable" providers like Canada.

The alternative is to make energy a climate change issue, emphasize efficiency, renewables, and other green goodies -- and you get energy security as a byproduct anyway. But the two partners in Tom Friedman's "Geo-green" coalition have totally different frames of reference, and it distorts the means that they're pushing for the goal of sustainability.

1 comment:

Tom Gray said...

Thanks, interesting post. One good way for Congress to focus more on alternative energy sources would be to include a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in the current energy bill. The RPS would require that a minimum percentage of electricity supply come from alternatives like wind and solar, and it's essential in responding to the twin challenges of growing electricity demand and global warming.

Thomas O. Gray
American Wind Energy Association