LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for BEST-L Archives


BEST-L Archives

BEST-L Archives


BEST-L@LISTS.UFL.EDU


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

BEST-L Home

BEST-L Home

BEST-L  June 2008

BEST-L June 2008

Subject:

a stimulating column calling for Manhattan project on energy

From:

"Humphrey,Stephen R" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Humphrey,Stephen R

Date:

Fri, 27 Jun 2008 15:09:37 -0400

Content-Type:

multipart/related

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (57 lines) , colhed_Seib_Gerald.jpg (57 lines) , NA-AR018_CAPJOU_20080623180423.gif (57 lines) , OB-BR800_CAPJOU_20080623180318.jpg (57 lines)

Ignore the political rant and see the last paragraph, especially the idea of a commission to offer science advice as a way around the problem of polarized politicians picking winners and losers beyond all reason.


Dr. Stephen R. Humphrey, Director of Academic Programs,
School of Natural Resources and Environment,
Box 116455, 103 Black Hall, University of Florida
Gainesville, FL  32611-6455  USA
Tel. 352-392-9230, Fax 352-392-9748
http://snre.ufl.edu<http://snre.ufl.edu/>

CAPITAL JOURNAL
By GERALD F. SEIB       [http://online.wsj.com/img/colhed_Seib_Gerald.jpg]





Oil Woes Fail to Stir Leadership
June 24, 2008; Page A2

Why is Rep. Randy Forbes all alone out there?

Rep. Forbes is an earnest Republican congressman from Virginia who has distinguished himself by calling for a "Manhattan Project" to fully end the U.S.'s dependence on foreign energy within 20 years. The Manhattan Project label harks back to the government's crash project to develop and field a nuclear weapon within just a few years to prevail in World War II.

[http://s.wsj.net/public/resources/images/NA-AR018_CAPJOU_20080623180423.gif]

The implication is that the country's fate is no less at stake now that its economy is being held hostage by a world oil market so out of control that even Saudi Arabia is watching helplessly. The surprise here lies not in Rep. Forbes's proposal, though it is an interesting call for mandated higher auto fuel efficiency and expanded use of biofuels and nuclear and solar power, overseen by a new national science commission and fueled by big cash prizes dangled before scientists to conjure up solutions.

The surprising thing is that there aren't 100 Randy Forbes out there, issuing similar calls to arms to seize this moment and finally cure the country's oil addiction. As it happens, Rep. Forbes says he went roaming the Capitol looking for partners -- and found no takers.

"We scoured the halls of Congress because we wanted to join up with somebody else who's thought about these issues and who's come up with some ideas, and we kept coming up empty," he says.

Here, then, is the real energy shortage in America. The stunning part of Washington's reaction to $4-a-gallon gasoline is that there has been so little reaction at all. This is as close as the country has been to a genuine energy crisis in 30 years, yet there has been no unifying cry to mount the ramparts as a nation, to rally together to rid America of the curse of oil addiction, to rise to this challenge as America has to others in its history.

INSTEAD, the energy "debate" that has emerged is mostly a lame repeat of 20-year-old arguments over the virtues of offshore oil drilling and a series of congressional hearings on the role speculators have in driving up the price of oil that have nothing to do with actually increasing the production of energy. As presidential candidates, Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama are at least trying to rally the country -- Sen. McCain by devoting virtually two whole weeks of his campaign to the topic -- but the effort has served mostly to highlight their differences.

[http://s.wsj.net/public/resources/images/OB-BR800_CAPJOU_20080623180318.jpg]
Newscom
Randy Forbes

There are several possible explanations for this meekness in the face of challenge, but the most likely, and the most distressing, is this: America and its political leaders, after two decades of failing to come together to solve big problems, seem to have lost faith in their ability to do so. A political system that expects failure doesn't try very hard to produce anything else. If you wonder why voters have made "change" the catchword of this campaign year, that's a pretty good explanation.

This timidity in the face of challenge troubles Rep. Forbes. "Maybe one of the reasons we've developed some of the mediocrity we have is that we aren't thinking bigger," he says. "I really hope for once we can lay aside the partisan bickering, and we can lay aside the posturing."

THE PROBLEM, of course, is that there is little sign that Washington, in its current state of gridlock and partisan paralysis, is capable of doing that. When President Clinton tried to overhaul the health-care system, he couldn't get even a committee vote on his plan in a Congress his party controlled. When President George W. Bush tried to revamp Social Security, he couldn't get even a committee vote on his plan in a Congress his party controlled.

Last year's effort to overhaul the U.S.'s deeply flawed immigration system collapsed what once looked like a rare bipartisan success. President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" education program has become a partisan football. An energy bill that passed after much effort earlier in this Congress now seems limp when compared with the threat that energy prices suddenly pose to the American economy.

Washington, in short, has no recent track record in solving big problems. That hardly means the only route for such solutions is big-government programs. Rep. Forbes, for example, is hardly a wild-eyed liberal proposing a bureaucratic solution on energy. He's a conservative Republican who in 2006 won a 100% rating from the Chamber of Commerce for his voting record.

He doesn't argue that government can or should solve the problem for Americans watching in horror as the dollars add up at the gas pump. "Government won't do it for them," he says. "Government can't. But we're saying we can lay the challenge out for the American people."

What he proposes, in short, is that government lead by providing inspiration and incentive. A bill he has introduced lists seven areas where America needs to do more -- gas mileage, energy efficiency, solar power, biofuels, clean coal, nuclear-waste storage and nuclear fusion -- and proposes that government form a national science commission and offer cash incentives to prod academics and private scientists to solve the problems blocking progress in each area. It may not be the perfect answer, but its author hopes it's at least an inspirational start.

Write to Gerald F. Seib at [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

July 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LISTS.UFL.EDU

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager