Tom and Jerry: Defenders of All Things Right and Good

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Energy Part 1 - Priorities for Energy Policy

Energy drives cars, moves our goods, heats and cools our homes and enables our economy to grow. We are completely dependant on inexpensive energy to sustain our way of life. Gasoline prices are approaching $5 a gallon and utilities cost more than ever before. Our supply of affordable energy is at risk. This country is facing an energy crisis. Aside from the non-negotiable moral issues of life and marriage (100k pdf), nothing is more important in this election year than sound energy policy. That is why I starting a blog series to examine the issues relating to energy. I'll cut through the spin and the rhetoric and get down to the truth.

First, lets talk politics. I'll say for the record that I am voting for John McCain mainly because of his pro-life values, his willingness to support marriage and his national security credentials. However, I will not let my support of McCain bias this report. I will say upfront that some of McCain's energy proposals are good, but some are very bad. The same is true about Obama's energy plan. The solution to this energy crisis will require Republicans and Democrats to cooperate to do what is right for this great nation.

Second, advocates of various energy solutions often have different objectives. There are three energy objectives which are most common among well meaning people. Here they are listed in the order according to my priorities:

  1. Securing energy independence for the United States
  2. Reducing the pollution of our environment
  3. Reducing the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere

Often these objectives overlap, but sometimes they compete. For example: coal is an affordable source of energy which can be used to help secure our energy independence, but it produces quite a but of CO2. Nuclear energy releases no greenhouse gases, but it can pollute the environment in other ways.

Another point worth mentioning is that there is a distinction between #2 and #3. Many make the mistake of thinking greenhouse gases are pollutants. However, the two most common greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor (H2O) are clean and natural. Humans exhale CO2 with every breath. Plants breath CO2 and convert it to oxygen. Water is a critical ingredient in all life. Aside from the possibility that CO2 may cause global warming, there is nothing harmful about CO2, and it is certainly not a pollutant. However, despite the facts, many in the media unfairly disparage this clean gas.

In future posts we examine these objectives, see why I have prioritized them and consider policy options that can lead to real energy solutions. Stay tuned.

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