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PSR's Response to President Bush's State of the Union Energy Initiatives

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  • mtneuman@juno.com
    Physicians for Social Responsibilities Response to President Bush s State of the Union Energy Initiatives In his address to the nation earlier this week,
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 3, 2006
      Physicians for Social Responsibilities' Response to President Bush's
      State of the Union Energy Initiatives

      In his address to the nation earlier this week, President Bush unveiled
      what appeared to be a number of broad and ambitious new energy
      initiatives aimed at reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
      Unfortunately for American consumers, the new proposals are too little,
      too late from an administration that often talks about diversifying our
      energy portfolio, but has so far failed to craft policies that actually
      move the nation toward energy independence. The time for talk is long
      past. What we need now is action.

      While President Bush pledged to replace over 75 percent of our Middle
      Eastern oil imports by 2025, that achievement would constitute only an
      8.25 percent decrease in total oil use over 19 years. Moreover, a day
      after Bush gave his address, his Energy Secretary, Samuel Bodman told
      reporters "he didn't mean it literally," and went on to explain that
      because oil is a "freely traded global commodity... it would be very
      difficult to reduce imports from any single region."

      President Bush's promise to increase funding for renewable energy and
      alternative fuels was also significantly less than meets the eye.
      According to Dan Reicher, an assistant energy secretary for renewable
      fuels and conservation under President Clinton, the administration's
      proposed funding increases "would barely get renewable-energy funding
      back to where it was at the end of [the last] administration."
      Additionally, though Bush proposed increased funding for solar energy
      research, this expansion would bring total spending on solar energy to
      just $148 million--less than it was in 1980 and an amount dwarfed by the
      $3 billion that California will be spending on its own solar energy
      initiative this year alone.

      The most important part of the President's State of the Union address was
      not what it included, but what it left out. While investment in renewable
      energy and alternative fuels would be an important step in the right
      direction, the President gave little attention to the most effective
      tools for reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil-conservation and energy
      efficiency. Though conservation and increases in energy efficiency and
      fuel economy are likely to have the greatest impact on our oil imports
      and total oil demand, the President refused to support initiatives
      mandating cleaner, more efficient cars and trucks.

      Moreover, throughout the State of the Union speech, President Bush never
      mentioned climate change or global warming, suggesting that he does not
      take seriously one of the gravest threats to human society. While the
      rest of the world moves forward in its efforts to reduce global
      greenhouse gas emissions, the Bush administration continues to oppose
      mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions while it threatens to silence
      respected climate scientists like James E. Hansen, Ph.D., director of
      NASA's respected Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

      President Bush was right to acknowledge America's addiction to oil. His
      vision for how we can overcome this addiction, however, is wrong. America
      needs cleaner, safer, renewable energy sources to reduce our dependence
      on oil and other fuel sources that pollute our air and threaten our
      national security. And though the President mentioned nuclear power,
      that's no solution either. If the Chernobyl disaster and the meltdown at
      Three Mile Island are not enough of a deterrent to nuclear energy, the
      threat of a nuclear weapon in the hands of a terrorist regime certainly
      eliminate nuclear power from the list of viable energy sources.

      Through conservation and the use of existing technologies, we already
      have the capacity to greatly boost our energy efficiency, reduce our
      emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, and decrease our dependence
      on foreign oil. We know what works and we're all in this together. It's
      time to get started.
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