Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bush on U.S. energy dependence

Here's part of the text of President Bush's State of the Union in which he states that (1) the U.S. is too dependent on foreign sources for our energy and (2) the way out is through technology and alternative fuels. His only mention of saving through conservation is through an "increase the supply of alternative fuels."

In the Democratic Party response, Senator Jim Webb affirmed that the way to energy independence is through "a wave of entrepreneurial growth in the form of alternate energy programs."

Our insatiable diet for fuel is already starving our Mexican neighbors and it will only get worse, but oh well.

Extending hope and opportunity depends on a stable supply of energy that keeps America's economy running and America's environment clean. For too long our nation has been dependent on foreign oil. And this dependence leaves us more vulnerable to hostile regimes, and to terrorists -- who could cause huge disruptions of oil shipments, raise the price of oil and do great harm to our economy.

It is in our vital interest to diversify America's energy supply -- and the way forward is through technology. We must continue changing the way America generates electric power -- by even greater use of clean coal technology ... solar and wind energy ... and clean, safe nuclear power. We need to press on with battery research for plug-in and hybrid vehicles, and expand the use of clean diesel vehicles and biodiesel fuel. We must continue investing in new methods of producing ethanol -- using everything from wood chips, to grasses, to agricultural wastes.

We have made a lot of progress, thanks to good policies in Washington and the strong response of the market. Now even more dramatic advances are within reach. Tonight, I ask Congress to join me in pursuing a great goal. Let us build on the work we have done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next ten years -- thereby cutting our total imports by the equivalent of three-quarters of all the oil we now import from the Middle East.

To reach this goal, we must increase the supply of alternative fuels, by setting a mandatory fuels standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017 -- this is nearly five times the current target. At the same time, we need to reform and modernize fuel economy standards for cars the way we did for light trucks -- and conserve up to eight and a half billion more gallons of gasoline by 2017.

Achieving these ambitious goals will dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but will not eliminate it. So as we continue to diversify our fuel supply, we must also step up domestic oil production in environmentally sensitive ways. And to further protect America against severe disruptions to our oil supply, I ask Congress to double the current capacity of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil. These technologies will help us become better stewards of the environment -- and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change.


  1. "clean coal" and "safe nuclear" are oxymorons.

  2. What that article leaves out is that it's largely white corn that there is as shortage of, since that's what is used for tortilla's. Mexico traditionally doesn't allow white corn imports to protect it's native growers. There is evidence that this has more to do with price gouging by white corn growers, than a lack of white corn on the international market.

  3. The idea that we will be able to maintain our current habits through the magic of emerging technologies is absurd. In order to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we need to reduce our total energy consumption. That means we need to first address the infrastructure that we have built that makes living without a car difficult. Sprawling suburban development is not sustainable no matter what the cars happen to run on. Changing habits is more important than changing the fuels that we use. Of course, it is much more popular to tout pipe dream technologies than to make a real call for change (with maybe a bit of sacrifice), so I am not surprised when most politicians, Republican and Democrat, take the easy approach. I am glad that Bush is talking about energy dependence, but I would like to hear some real solutions. He should think about it next time he rides that fancy mountain bike of his.

  4. If I have a mocha latte and two frosted blueberry pop-tarts before leaving on my bike, could that be considered alternative fuel?

  5. If I have a mocha latte and two frosted blueberry pop-tarts before leaving on my bike, could that be considered alternative fuel?

    Hah! I was doing my taxes last night and noticed a deduction for using alcohol as fuel. I was wondering if I could deduct all the beer I drink before and after my rides.

    James is right--technology isn't really going to save us. And burning food (food! Think about that for a moment.) isn't going to help either.

  6. There's also a danger that your country is going to elect madmen because they promise to sustain an unsustainable way of life. No good can come of that.

  7. See Robert Samuelson's OP-ED in today's Washingtonpost.com


    New Technologies are good, but can not and will not lessen our dependence on oil.