02 February 2006

Credit where it's due: GWB on oil dependency.

For now, I plan to post very little on politics. I spend lots of time thinking about it, but at the moment I find it more valuable to talk about other things.

That having been said, I want to give kudos to President Bush--with whom I disagree about many, many things--for at least talking a good game about reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

The relevant quote from Tuesday's State of the Union address:

Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative energy sources -- and we are on the threshold of incredible advances.

So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative -- a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research -- at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies, and clean, safe nuclear energy. (Applause.)

We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We'll also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn, but from wood chips and stalks, or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years. (Applause.)

Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. (Applause.) By applying the talent and technology of America, this country can dramatically improve our environment, move beyond a petroleum-based economy, and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past. (Applause.)

This is admirable, I'm glad Bush said it, and he should be commended for saying it. Here's hoping that he actually puts all of this into action in a meaningful way. But the skepticism of environmentalists is easy to understand.

For more, here is the Guardian's take on the subject.


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