Thursday, May 6, 2010

In the oil spill disaster, a huge opportunity?

Thomas L. Friedman 

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Thomas L. Friedman

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman writes:

“The only meaningful response to this man-made disaster is a man-made energy bill that would finally put in place an American clean-energy infrastructure that would set our country on a real, long-term path to ending our addiction to oil.”

Friedman says that the oil  spill is to the environment “what the subprime mortgage mess was to the markets — both a wake-up call and an opportunity to galvanize a constituency for radical change that overcomes the powerful lobbies and vested interests that want to keep us addicted to oil.”

Whether or not the nation capitalizes on the opportunity depends, Friedman believes, on the guy behind the desk where the buck inevitably stops.

“ If President Obama wants to seize this moment, it is there for the taking. We have one of the worst environmental disasters in American history on our hands. We have a public deeply troubled by what they’ve seen already — and they’ve probably seen only the first reel of this gulf horror show. And we have a bipartisan climate/energy/jobs bill ready to be introduced in the Senate — produced by Senators John Kerry, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham — that would set a price on carbon and begin to shift us to a system of cleaner fuels, greater energy efficiency and unlock an avalanche of private capital to the clean energy market.

“American industry is ready to act and is basically saying to Washington: “Every major country in the world, starting with China, is putting in clear, long-term market rules to stimulate clean energy — except America. Just give us some clear rules, and we’ll do the rest.”


What do you think?  Is America missing the boat?  What is our national energy policy?  Do we even have one?  Is a national carbon tax preferable to ‘cap-and-trade’ ? And will it get us moving in the direction we need to go?  Click on the tiny ”comments’ line below and tell us what you think.  


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