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August 17, 2008 / Mridul

Rigid Approach, Flip Flops Keep US From Being A Renewable Energy Leader

Rigid approach, lack of will to act swiftly & decisively and inability to stand firm by their decisions – these are the problems that plague the presidential candidates and the US Congress and for which the whole nation is suffering. Their talks of energy independence are limited to independence from imported oil no one seems interested to get rid of the fossil fuels which are the real culprits for rising global temperatures and fluctuating weather patterns.

The candidates and the elected members of the Congress seem so ignorant while formulating energy policies. While supporting offshore oil drilling they easily brush off of the harsh lessons learned from some of the oil spills that the nation had to deal with, while pitching for more nuclear reactors and storage facilities they overlook even the recent nuclear mishaps and even after publicly stating that renewables are the future,

Solving our national energy crisis requires an ‘all of the above’ approach. That will require aggressive development of alternative energies like wind, solar, tidal, and biofuels. It also requires expanding traditional sources of energy like off-shore drilling, clean coal, and nuclear power, said McCain.

they refuse to provide subsidies to the consumers wanting to install renewable energy equipments.

I’m not one who believes that we need to subsidize things. The wind industry is doing fine, the solar industry is doing fine. In the ’70s, we gave too many subsidies and too much help, and we had substandard products sold to the American people, which then made them disenchanted with solar for a long time.

Not to forget Mr.McCain’s valuable contribution in Congress’ shameful feat of defeating the subsidies bill eight times in a single year.

He has missed all eight votes over the last year — which effectively counts as a no vote each time. Once, he was even in the Senate and wouldn’t leave his office to vote.

Democratic candidate Barack Obama too has flip flopped from his earlier stance on energy front.

Shifting from his previous opposition to expanded offshore drilling, the Illinois senator told a Florida newspaper he could get behind a compromise with Republicans and oil companies to prevent gridlock over energy.

Also compromising on her earlier stance is Speaker Nancy Pelosi who now has no objection to a vote on an offshore drilling bill.

Between all this came a report that projected United States as the global leader in wind energy. Also by certain estimations, by 2020 US could increase power generated from wind energy to 150 gigawatts. United States has the technological edge over rest of the world when we talk about renewable energy. It was in the US in 1970s that the Feed-in tariff system, which has now made Germany a renewable energy czar, was first introduced. And while the Congress still maintains its snail pace approach towards cap and trade system California has formed a carbon credits market comprising of Canadian and Mexican states in addition to several American states.

It is pretty clear that the US is bearing the brunt of the selfish motives of the politicians who consider extending subsidies to oil companies who are making windfall profits while refusing to extend subsidies to small solar power initiatives fearing that businesses of the big utilities would get affected. If a state like California which has the highest deficit can take such bold measures why can’t the leaders in Congress lift themselves above their greed and rigidity and take similar steps.

If the United States cannot take measures to cut its carbon emissions it won’t be able to make a case to ask the developing countries like India, which is a leader in carbon credits market and China, which is now the world leader in renewable energy.

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