Tuesday, January 31, 2006

State of the Union

Unfortunately I cannot watch Bush speeches, so I will be missing the State of the Union tonight. So I must rely on news reports and second-hand analyses. A news release this afternoon says the president will address America's oil problem.

"America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world," he plans to say. "The best way to break this addiction is through technology."

Oil prices are inching toward $70 a barrel, and the president's goal of reducing dependence on foreign suppliers has been issued by the White House over the decades but never realized. Bush's primary proposal is to increase federal research into alternative fuels such as ethanol made from weeds or wood chips, instead of corn.

He also is to push for construction of new nuclear power plants and increased use of wind, solar and clean-coal technologies. (Associated Press)

I'm all for alternative fuels. It's one of the reasons I own a diesel as it is much more flexible as far as where its fuel can come from. (Recycled cooking oil, rape seed, coal, peanuts, etc.) Do I use an alternative fuel today? No, for that I'd have to drive up to Boulder. But I will as soon as one is available closer to where I live.

I'm also all for reducing foreign entanglements in unstable parts of the world. Not only is it risky but we are funding societies that are working against our ideals.

One thing I'd like to see is Bush to encourage America to conserve and to make do with less. Alas, we probably won't hear anything of that. We can have it all. Our grandfathers were asked to sacrifice during WW2; we are asked to spend spend spend to keep the economy going after 9/11. Buying that big-screen TV (made in China, contributing to our trade inbalance) and that new SUV (which consumes said oil) is supposed to be key to our national defense. Weird.

1 comment:

James Aach said...

I agree that conservation should be our first, second and third goals. The cheapest energy is the energy you don't use.

I'm not sure myself what our energy future should be, but I think we'll have a better shot at getting it right if we understand our energy present first.

One way to grab some knowledge on that and be entertained at the same time is to take a look at a techno-thriller novel called "Rad Decision" that is available at no cost to readers. This book, written by a longtime nuclear engineer (me), explores the real world of nuclear power as well as other electrical sources. Readers seem to like it, judging from comments on the website's homepage: RadDecision.blogspot.com.

"I'd like to see Rad Decision widely read." - Stewart Brand, founder of The Whole Earth Catalog