Becoming free from oil now | AspenTimes.com

Becoming free from oil now

KC Johnson
Aspen, CO Colorado

It occurred to me that, in listening to the news, the debate over global warming has become an argument over “the facts” and the ability to correctly predict the impact on our world. In listening to the conservative right (Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Pat Buchanan) it seems that their argument is to discredit the individual like they are doing to Al Gore (remember the story of kings of old who would “kill the messenger” or “the bearer of bad news”) or just plain deny the facts. Therefore, the result that is nothing happens from Congress or our president, which does not surprise me. Bush’s family’s fortune is in oil. Is there a slight conflict of interest here? Remember who Cheney picked to be on our presidential energy commission? All of them are in oil or gas, not one green energy representative. No wonder our energy policy is one-dimensional ” and look at our energy prices today. So, Democrats listen up, it’s time to reframe the issue.

I would love it if the presidential candidates (on both sides) would consider reframing the debate from “Global Warming” to “Energy Independence.” How can any politician or radio jockey argue against energy independence? And I am not talking about digging more wells, searching for more oil, which is a finite energy source. For years, the conservative right’s argument was that if we were to get off of oil, it would ruin our economy. My answer is look at Brazil. Thirty years ago they had the vision and political will to change their energy use from oil to ethanol using sugar cane. Their economy is healthy and robust, and their gas prices are not in the hands of the Middle East or greedy oil companies.

Remember back many years ago when the first automobile was invented? The horse carriage business lobbied heavily against the automobile using the same excuses we hear today from the oil companies. When our economy switched over, the only company that got hurt or left behind was the horse carriage business, that did not make the change to keep up with society’s needs. So we could say to the U.S. oil companies, look and learn from the past. And look at today’s Great Britain’s energy company, BP (British Petroleum), that has changed their name to Beyond Petroleum. … Very forward thinking and smart of them. Get on board, or get left behind!

Let’s look at what energy independence could do. If we invent the next engine such as hydrogen-powered vehicles (rumor has it that GM is leading the way on this) it would stop us from sending millions of dollars to the Middle East for oil and stop us from funding countries that support terrorism. It would allow the U.S. to own this new level of technology and sell it to the world (maybe we could pay off our U.S. debts); it would help control energy costs that are spiraling dangerously upward, negatively effecting our economy. And, don’t forget hydrogen engines emit water vapor that would help fight global warming, not to mention revitalize our auto industry which has been crushed by imports in the last 25 years, and, lastly, new technology would create new jobs. Show me the downside!

Remember our past. When America wanted to end World War II our government leaders led! Our politicians did not wait for the private sector or corporate America to solve the problem. Our government created the Manhattan Project, recruiting the top scientists to create an atomic bomb. In less than two years they accomplished their goal and ended World War II. Is it not possible that we could become energy independent in our next four-year presidential term? Of course it is. … Let’s stop listening to their excuses and demand that our leaders be leaders and not be oil/gas corporation puppets.

If a presidential candidate would take this platform of “energy independence” and run with it. … They’d no doubt win the presidency!