Monday, December 21, 2009

Copenhagen Update: What's Next?

What can we expect to happen next after the breakdown in Copenhagen? Considering that no deadline was put in place to reach an international accord, it seems safe to say that such an agreement is easily several years away, particularly in light of the great differences that exist on the major issues, like binding emission reductions.

The outcome in Copenhagen is also going to make it very hard for Senate Democrats, particularly those from Midwestern manufacturing states, to vote for anything that resembles the House bill. Considering China had little interest in even talking to our President in Copenhagen, those senators should be wary of voting for any bill that will send jobs in their states overseas. That is exactly what cap and trade will do.

Just as the Kyoto Accord should be torn up and a whole new approach developed, the same can be said of climate legislation before Congress. While we have been busy debating climate bills, China and India’s economies have continued to grow. China has spent the last year buying up energy and mineral resources around the world, including the Canadian oil sands. Meanwhile, we engage in a completely pointless either/or debate about energy. If we don’t wake up, we will find our energy security severely compromised in the not-to-distant future.

We need to refocus the U.S. debate so that it is about energy security and independence and how best to drive the technology needed to achieve both. The discussion needs to recognize the need for more nuclear power, the important role fossil fuels will continue to play, the need for economically sustainable renewable energy, and how to best drive energy efficiency. Greenhouse gas emission reductions will be a byproduct of this effort.

We will need all of these approaches to meet our future energy needs and increase our energy security. We cannot continue to delude ourselves into thinking one or two technologies alone will make the difference. The time to change the conversation is now, before it is too late.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome your comments about today’s important energy issues.

Please keep in mind that comments will be reviewed before posting. Any comments that include offensive language, personal attacks, or statements that could be interpreted as hatred or harassment will not be posted.

Thank you for helping us keep an informative, thought-provoking site.