Is A Clean Energy Future Within Reach?
What does the future hold for America’s energy needs? Will we survive our precarious dependence on foreign oil and how will it affect the planet? According to the Obama administration, “We need to deploy American assets, innovation, and technology so that we can safely and responsibly develop more energy here at home and be a leader in the global energy economy.” Is the Administration up to the task of elevating America to be the global leader in innovation and consumption of alternative energy? The President has changed and improved many of America’s energy policies but their current road is not enough to bring this country to where we need to be for a cleaner and more secure energy future. The American Energy Innovation Council, made up of seven of the top CEOs and business leaders in America, such as Bill Gates, Foundation and Chairman of Microsoft, Norman Augustine, former Chairman of Lockheed Martin and Former Undersecretary of the Army, released a plan in a meeting at the White House in 2010 calling Congressional leaders to urgent action. Their report “A Business Plan for America’s Energy Future” summarizes that “in defense, health, agriculture, and information technology industries, this country has made a deliberate choice to use intelligent federal investments to unleash profound innovations. As a result, the country leads in all those realms. In energy, however, the United States has failed the grade, and is paying a heavy price for that failure.” The Problems they list are; faltering economic competitiveness, direct economic costs of constrained energy choices, national security (oil importing), and environmental dangers from pollution and climate change. They point out in their conclusion that “There is no way to make the progress this country requires on energy technology without increasing RD&D (Research, Development and Deployment) budgets”. The report goes on to list 5 clear and concise recommendations on how to accomplish it. They state that “most of the technologies that underlie the current energy system were invented decades ago, and are increasingly costly, brittle, and incompatible with a clean future. In almost every realm of energy, we can develop and deploy new technologies that are more efficient, secure, and clean. Technology can be a game changer.” The U.S. is currently dedicating much of their efforts into reducing imports of foreign oil. Since President Obama took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has decreased every year. Imported oil accounts for only 45% what America consumed in 2011. Domestic oil and natural gas production has increased every year President Obama has been in office. In 2011, the U.S. crude oil production reached its highest level since 2003. It increased by an estimated 120,000 barrels per day over the 2010 levels of 5.6 million barrels per day. We currently have a record number of oil rigs operating, more than the rest of the world combined. Put into perspective, how much oil does America consume? “Surprising Facts About the U.S. and Oil”, by Charles Hugh Smith, estimates on Feb 28th 2011, we go through 18.8 million barrels per day (MBD). More than twice the amount of the next largest consumer, which is China using 8.3 MBD (Smith). We consume more than the next four nations combined, but is producing more oil the answer? There are many reasons to look for alternatives; depletion of the supply, global warming, pollution, and more. Some solutions are to reduce consumption by changing auto efficiency. The Whitehouse report “A Secure Energy Future progress report” states that In 2011 President Obama announced the next phase in the Administration’s national program to increase the efficiency of light-duty cars and trucks. In addition the Obama Administration is bolstering U.S. manufacturing capabilities to reach the President’s goal of putting one million electric...
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