A press release from the California headquarters of the fictional Candidate X presents his speech about America’s Energy Policy:
First of all, may I offer my sincere appreciation to the three other mainstream candidates for President this year: Obama, McCain, and Hilton. Their willingness to discuss the issues that matter most to this country in a substantive and intelligent fashion has made the campaign one of the most valuable and constructive in recent history.
My Fellow Americans, today we face a real Energy Crisis in our country. Fuel costs are out of control. Our dependence on outside sources for energy only increases.
Our problem comes not from abroad but from not adapting to our own changing energy reality.
Years ago, our country was an oil power; American oil was exported to nations around the world. Today we still think as if we have an energy surplus, but in reality we are sorely dependent on the rest of the world for much of our vitally needed energy.
This dependence on other nations makes us weaker as a country economically, politically, and in security matters. It causes massive pain to us at home as fuel costs rise, pushing up the prices of things we all need in order to live. It is today putting things we need out of reach for some Americans.
This urgent problem has to be addressed in the short and the long term, by both our people and the government. The government is not able to solve this problem on its own.
What is needed is a respectful partnership between the government and its citizens to jointly bring our country’s Energy Crisis under control. We suggest:
Things we all can do right now to save energy and money
1. Properly inflate your car tires to save gas (warning: over inflation can cause dangerous tire failure).
2. Have your car tuned up for fuel efficiency (by a reliable, skilled mechanic).
3. Remove things that don’t need to be in your car or trunk to save weight (but keep a good spare tire, jack, and emergency supplies).
4. Combine multiple errands into a single trip to drive fewer miles.
5. Use public transportation when practical.
6. Use less energy at home and at work by turning off unneeded equipment, by not using cooling and heating more than is needed, by only washing full loads of laundry when possible.
Things we all can do over time to save energy and money
1. Make better gas mileage a high priority when buying your next car.
2. If changing jobs, consider reducing your commute expense and time as an important factor in your choice.
3. Evaluate ways to make your residence and workplace more energy-efficient, such as, replacing appliances with Energy Star models, adding insulation, installing energy-efficient windows.
4. Keep low energy use in mind as you make the choices in your life.
5. Keep close watch on your government to see that they do the things described below.
Things the government can do right now to make our nation more energy-independent.
1. Allow some offshore oil drilling with environmental safeguards (this will never be a full solution but it can raise our morale as a nation and encourage a bipartisan approach to the problem).
2. Release some of the oil in our nation’s emergency oil reserve, temporarily increasing supplies.
3. Pass well-thought-out legislation that addresses our nation’s short- and long-term energy needs.
Things the government can do over time to make our nation more energy-independent
1. Maintain and report an Energy Independence Indicator (similar to the Consumer Price Index), showing the percent of our energy needs we are meeting from our own domestic American sources; also show us this historically (when we were energy suppliers) up to today (energy importers).
2. Acknowledge energy independence as the economic and national security issue it has always been and shape our national policies accordingly.
3. Evaluate every bill proposed in Congress for its effect on our energy independence.
4. Fund productive research aimed at increasing our energy independence.
5. Reduce subsidies for activities that prevent us from becoming more energy independent.
6. Find simple, cost-effective ways to encourage the American people to do the things described in the first two sections above.
7. Realize that the goal is having complete Energy Independence in a way that is consistent with our values as a nation.
8. Avoid thinking overly much about whose methods we adopt to reach our national goal.
9. Be bipartisan.
Energy Independence has always been possible for America and is still possible. We just have to realize how greatly we need it and how much better all our lives will be when we have Energy Independence again.
Thank you for listening and I hope you will all think even more deeply about Energy Independence. I ask that you please send me your ideas about how we can achieve Energy Independence. We must respectfully work together as a nation, citizens and government as equal partners, to make our nation Energy Independent once again.
Thank you for you kind attention.
Brad Belden is a Berkeley resident.