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February 20, 2006

Bush: Energy Breakthroughs Coming Energy  Politics

Bush has taken his show on the road to talk up the energy proposals he outlined in the State of the Union. AP:

Saying the nation is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that would "startle" most Americans, President Bush on Monday outlined his energy proposals to help wean the country off foreign oil. [...]

One of Bush's proposals would expand research into smaller, longer-lasting batteries for electric-gas hybrid cars, including plug-ins. He highlighted that initiative with a visit Monday to the battery center at Milwaukee-based auto-parts supplier Johnson Controls Inc. [...]

While Bush is highlighting his budget proposals to help wean America from foreign oil, the lab he visited is meeting a $28 million shortfall by cutting its staff by 32 people, including eight researchers. [...]

Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., questioned Bush's energy policies Monday, saying the administration also supports subsidies for luxury SUVs.

"This single tax subsidy dwarfs anything being done for hybrid batteries," Markey said in a news release. [Emphasis added]

More inadvertent irony, as he makes his big speech at a lab that's cutting back for lack of funding.

It's a good thing, I guess, that Bush is calling attention to energy issues. But if he were a serious-minded grownup, he'd be pushing conservation as our highest priority. Raising CAFE standards. Ending subsidies on gas-guzzlers. Incentivizing fuel efficiency. But it's more expedient politically to tell people that technology will wave a magic wand and somehow make our problems go away, painlessly, no behavior changes required. Unfortunately, that's the exact wrong message to be sending.

The idea that technology will save us even if we do nothing — let alone do the wrong thing — is an idea that could prove fatal.

[Thanks, Charyn]

Posted by Jonathan at February 20, 2006 05:23 PM  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb