By Grant Smith
Energy policy in the United States is more a political game than a serious public discussion. The newest incarnation of energy policy-by-advertising-
campaigns is the Clean Energy Standard, supported by the President and various members of Congress.
You really have to suspend reality once you head down the CES route. The premise is that we need all energy technologies to meet our electric demand, regardless of risk to the public pocketbook or to the public health. It includes the oxymoron of clean coal and cheap, safe nuclear power. There is simply no way that coal and nuclear power can deliver a sustainable economy or a healthy population.
While US policymakers chase after the politically expedient CES, the European Union, the largest economy in the world, has been seriously working towards a sustainable electric grid. The EU adopted a resolution that by 2020 all new buildings have to be zero energy buildings (i.e. use as much energy as they generate). It has also set specific targets for renewable energy. The European Parliament recognized in 2007 the “Third Industrial Revolution” (the confluence of telecommunications technology, renewable technology, and energy efficiency) as “the long-term economic vision and road map for the European Union.” (Rifkin, 2011) This is not to say that there are no differences of opinion among European governments, but US policymakers, all from the same country, can’t even agree what day it is. And there is no serious public discourse on how to move forward.
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