An Open Letter to the Next US President

August 13, 2008 at 9:37 am 1 comment

Dear Senator McCain and Senator Obama,

In less than 90 days the American people will be hitting the polls to decide which of you gentlemen will lead our great nation for the next four years. Both of you have invested an incredible amount of time and money into your campaigns and have addressed a number of issues that are of great concern to the American people. However, there is one issue that has been raised numerous times, yet has been only lightly discussed: your energy policies.

Let’s face it, energy policies, especially those related to oil, have been a problem since the Carter administration. While those that have had the privilege of holding the highest office in our nation have held the keys to make a change, they have failed to make changes to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and made little effort to enact policies that look forward to the future. As the next President of the United States, you [and your running mate], have the ability to alter that perspective. Yet, thus far in your campaign, have said little in the way of if/when/how you would make a change.

Though you energy and environmental policies as a part of your platforms, with the exception of offering tax credits for hybrids and fuel efficient vehicles, you have merely addressed the production of energy and fuel not the implementation nor the maintenance of long lasting energy changes. The entire lifecycle of an energy plan needs to be considered. Funding research and development is money wasted if the general population is not encouraged to use the end product.

As an example of the limits of your proposed policies, let’s take a look at the proposal to offer tax rebates/incentives for hybrids and fuel efficient passenger vehicles. While a tax rebate towards the purchase of a new vehicle seems to be a baby step in the right direction, in reality it would do very little to increase the average fuel efficiency statistics. The policy targets the portion of the US that could likely afford to purchase a new vehicle and is only offering them an incentive that might steer them away from a less fuel efficient vehicle. What really needs to be addressed is how to get the millions of other polluting vehicles off the road.

Perhaps, rather than a tax break, what is needed is a bounty on vehicles that are below the fuel efficiency standard and provide interest free financing on qualifying vehicles for those who need it. Also, enact legislature that would allow states and high density municipalities to create their own policies and incentives. In short, encourage and reward the people for making the change.

Though everyone is whispering about raising the bar for passenger vehicles, nothing is being said about addressing other forms of transportation such as tractor-trailers and delivery vehicles, public transportation, air transportation, and marine vessels. Each of these types of transport need to be considered independently as environmental policies enacted could have far-reaching and long-lasting economical effects.

And, yet, all of this is just scratching the surface. The United States has had a long-standing dependency on oil – an addiction that cannot be cured overnight. However, we need to know that the person leading our nation is acting on the best interest of our future by creating policies that address the entire problem, not just one aspect of it. We need to know that you also have transitional policies that will steer us toward a brighter future.

The question is: will you be the President that will talk about change, or will you be the President that will make the change?




Entry filed under: Emerging Technologies, Energy, Environment, Informational, Politics. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

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