Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Paris Hilton For President? We Need A Centrist Energy Plan

Paris Hilton is out with a spoof of John McCain's campaign ad likening Barack Obama to Paris Hilton.

It's a good one--she refers to McCain as the "white-haired guy." She then goes on to announce her own candidacy and sets forth an energy policy that is remarkably coherent--a combination of the policies currently being put forth by McCain and Obama.

The people behind the Paris Hilton spoof know what they're doing. Her mock energy policy is not too far off what we really need.

When Bush and Cheney took office, they got a bunch of energy company executives together in secret to draw up a "national energy plan." No surprise, it emphasized production, shortchanged conservation and renewables, and completely ignored global warming. It has also been a complete disaster.

In the meantime, Congressional Democrats and Republicans are in an energy stalemate. Republicans still want to emphasize production, while Dems focus on renewables and conservation.

Paris sort of has it right: we need both. Limited offshore drilling with appropriate safeguards and regulation is not going to destroy the earth, or the U.S. At the same time, we need to plan NOW for as rapid a transition as possible away from an oil-based economy, especially in the transportation sector.

The "experts" have all kinds of schemes: T. Boone Pickens and his wind farms on the plains (diminished by Mr. Pickens' statement that he, himself, would not put wind turbines in his ranch because they are "ugly.") Some scientists claim we can get all our power from solar cells in the desert. Others think we can instantly replace more than 100 million gas-powered vehicles with electric cars. But no one of these schemes is a realistic energy plan.

Democrats need to give on drilling; Republicans need to give on conservation and renewables. Americans want both, for good reason: energy is a significant cost, and those costs heavily impact our lifestyles.

If we set reasonable goals for a transition away from hydrocarbons and towards renewables, using government policies to smooth out some of the price shocks (both up and down) along the way, we can make that transition over the next 20 years.

Fortunately, if oil prices remain high--of which there is no assurance--much of this transition will occur regardless of what Congress does. The question is whether the government will help, or just get in the way.


Anonymous said...

Paris did get one thing wrong: She credits McCain's proposal as providing a short term relief until Obama's credits and technology plans work. Given that exploring, drilling and refining for off-shore oil will take nearly a decade to hit the market, drilling is a pretty lame solution to the current energy "crisis".

media boy said...

yet again Paris is utilizing events to give herself a PR boost... she's a thinker alright