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With the costs of oil and coal rising, the United States needs to wean itself off fossil fuels, a goal best accomplished by making buildings and vehicles more efficient and switching to renewable power. The task might seem quixotic, but it actually will not require miracles -- just the widespread application of existing technology.
Alaskan politicians have used every oil-price rise since 1973 to push for drilling beneath the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. But even putting environmental questions aside, refuge oil is unnecessary, insecure, economically risky, and a distraction from the real energy debate. Market solutions that enhance efficiency can provide secure, safe, and clean energy services at much lower cost.
A comprehensive plan to revive America's competitiveness comes from Rocky Mountain Institute - using energy efficiency to prime th economic pump, an industrial policy to guide fresh capital injections and environmental technology to create a cottage industry for the 21st century.
The nuclear proliferation problem, as posed, is insoluble. All policies to control proliferation have assumed that the rapid worldwide spread of nuclear power is essential to reduce dependence on oil, economically desirable, and inevitable; that efforts to inhibit the concomitant spread of nuclear bombs must not be allowed to interfere with this vital reality; and that the international political order must remain inherently discriminatory, dominated by bipolar hegemony and the nuclear arms race. These unexamined assumptions, which artificially constrain the arena of choice and maximize the intractability of the proliferation problem, underlay the influential Ford-MITRE report and were embodied in U.S. policy initiatives under Gerald Ford and especially Jimmy Carter to slow the spread of plutonium technologies. Identical assumptions underlay the recently concluded multilateral two-year International Nuclear Fuel Cycle Evaluation (INFCE), whose lack of sympathy for those U.S. initiatives is now being cited as a political and technical rationale for dismantling what is left of them. Unfortunately, INFCE's assumptions were widely represented as its conclusions, ostensibly resulting from a careful assessment of alternatives which never actually took place.