Sunday, March 09, 2008

It is time for an energy solution

From 1939 to 1945, the United States and her allies Canada and the UK, worked on a secret project unlike anything ever seen before in modern history. It was the Manhattan Project, a government research and development project with the intent on finding a way to build nuclear fission weapons.

In 1959, the USSR launched Sputnik. The act sparked what would become the space race between the two great super powers. For the first few years, it appeared that the US was way behind. It was not until May 25, 1961 that Jack Kennedy propossed sending a man to the moon and returning him safely to earth.

In 1945, when the Allies entered Germany, they found the Autobahn. The Autobahn to them was unlike anything they had seen before. It consisted of four lanes on a well-built highway divided by a median. Of course, today we take the Interstates for granted. But the inspiration for the Interstate system came from the Autobahn. From the early 50's until the 80's new interstate highways were constructed. It fueled and supported an economic expansion still felt today. In fact, the interstate highway system may well be the greatest economic infrasture improvement ever.

The Manhattan Project, Kennedy's Moon Challenge, and The Interstate Highways are three examples of what good government can do and how problems can be solved. The efforts made by those previous administrations will be felt for generations to come. The spin off technologies and scientific and engineering development from these efforts are inumberable.

I challenge Congress and whichever candidate wins the Presidency to support and fund a research and development program unlike anything seen before. I challenge them to create a Manhattan Project for energy independence.

Imagine a world where oil no longer mattered. Imagine automobiles who do not polute. Now imagine the economic and technological benefit a country who develops the solutions would have.

All of our foreign wars since Vietnam have been connected to oil in some way or another. Iran, Iraq, Lybia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and even Afganistan (Bin Laden was pissed about the troops being in the holy land during Gulf War I) have been tied to oil. If we no longer needed oil, those conflicts and occupations would stop.

I believe that if left to the major energy corporations or to the automakers, we will never see a break from oil. They have too much invested in the older technology. Barriers to entry are very significant in both energy and automobile manufacturing. Expecting a major investment of this size to be carried by industry is unreasonable. That is why we need to have the best and brightest in the country and among our allies to go on the government payroll, move to a single research center, and develop a solution. Once the solution is developed, the technology can be licensed to private industry to market it.

It has been done before. We have the infrastructure to do it. We have the money to do it. (Take the savings from no more oil wars) When gas reaches $4 a gallon, we will have the political will to do it.

The plan is simple: Invest $1 Trillion into a research and developement program which will have the stated goal of getting the United States to be a net exporter of energy withing ten years.

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