That there are patent differences defining the respective directions onto which the campaigns of both Senators Barack Obama and John McCain have thread constitutes a plain case of truism. But against the backdrop of an impending global energy crisis, the differences between the two candidates become even more accentuated. Both camps, for instance, have continued to differ in approaching.
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The Food and Energy Act of 2007 – i.e., “the legislation (which) mandates a five-fold increase in the production of ethanol, a renewable energy resources, from 7.5. billion gallons in 2012, to 36 billion in 2022” (Frumkin 84). To be sure however, the crux of the matter lay not in the palpable differences which can be gleaned from the respective frames of the two presidential candidates as the mammoth range of the global energy crisis which the Americans currently face.
Thus, the roadmap of this paper is to, in view of the foregoing, propose a comprehensive energy policy which hopes to address the issues pertinent not only to energy crisis but also to the corollary ramifications of the said problem, which include, but are not limited to global warming and food shortage.
The Comprehensive Energy Act: A Proposal
At the heart of this policy proposal is the inception of various Federal and State legislations which, metaphorically, drift consistent with two reasoned forces – the centrifugal and centripetal directions. It is on the one hand exploratory or outward-moving because the country needs to come up with a broad corpus of laws which collectively address the energy crisis by exploring on the possibilities of renewable energy sources.
On the other hand, the proposal is at the same time restrictive or inward-bound in that it seeks to contain the ugly impact of the current crisis with laws that help curb industrial and/or residential energy wastage and soften its impact on the environment. The two-thronged nature of this policy is the reason why this proposal is essentially called comprehensive – i.e., all encompassing.
In the first place, this Comprehensive Energy Act, with a controlling sense of urgency, enacts
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appropriate short-term and long-term solutions to address the pressing problem. According to Vivien Walt, because the predicted exponential surge in energy demands – “from today’s 85 million barrels a day to about 116 million barrels a day in 2030” – renders the industrial expansion economically unsustainable, the world requires viable energy sources save for its fast depleting fossil fuels (Oil Prices, It Gets Worse).
The government of the United States, undeniably, appreciates the full weight of this grim prospect; which is why, it has delved into accruing energy from alternative sources – such as biofuels, geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind – whose aggregate generation presently comprise more than 10% of the country’s overall energy production (Renewable Energy Tops 14).
That being said, there are good reasons to think that the current rate of renewable energy production is not commensurate to the energy needs of the country, whether at present or the near future. For this reason, this proposed Comprehensive Energy Act is framed to give government authorities the mandate to invest on, or lure private investments into projects that explore alternative energy sources. Ultimately, the said proposal hopes to yield an aggregate production of alternative energy which can cover about 50% of the country’s entire energy needs in the next 10 years.
But any reasoned efforts to avert the crisis through welcome alternative-energy exploration, if not coupled with judicious initiatives to address the equally compelling ramifications ensuing from such initiatives, would be just as self-defeating in the long run.
Chief to these concerns lies in making sure that the conversion of arable lands into biofuel fields does not engender massive food shortage. In the United States, it is believed that some 20% of its entire corn production was reserved to produce ethanol last year; and this, in turn, resulted to a significant increase in the prices of corn and its by products (Magdoff ). Herein it would be wise to speak of this case as a precursor to a bigger food problem shortage if left unchecked.
Thus, the Comprehensive Energy Act proposal, in view of such felt need, shall identify the limit of the conversion of croplands for biofuel use, so as to make sure the noble purpose of alternative-energy exploration does not translate into food shortages. In addition, issues relative to environmental degradation and global warming are cases that likewise merit considerable attention.
Since the high dependence on fossil fuels have resulted to damages in the ozone layer, the proposed Comprehensive Energy Act attempts to reduce carbon emission by half or more through the following: first, making electric power cars and trucks, as well as mass railway systems, as commonplace – instead of being considered merely as viable alternatives – means of transportation for most Americans; second, by creating technologies that can help reduce carbon production of coal powered plants (Alexander 43); and third, by giving average Americans tax incentives for showing considerable progress in energy conservation in whatever means possible.
Hence, this paper briefly concludes that any attempt to address the present energy crisis of this country needs to frame a corpus of legislations that explores a sufficient amount of renewable sources of energy on the one hand, as well as contain the ramifications of the protracted use of fossil fuels on the environment and natural resources on the other hand. If truth be said, the challenges are surely daunting; but they certainly are not impossible to transcend. The hope of building a brighter future for humanity is the ultimate goal of this paper’s proposal.
Walt, V. “Oil Prices: It Gets Worse”. Time Magazine, November 07, 2007. 02 November 2008 <http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1681362,00.html>.
Magdoff, F. “The World Food Crisis. Sources and Solution”. Monthly Review, May 2008. 02 November 2008 <http://www.monthlyreview.org/080501magdoff.php>.
Frumkin, P. “McCain Versus Obama. Industry Weighs the Anticipated Impact of Both Victories”. Nation’s Restaurant News, 13 October 2008.
“Renewable Energy Tops 10 Percent of U.S. Production”. Southwest Farm Press, 16 October 2008.
Alexander, L. “A New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy Independence”. Issues in Science and Technology, Summer 2008, 39-44.