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A Word from John Hofmeister
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More Environmental Protection
Wednesday, April 21, 2010@ 2:50 PM
Author: admin

Energy and the environment present ongoing and sustained challenges to producers, transporters and consumers. It has always been the case and will likely remain so. Some forms of energy are produced from the destruction of molecules. Thus there are environmental impact issues to be dealt with. Other forms of energy require infrastructure that impacts the landscape. Still other forms dam rivers or create nuclear waste. As the future unfolds every so-called “clean” or “green” form of energy also has environmental consequences of one form or another.

Citizens for Affordable Energy believes that there are solutions for environmental Protection by establishing a comprehensive, coherent approach that takes into account short, medium and long term issues and concerns as part of a national energy plan. Over many years the U.S. has undertaken a serious effort to manage our physical waste. While not yet perfect, the issues identified during the 20th century are more and more being tackled by community after community. Likewise our society has come a long way towards managing our liquid waste. The times when manufacturers, farmers, households and communities poured liquid wastes directly into streams, rivers or other waterways without treatment are well behind us. While perhaps not perfect yet, our society is much better at managing liquid waste. Now arguably it is time to turn our attention to gaseous wastes, many of which come from energy production and consumption.

Environmental Protection is about protecting and preserving a sustainable future. As citizens we naturally want to protect our atmosphere, earth and water for the future of life on our planet and the quality of life of future generations. All three are finite and we do not want to be the generation that makes our future worse for our descendants than what we received. The debate about Environmental Protection as put forth by Citizens for Affordable Energy is not a debate about climate change or global warming. Citizens for Affordable Energy does not have the capability or resources to be expert at climatology. We leave that to others.

In the same manner that we have largely and affordably mastered physical and liquid waste because we knew it was wrong for the earth, we can manage gaseous waste. No one chooses to put his or her head over the top of a smokestack or at the end of a car’s tailpipe. Emissions of all kinds, from CO2 to volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) to non-organic compounds (NOC’s) are unpleasant if not harmful or even fatal under certain circumstances. Currently such emissions enter a finite atmosphere with limited constraints. We can do better and find affordable ways to do so.

In an average day in the U.S. 10,000 gallons of oil are burned every second. 20 train car loads of coal a minute, or 1200 per hour, are burned mostly to make electricity. 60 billion cubic feet of natural gas are consumed each day. This is enough gas that if the cubic feet were stacked one on top of the other, the stack could go to the moon and back 25 times each day. The point is we produce a lot of CO2 and other emissions. We believe that technology and regulation can go a long way to controlling, reducing and even capturing and storing emissions under the earth in geologically sound ways such that we would never have to worry again about what we bury. But it takes will, cooperation, and wide-spread understanding to build a national plan for gaseous emissions reduction.

We have an opportunity to provide global leadership on this matter, if we choose to take it up. Many will say that other countries should agree to solutions before we unilaterally take action ourselves. It’s a fair debate. But the real point is the U.S. may be the best positioned for global leadership, given that we enjoy the highest per capita production of such emissions, have the world’s largest economy, the most enjoyable life-styles, and the best track record for rule of law in an open democracy.

Citizens for Affordable Energy is prepared to put forth a comprehensive and coherent short, medium and long term plan in consultation with American citizens for political leadership to consider for Environmental Protection in the months and years ahead. Along the way citizens have the right to sound, factual, non-ideological and non-partisan information upon which to make rational choices. We hope to play a role in informing future choices for the nation.

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