Sunday, March 29, 2009


I am now blogging primarily on the Huffington Post, rather than on this page. Please follow me at the link above. Thank you for your support. You can see my latest post, on a fantastic Chilean program to encourage CFL use, at

Monday, March 03, 2008


So according to the New York Times the "organic" CEOs gathered for a hike in Costa Rica. The ariticle didnt mention how they got there-private jets anyone? The good news is that they are finally getting around to dismissing the joke that is carbon offsets. Perhaps they read one of my old posts below. Again offsets are papal indulgences, a feel good payment to sin. You dont solve global warming by emitting more carbon and then paying for so called mitigation measures. You solve it by reducing emissions. So lets have a cap and trade system in the US like the rest of the world, and lets each reduce our carbon footprint by ten percent-its not that hard to do.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs and Walmart-Revisited

In the last week, the New York Times has published two pieces on the compact fluorescent bulb and Walmart's efforts to sell them. The Wall Street journal also recently published on the bulbs. All three pieces discussed the difficulties in selling the bulbs, and speculated on the reasons. As we said in our post below (October 28th,2006), people are still not prepared to pay ten times as much for a bulb, no matter what the savings. And even those Prius drivers who are willing to spend lots for "green" technology aren't buying the bulbs-some claim they dont like the aestehtics of the bulb or the light cast, others say simply force of habit. If the "greens" won't buy them, and I don't know why they won't, then these bulbs have no chance, EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE A FABULOUS ENERGY SAVER AND INVESTMENT.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My National Energy Policy-The Declaration of Energy Independence

With energy brought to the forefront of Americans’ consciousness by record high fossil fuel prices and an increasingly unstable Middle East, it is time for the United States to declare its energy independence from unstable foreign sources that have little incentive to provide a secure, clean and inexpensive supply of energy. We have done nothing for the last several years. Talking about potential new technologies is not enough. We need to implement a new energy policy in America with an immediate impact, with the urgency of the space race and not at a snail’s pace.


Coal: Right now, America has a 200-year supply of coal. . We have enough coal to supply American energy needs for the next 200 plus years. Let’s begin a massive program not just of technological research, but clean coal installations. If we need to subsidize some technology, let’s support one that powers America’s future, provides Americans with jobs, and enhances our national security. And leading coal producing states include Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and West Virginia, all critical to success in Presidential elections.

In recent years, significant strides have been made in developing environmentally-friendly methods for turning this resource into power. Low emission (President Bush to the contrary, there are no zero emission) coal gasification technologies, such as the Integrated Gasification-Combined Cycle (IGCC) show great promise, and a program of research and pilot plants should be implemented immediately. Expanded use of coal would significantly in this way would create high-paying jobs in economically troubled areas, clean the environment and enhance our security by displacing foreign resources with domestic ones..

Liquid Natural Gas: While we are weaning ourselves from fossil fuels, we need enhance and more diverse supplies, particularly of natural gas. While it needs to be imported, there are numerous sources available in our own hemisphere and it is the cleanest, most efficient fuel available. No subsidies are required at current or even significantly lower natural gas prices, and recent technological developments will allow transportation without the construction of expensive and potentially dangerous on-shore terminals.

Nuclear: Important concerns remain about the ability to construct safe nuclear facilities, and about nuclear waste disposal. Nonetheless, nuclear can produce enormous amounts of cost-effective, clean energy. We need a significant research effort to explore the safe nuclear energy option.

Harness the True Power of Renewable Energy Sources: Wind, solar and other renewable technologies are today unable to make a significant dent in our energy needs, even with large subsidies. Let’s install these technologies in the limited areas that make sense, and spend the necessary money on research and pilot plants, so that by 2020 these technologies can make a significant contribution to our energy independence, not continually reduce budgets and expenditures in these areas as the Bush administration has done. Research and incentives must include efficiency standards to avoid a repeat of the non-productive incentives and governmental programs of the early 1980’s, and must ensure that the tax shelter abuses of that period are not present..

Ethanol: Even proponents of ethanol concede costs more energy to produce it than it gives back in generation. This fuel only survives thanks to the strength of the farm lobby and the large subsidies they provide for its producers. Ethanol from food products also adversely affects food prices. Research is required to develop efficient technologies that utilize biomass and other waste products, rather than corn, for production, and that produce significantly more energy than they consume. Biomass ethanol, produced from agricultural waste products, is a largely untapped source of renewable fuel that could offset significant amounts of oil usage and result in lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Start the Fuel Cell Revolution: A long-term plan would expand the use of fuel cell-driven vehicles, with a goal of dramatically reducing the number of gas-guzzling cars on the road. A dedicated research and development plan, with measurable goals and benchmarks is required to

  • put 100,000 fuel cell vehicles on the road by 2010 and 2.5 million by 2020.
  • Increase R&D funding for hydrogen production and storage, fuel cell technologies, and other advanced alternative vehicles.
  • Fund pilot projects to disseminate fuel cell technology and hydrogen infrastructure.
  • These should Include energy companies, and not just U.S. automakers: diverse participants will encourage active debate and ensure that this initiative does not hastily prejudge what technologies are up to the challenge.
  • Create an education training partnership with universitites to develop tomorrow’s fuel cell engineers, assemblers, and technicians.


In his recent State of the Union address, President Bush had nothing to say about increasing energy efficiency and reducing its waste. Enormous energy savings are still available to us.

Raise Fuel Economy Standards for American Cars: The National Academy of Sciences has clearly found that fuel economy standards (known as CAFE) could be raised to perhaps 40 miles per gallon without sacrificing any power or selection in automobiles. Loopholes in these standards and tax benefits for SUV’s need to be eliminated. To encourage the development and purchase of more fuel efficient vehicles, We should have a graduated energy technology research fee-if your vehicle gets less than 10 miles per gallon, you should pay a lot more for your gas, if less than 20 mpg somewhat more, and if your car gets more than 50 miles per gallon, you should pay less than the price at the pump. This fee should fund our clean energy programs-let those who are wasting gas by driving Hummers pay for our clean energy future. In addition, tax incentives should be granted to those buying particularly efficient vehicles.

Provide Incentives to Encourage Higher Fuel Standards: In addition to setting a higher national fuel efficiency standard, we should reward car manufacturers that voluntarily exceed those minimums. Specifically, it would enable domestic auto manufacturers that produce superefficient vehicles – vehicles that exceed the average fuel economy by 20 percent or more – to receive valuable pollution credits, which will make it easier to meet expected new limits on greenhouse gas emissions. (This measure is currently included in the Lieberman-McCain cap-and-trade global warming legislation.)

Reward Efficiency Across the Country: We should institute a system that provides market incentives towards efficient technologies by providing rewards for efficiency gains. For example, the Lieberman/McCain legislation would allow companies to receive money for the averted greenhouse gas emissions achieved by efficiency gains. Technologies that could create these efficiency gains include renewables, Integrated Gasification-Combined Cycle, and nuclear power (if the safety concerns can be addressed).

Encourage “Fuel-Efficient Planning” at the Local Level: A number of communities have adopted infrastructure development strategies for tackling congestion and shortening commuting distances for their residents. We should accelerate this trend by offering a range of supports and incentives to states and municipalities to reduce the amount of miles driven by Americans. For example, it would set up loan programs for families buying homes in high-efficiency locations and increase funding for high-efficiency transit and public transportation programs.

Use New Technologies to Reduce Electricity Demand: Technological advances are already changing the way we use electricity. For example, the city of New Haven has had great success lowering consumption by allowing electricity users to communicate by wireless transmission with a central computer bank and automatically lower their energy usage in nearly imperceptible ways when electricity demand exceeds certain levels. This plan would build on this progress by providing incentives to develop similarly-efficient energy-saving technologies.


Reject the False Promise of Arctic Refuge Drilling: The Arctic Refuge won’t provide a drop of oil for 10 years and won’t make a dent in our dependence on foreign oil – all it will do is destroy one of the most precious parts of our natural heritage. This has been the only plank in the Bush energy policy during his entire term, and must be rejected.

Oppose New Drilling on the Outer-Continental Shelf: Despite the deep opposition of residents on the California and Florida coasts, the Senate Republicans, with the blessing of the Bush Administration, have promoted legislation authorizing an evaluation of the oil and gas resources of those shores. We must oppose drilling in those areas and the Lieberman Plan would continue the ban on drilling in those areas.

Stop Any Weakening of Air Quality Standards: Relaxing air quality standards, such as those associated with coal plant modifications, is not necessary to create an efficient and secure energy supply for America.

(Written by L. Coben and Ambassador R.N. Swett)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Walmart-The New Energy Conservation Leader? Are the New Bulbs the Thing?

I attended a remarkable dinner last week in honor of H. Lee Scott, the CEO of Walmart. Hosted by the movie making Weinsteins and featuring a concert by the Eagles (so much for rock and the counterculture but Walmart does sell alot of DVD's and CD's), the focus of the dinner was Walmart's new commitment to the environment. Apparently, Walmart is now all about energy conservation and sustainability in a variety of areas (you can read about it in detail at Walmart Environmental but their efforts include pushing environmentally sound products and redesigning their stores in a "green manner".

The gift bag, in addition to a very non-environmentally packaged Eagles Greatest Hits double CD, included one of these products, compact fluorescent light bulbs. These bulbs use 25% of the energy of standard incandescent bulbs, last for five years, and save roughly $35 in energy costs over that period ($7 per year). Each bulb costs about $5, ten times that of a standard bulb, though Walmart claims it will have the price down to $3 shortly.

I tried the light-it is a very soft fluorescent, not that different from the incandescent, and not like that found in department stores and offices. And there was plenty of light to read by. So my recommendation: BUY THIS PRODUCT!!!

I think it will be difficult to persuade people to pay ten times for a light bulb in spite of the energy savings, but they should. Unlike the long return time of so-called environmental products such as the Prius and solar energy which have paybacks of several years, if ever, THESE BULBS PAY FOR THEMSELVES IN LESS THAN ONE YEAR. I dont know very many investments with that short a payback (if you do, please contact me). The per bulb price should not preclude that many people from buying it, and hopefully Walmart will continue to drive the price down. In the meantime, lets publicize those savings!!!

Offsetting this wonderful advance is Walmart's organic cotton program. We were shown a movie of a cotton field in Turkey, during which a Walmart executive said children are working in the fields because it is a cultural honor. PLEASE, YOU CANT BELIEVE THIS. EXPLOITATIVE CHILD LABOR IS EXPLOITATIVE CHILD LABOR in every culture. This must be stopped.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


The Democrats in Congress announced a new energy plan. They named it "Clean Edge". What does that have to do with energy? After all these years, haven't they learned what's in a name? The Republicans take the rhetorical high ground on every issue in Washington these days, and now energy is no exception. Yes EDGE is an acronym for Clean Energy Development for a Growing Economy-got it? Does that evoke energy independence for you, or a new brand of razor? The Gillete Clean Edge-not bad!!

So here's the contest-come up with the best name for the new Democratic plan, which can be found at

My entry is Declaration of Energy Independence 2006. The winner gets a free tank of gasoline, which is more savings that you will ever see from this plan. I know this is bad policy (see my discussion of GM and Ford below), but I promise to get the winning entry to Senator Harry Reid, and who knows, it might help get a policy passed. So send those entries now!!

The New Democratic Energy Plan- Simply Sausage

The Democrats issued their new energy policy for 2006, know as Clean Edge (see the link and discussion above). This so-called policy is for the most part a list of every policy proposed by anyDemocrat for the last twenty years-in other words, its not a policy at all. What do the Democrats prefer? Criticize the Republicans all you want, but at least we know they stand for more drilling for gas and oil, including in Alaska, and more recently, celulosic ethanol? The Democrats apparently stand for wind, solar, more fuel efficient vehicles, flex fuel vehicles, infrastructure conversion, blah, blah and of course blah. Nothing in this plan is particularly controversial or objectionable, but the real problem is the caucus can't agree on anything, so everyone's proposals make the plan and destroy its coherence.

When you design a horse by comittee you get a camel. When you write a policy by committee, you get sausage-all the parts mixed together and you have no idea what you are eating. And why does everything have to wait until 2020-why should we have goals for 2008???

Boo of the Month I:Gas Rebates from GM and Ford-Bad Cars, Worse Policy

How far have GM and Ford fallen? Having built a slew of gas guzzling SUVs and cars that noone wants, they are offering cheaper gasoline as a sales incentive. For GM, it is a cap of $1.99 per gallon of gas for a year. Ford has one upped GM by providing debit cards good for $1000 of gas. Policy makers have been discussing a gasoline tax to discourage excessive consumption. The GM and Ford plans are a "negative tax"-they encourage profligate use of gas and discourage conservation. Let's avoid these deals and send GM and Ford a message that the best way to solve their corporate profitabilty problems are not with free gas, but better, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Repeal the Ethanol Tariff!

Secretary of Energy Bodman suggested repealing the 2.5% tariff and supplemental 54 cent per gallon duty on imported ethanol. Repeal would allow for more economic importas of sugar cane based ethanol from countries such as Brazil, and ameliorate the ethanol shortage that is contributing to rising gas prices and led to the suspension of environmental regulations regarding cleaner gasoline. Kudos to the Secretary for a sensible proposal!! But of course the farm lobby is up in arms. Bad enough that we subsidize inefficient and over-priced corn-derived ethanol, but even when we can't produce enough of it we are unwlling to take action. These senators claim that tariff repeal would hurt the development of the domestic ethanol industry. Yes, the national security canard again. I feel safer already as we are protected against those horrible breeders of terrorists who grow sugar cane and produce ethanol such as Brazil and a host of Caribbean nations. While sugar cane ethanol is environmentally problematic, it is ten times more efficient than corn ethanol. Not to mention this is a golden opportunity to help poorer nations in our hemisphere. So the next time a farm state senator complains about high gas prices, ask he (or she if there are any) their position on this issue, and when they tell you they are against tariff repeal, you will know they are full of manure (and not using it to produce cheaper fuel either).

Stupid Energy Quote Award-to Nancy Pelosi

"Sadly, we are now living in a new era of robber barons"-House Democratic leader Representative Nancy Pelosi, referring to oil company profits. After doing nothing and saying nothing relevant about energy during her entire leadership tenure, this is the best she can do? Oil prices are market determined, and there is no evidence of any collusion on the part of oil companies. Why not attack speculative traders? Or put the blame where it belongs-on a US government that for 25 years has done nothing to reduce our dependence on oil. And what is the Congressional solution-a bill on price gouging, the ultimate political fig leaf that is politically popular and does nothing to solve the real problem.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The $100 Gas Rebate-What's Next, A Happy Meal?

So the Republican's new energy plan is to give us each a $100 to offset the rising price of gasoline. And what are we supposed to do after we fill up not even twice with this money? How is effectively reducing the price of gas going to drive down increasing demand, the primary cause of high prices, or increase tight supplies? This is a preelection joke designed to obscure the fact that Republicans have done nothing about energy for the entire period they have controlled the Presidency and Congress. Oh yes, and also in this bill is drilling in Alaska, which would minimally increase supply in 2010 while destroying the environment and other incentives for oil producers and refiners.

Not that the Democrats have done any better. They wanted a larger $500 rebate or suspension of the 18.4 cent per gallon tax. Of course, Democrats haven't had an energy policy since Jimmy Carter!

If we want to do something in the short term to help people who are truly hurt byrising prices and can't gasoline, fine. But lets accompany it with a real policy that will change the supply/demand dynamic rather than another band aid which will only prolong our insatiable oil appetite.

Keep Our Environment Dirty-Ethanol, MTBE and Waiving the Environmental Rules

So President Bush has decided to waive certain environmental rules regarding gasoline. Those rules at first required the addition of the additive MTBE, and when that additive proved to have adverse environmental effects, the addition of ethanol. Of course it never occurred to anyone that we wouldn't have enough ethanol and that the increased demand would drive up the price of the ethanol and thus gasoline. This regulation was passed without thought or planning, which seems to be a characteristic of this administration and politicians dealing with energy policy more generally. And the solution-SUSPEND THE RULES so we simply burn dirtier gasoline!! The rationale-to moderate gas prices. Anyone notice it working!!! This is an instance where we dont need to choose between clean and efficient-we can have both with little added cost. Of course, ethanol is not a solution for anything. BAD REGULATION, WORSE IMPLEMENTATION!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

NY's Dirty Power Secret

There's a dirty little secret in the New York City Power grid. Rather than build additional capacity for peak demand days (normally the hottest days of summer), Con Ed and the city have a deal to run backup diesel generators located at various city facilities to make up the shortfall. These generators were built for emergency backup during power outages, and are filthy, dirty polluting machines. The deal allows Con Ed and the city to avoid the expense of a new power plant, and all the political problems of siting one. But a new plant wouldnt add much to electricity rates, and would be substantially cleaner. Here's an easy opportunity for cleaner power generation, yet the rhetoric doesnt match the results

Kennedys Kill Clean Power Project

A House-Senate conference committee slipped an amendment into a Coast Guard budget that effectively kills a major offshore wind project near Nantucket that would have provided up to 75% of Cape Cods' power. The amendment gives veto rights to Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, though he doesnt have them on any other type of power plant. This veto was engineered by the Massachusetts congressional delegation, led by Senators Kennedy and Kerry, supposed strong supporters of alternative energy in general and wind power in particular. The project was also opposed by Robert Kennedy and his Riverkeeper organization. It seems that alternative energy support only goes so far when NIMBY issues come into play. A more benign explanation might be that even so-called clean energy has environmental repercussions-environmental harm is in the eyes of the beholder. But this is particularly pathetic-the Kennedys would support a wind project in anybody's backyard that wasnt their own. What makes their opposition particularly egregious is that the best and most efficient locations for windpower are offshore like this project. I guess the Kennedy's views are more important.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Offshore Oil Royalties and Tar Sands-who need's incentives?

Bravo for life's little ironies! The front page of the New York Times today talks about how oil companies have avoided paying royalties on offshore wells, a program that was put in place to support exploration when prices were low. Supporters say it has no cost to the government and is encouraging additional exploration-wrong! Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal today writes about exploration in Canada's tar sands-it doesnt get much more expensive than that. If companies can afford to explore the tar sands, then d'oh--we dont need to incentivize further US exploration by forgoing royaties. At these prices, companies have all the incentive they need. More on tar sands later.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Kudos to Corzine, China

While the President and Congress continue to do nothing but talk about energy policy, some politicians are addressing it. In his recent plan to solve New Jersey's budget woes, Governor Jon Corzine proposed a sales tax on those cars getting less than 19 miles per gallon. While I prefer the gas consumption fee (see the Declaration of Energy Independence), Corzine's proposal is excellent policy and welcome. I only wish it wasn't buried in budget blues.

China last week announced plans to raise existing taxes or impose new ones on gas guzzling cars and trucks, bigger taxes on cars with large engines, and lower taxes on those with small ones. Perhaps China is adopting the Declaration of Energy Independence? If China can do it, why can't the United States?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Cleaning up Coal Plants-Increasing Power Costs?

The DC Court of Appeals overturned a Bush EPA regulation that allow certain facilities, including coal plants, to delay the installation of new pollution control technology when making significant modifications to these plants. The Court found that the "plain language" of the Clean Air Act required a stricter approach. During the Clinton adminstration, these modifications clearly required pollution control installation, though there was much debate about what constituted a significant enough change to trigger the modification requirement. Clearly, the decision will result in cleaner coal facilities, and end the practice of continual incremental updgrades to avoid triggering the law.

Industry folks are crying that the decision will result in higher prices to consumers. And the foxes are crying that locking the henhouse at night is bad for the hens. In those jurisdictions with competitive electricity pricing, that price is generally set by the marginal cost of gas, and this decision wont change that. Power companies' costs will increase andprofits will be reduced, but consumers wont see any impact. In regulated jurisdictions, there will be some small incremental price increases, but these will be passed through over an extended period of time.

The decision also points to a weakness in the Clean Air Act. If we want to clean up coal plants, we should simply legislate that requirement and get it done, and not allow the timing of these decisions to rest with the private sector. I'll be writing a longer commentary shortly on the different ways to achieve this goal.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Happy Wind Farmer

Today's New York Times has an article Times Article on some people who are using windpower to save their family farm. Note the picture of the windmill and decide whether that is a vista you want throughout our countrysides. Will we learn to ignore them like we do utility poles, or think of them more like unsightly high tension lines? This is an example of where improved technology, particularly increased blade size, has helped economics, and this is a high wind region, which reduces the need for subsidies. Unfortunately, these plants can only at present supply a small amount of the electricity we need, even with the substantial subsidies they receive.

Pakistani Alternative Energy??? Is Bodman kidding?

Since nuclear energy cooperation is (thankfully) off the table, Secretary of Energy Bodman unveiled his solutions for Pakistan's future energy needs: a list of potential energy sources, including gas pipelines (so long as they are not from Iran), coal, and those new Bush administration favorites, celulosic ethanol, wind and solar. Obviously, Secreatry Bodman doesnt feel the Pakistanis can google energy sources on the web. And he believes that while so far the US is unwillingly to commit in a meaningful way to more expensive alterantive fuel sources, the Pakistanis should do so. And the funding for these uneconomical sources must come from the private sector, as the Secretary noted he had no budget for assistance or subsidy. The US wont pay for or subsidize these technogies, but the Pakistanis should??? And who is going to fund his proposed pipeline from Qatar or Turkmenistan, which would have to be built through Afghanistan. If we dont want the Pakistanis to elect their cheapest option and buy Iranian gas, we have to have a real solution, not more Bush adminsitration rhetoric. Pakistan has substantial coal reserves, and we could aid them in clean coal development (see the National Energy Policy below).

Saturday, February 11, 2006

George Bush-Coal Miner's Son (An Op-Ed response to the State of the Union-published in Manchester Union Leader, 2/7/06)

George Bush, of the Oil-wellian Bush family, had an epiphany last night in his State of the Union address. America is “addicted to oil” and it’s time to kick the habit. Is George Bush now the renewable energy president? Is he ready to declare our energy independence? Both his track record and his speech unfortunately say “no”.

Mr. Bush says let’s cut our Middle East oil imports 75% by 2020. Since we only import 20% of our oil from the Middle East, this is only a 15% reduction (Canada is the leading supplier followed by Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Venezuela). And why take so long?

Mr. Bush announced that “the best way to break this addiction is through technology”. He announced a “22% increase” in clean energy research. Based on his own figures of what has been spent ($10 billion over 5 years), this is a whopping extra $440 million a year – peanuts compared to the $36 billion of profits Exxon reported last year. And in fact Mr. Bush is cutting renewable energy research in the Department of Energy! How is this miniscule amount supposed to compete with the massive oil company profits? Why forfeit our energy futures to these companies? We need to be funding a space race, not a snail’s pace, for clean energy.

While Mr. Bush begins to talk the talk for the first time, neither his track record nor his proposals walk the walk. The industries that benefit from his lackluster energy policies are oil, gas and ethanol. His primary proposal on energy was to drill for more oil in Alaska, in spite of the limited quantities, the minimal effect it would have on oil prices, and the extraordinary destruction of the environment. As for ethanol, it costs more to produce it than it gives back. This fuel only survives by the farm lobby’s strength.

Mr. Bush clearly wants to talk the renewable game, but, in the guise of funding research, take no action to wean America from its oil addiction. We cannot allow research to delay the implementation of a new energy policy. Instead, we need a Declaration of Energy Independence focused on domestic energy sources.

First: coal. We have enough coal to supply American energy needs for 200 plus years. The authors have been advocating for clean coal technologies for years. Let’s begin a massive program not just of research, but clean coal installations. If we need to subsidize technology, let’s support one that powers America’s future, provides Americans with jobs, and enhances our national security. Those concerned about Presidential elections might note that leading coal producing states include Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and West Virginia. We wonder why the Democrats have not made coal a central plank of their energy policy, though that would require them to have one.

Second: liquid natural gas. Yes, it needs to be imported, but there are numerous sources in our own hemisphere and it is the cleanest, most efficient fuel available. And, no subsidies are required at current or even significantly lower natural gas prices.

Third: nuclear. We retain concerns about the ability to construct safe facilities, and about nuclear waste disposal. Nonetheless, nuclear can produce enormous amounts of cost-effective, clean energy. We need a significant research effort to explore the safe nuclear energy option.

Fourth: wind, solar, ethanol and other renewable technologies. Sadly, today, these are unable to make a significant dent in our energy needs, even with large subsidies. Let’s install these technologies in the limited areas that make sense and spend the necessary money on research and pilot plants so that by 2020 they can make a contribution to our energy independence.

Lastly: conservation. On this subject the President had nothing to say. But conservation measures can still play a critical role in our energy future. We need to increase CAFÉ (mile per gallon) standards dramatically and eliminate loopholes for SUV’s. We should have a graduated gas fee – if your vehicle gets less than 10 miles per gallon you should pay a lot more for your gas, if less than 20 mpg somewhat more, and if your car gets more than 50 mpg, you should pay the least of all. This money could fund our clean energy programs. Let those who are wasting gas by driving Hummers pay for our clean energy future.

Mr. Bush, if you want to cure the oil addiction and free America from its reliance on unstable parts of the world, then this Declaration of Energy Independence is the path to freedom. We await its first signer.

By Lawrence S. Coben and Ambassador Richard N. Swett Lawrence Coben is Chairman and CEO of Tremisis Energy, and has owned or operated both renewable and conventional energy sources. Richard N. Swett is an architect, former alternative energy developer, former member of Congress and served as U.S. Ambassador to Denmark. Together they coauthored Senator Lieberman’s national energy policy for his 2004 presidential campaign.