Seizing Our Energy Future

Sep 30, 2008

By Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
October 14, 2008

As a consequence of our economic crisis, oil is once again trading for under $100 a barrel. This has provided Americans with modest relief at the gas pump, but it has done little to relieve their anxiety about the future. I have every confidence that economic recovery will come, but we cannot meet the challenges that face us with rhetoric alone. What Americans are looking for at this moment are practical solutions to real problems such as health care, infrastructure, and yes, energy.

The U.S. Chamber's Institute for 21st Century Energy is in the solution business. Just a few weeks ago, the Institute released its Blueprint for Securing America's Energy Future, a comprehensive energy strategy featuring 75 policy recommendations for the next president and Congress.

The blueprint proposes that Washington policymakers remove existing limitations and moratoria that limit production of American energy; support additional R&D and incentives for clean coal technology, including carbon capture and storage; expand the use of emissions-free nuclear energy; invest in alternative fuels and renewable energy; provide a stable regulatory framework for all energy investments; get serious about energy efficiency across all sectors; and partner with the private sector to spur innovation, rather than penalize industry. If enacted, these commonsense recommendations would provide energy security, spur economic growth, and keep the environment clean.

With global energy demand expected to increase by more than 50% between now and 2030, there is a tremendous opportunity to provide the affordable, abundant, and clean energy of the future. If the United States commits to being the developer, manufacturer, and exporter of the technologies that will make an energy revolution possible, we will bolster our economy and create good-paying American jobs. Failure to seize this opportunity will amount to little more than economic and technological surrender.

Regardless of who emerges victorious in the coming election, he will enter office with a mandate for change. The American people understand the implications for maintaining the status quo on energy: higher prices and diminished economic growth at best and supply disruptions, diminished security, and environmental degradation at worst. If the next president embraces the recommendations put forth in the blueprint—and in the Energy Institute's forthcoming transition plan—he will be committing the country to a course of action that will increase our economic competitiveness, ensure adequate supplies of clean and affordable energy, address the risk of climate change, and foster economic growth and job creation.

This is a time for action and the Blueprint for Securing America's Energy Future provides a way forward. We must seize this moment.


For more information, visit energyxxi.org.

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