Submitted by New Energy News Blog

The Apollo Alliance wants a $30 billion/year concerted national effort to transition the U.S. to a New Energy infrastructure and a New Energy economy.

The Alliance, a national coalition of politicians, environmentalists, labor groups and businesses, suggests getting from the current $4 billion/year investment to the needed level by boosting spending a few billion dollars/year for the next decade and then sustaining the program for the following decade.

Keith Schneider, spokesman, Apollo: “[$30 billion is] less than a third of what we’re spending in Iraq…It’s not a big number… ”

Both presidential candidates back a cap-and-trade system to mitigate global climate change and both their plans would generate some revenues to institute the program Apollo wants, though both candidates’ programs and proposals fall short of the Apollo Alliance’s vision and ambition.

Senator Obama’s (D-IL) system would have allowance auctions generating enough money to get to $15 billion/year for New Energy. Senator McCain’s plan would eventually institute auctioning and generate an undetermined level of revenues. McCain, however, is opposed to a government funded New Energy infrastructure while Obama advocates such development.

It is a familiar debate: Less or more government? Both sides have passionate advocates. David Kreutzer, energy economist, Heritage Foundation: “There won’t be some Brave New World of energy simply because the government spends $30 billion a year…”

The noble goals of big government programs are often diminshed by waste and fraud. Truth be told, however, ambitious programs in the private sector are often compromised by the same human failings.

Only one thing is clear: While the marketplace may be a neverending source of innovation, it has been big government programs that have mustered the resources to institute some of the most important taxpayer-funded innovations in modern U.S. history (ex:Social Security, Medicare, the national highway system, the Internet). Taxpayers funded the Manhattan Project that beat the Germans to the atomic bomb and won World War II as well as the Apollo Project that overcame an early Russian lead in the space race and put the first human on the moon.

The debate is not about government funding versus private enterprise or about regulation versus non-regulation. Those ideological arguments were put to rest long ago by all but the most narrow minded. The only real debate is over how much and how best.

Anybody who didn’t like the Manhattan Project and the Apollo Project and who doesn’t like the Internet would naturally oppose a national effort to develop New Energy.

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Beyond drilling: An Apollo project on renewable energy?
Steve Hargreaves, June 19, 2008 (CNN Money via Yahoo Finance)

The Apollo Alliance (Keith Schneider, spokesman); Presidential candidates Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Barack Obama (D-IL)

In New Energy for America, the Apollo Alliance calls for a concerted national effort and public expenditure to build a New Energy infrastructure and a New Energy economy while the presidential candidates debate about more domestic oil drilling.

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The Apollo program of the 1960s achieved the goal set by President Kennedy in 1961 of putting a man on the moon before the end of the decade.

– There is contention in the country over opening the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) and the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to further oil exploration and production.
– Apollo’s Green-Collar Jobs In America’s Cities details how a taxpayer-funded New Energy economy would pay for itself by stimulating widespread growth and inner city revitalization.

– The best estimates suggest the best results of more oil drilling would be 2 million barrels/day of new production for a limited period of time, temporarily boosting U.S. output 20% but representing only 2% of world markets and therefore affecting oil prices very little.
– Opponents of a taxpayer-funded New Energy program argue an unimpeded marketplace is the best source of innovation.
– Advocates of a taxpayer-funded New Energy program argue government programs created social security, Medicare, the national highway system and the Internet, not to mention the Manhattan Project that built the first nuclear weapon and won World War II as well as the Apollo program that overcame an early Russian lead in the space race and put the first man on the moon. They say the marketplace cannot act with the speed and focus of government programs.
– Apollo also wants a national public transit system and improved city planning to facilitate a migration away from dependence on the car. This goal is in direct opposition to the call for more oil drilling.

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– Keith Schneider, spokesman, Apollo: “The government, working with the private sector, has produced tremendous gains in a way that’s much more fair than the free market would…The free market might achieve a cleaner environment, but not at the pace we need to move.”
– David Kreutzer, energy economist, Heritage Foundation: “This is just another version of we’re going to spend our way to the Jetsons’ lifestyle…”

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