Submitted by New Energy News Blog

A bipartisan group of elder statesmen, led by Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn, James Schlesinger and Colin Powell, have submitted An Open Letter On America’s Energy Future to both presidential candidates and every member of Congress calling for prompt and decisive action to head off an impending energy crisis and urging an end to the partisan bickering that is currently preventing such action.

The Institute for 21st Century Energy, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce affiliate, originated the letter. The Institute and the Chamber are regarded as Republican-allied, pro-business organizations but the letter is strongly bipartisan and conciliatory.

Marine General James Jones, president, Institute for 21st Century Energy: “There’s an energy tsunami coming, and when you see it coming you better get on top of the wave, or you’re going to get crushed by it…”

General Jones must know something about New Energy – that “tsunami” reference suggests he’s trying to turn the threatening energy of it (wave energy) into power for driving the U.S. (and the U.S. economy) forward.

The group and their letter are particularly concerned with preparing the incoming president, whoever he turns out to be, for what he will face. General Jones: “Both candidates are still embryonic in their thinking about this…”

It is not, however, a lack of readiness the elder statesmen fear. It is a lack of readiness to seize the opportunity the new president will have in his first hundred days.

Thomas “Mack” McLarty, former White House chief of staff to President Clinton: “[T]he next president is going to have to put energy right at the top of his agenda…There will be a window there to build bipartisan consensus to move forward…”

Coming off a national election, the most partisan event the U.S. throws, the next president must be prepared to immediately switch into bipartisan mode and face the compromises it will take to generate legislation and move the nation forward.

There are points in this letter abhorrent to all sides of the energy debate. There are points in it abhorrent to NewEnergyNews.

Compromise, by definition, leaves both sides with ideals left to achieve and fights left to fight. It is often unsatisfying. Sometimes compromise measures are ineffective. These elder statesmen, this letter’s signatories, are suggesting there is a need for action that may make the perfect not only the enemy of the good but of the future.

click to enlarge

Energy tsunami coming, ex-policy makers warn
H. Josef Hebert, July 15, 2008 (AP via Yahoo News)

Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, six other former secretaries of state or defense (Secretaries of State James A. Baker and George Shultz, former Defense Secretaries Frank Carlucci, William Cohen, William Perry and James Schlesinger), former senators of both parties (former Democratic Sens. J. Bennett Johnston, Sam Nunn and Charles Robb; and former Republican Sen. George Allen), a half dozen former senior White House advisers (Howard Baker, Robert “Bud” McFarlane, Kenneth Duberstein and Brent Scowcroft ) and other Cabinet officers for both Republican and Democratic presidents (former Energy Secretaries James Watkins and Spencer Abraham; former CIA Director James Woolsey; former Commerce Secretary Donald Evans)

Securing America’s Energy Future; An Open Letter to the 44th President of the United States and the 111th Congress from a bipartisan group of 27 elder statesmen calls for immediate action on an energy crisis that will otherwise threaten national security and future U.S. prosperity.

An impressive array of signatories. Men who understand the compromise necessary to bipartisanship. (click to enlarge)

The letter was made public July 15.

Partisan contentiousness has blocked action on energy issues in Congress.

– The debate in Congress has broken down over drilling versus spending: Republicans want to open new areas for oil and gas drilling while Democrats want to shift budget money allotted for oil and gas industry subsidies to spend for incentivizing New Energy.
– The letter lists 13 specific actions the leaders elected in November must take:
(1) Aggressively Promote Energy Efficiency
(2) Reduce the Environmental Impact of Energy Consumption and Production
(3) Invest in Climate Science to Guide Energy, Economic, and Environmental Policy
(4) Significantly Increase Funding for Research, Development, and Demonstration of Advanced Clean Energy Technologies
(5) Immediately Expand Domestic Oil and Gas Exploration and Production
(6) Commit to and Expand Nuclear Energy Use
(7) Commit to the Use of Clean Coal
(8) Increase Renewable Sources of Electricity
(9) Transform Our Transportation Sector
(10) Modernize and Protect U.S. Energy Infrastructure
(11) Address Critical Shortages of Qualified Energy Professionals
(12) Reduce Overly Burdensome Regulations and Opportunities for Frivolous Litigation
(13) Demonstrate Global Leadership on Energy Security and Climate Change

From the Institute for 21st Century Energy. (click to enlarge)

– The letter: “We must re-examine outdated and entrenched positions,” the group says in the letter to be sent Wednesday to the campaigns of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and to his GOP rival John McCain, as well as members of Congress and all 50 governors….Foremost we must rise above a partisan differences and be united in our efforts…”
– The letter: “We demand more energy and complain about high prices, but we restrict energy exploration and production. We embrace the promise of energy efficiency, but we are slow to make adjustments in our energy-intensive lifestyles…Production of electricity, for example, is taken almost for granted…”

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