March 31, 2005


An Unlikely Meeting Of the Minds: For Very Different Reasons, Groups Agree on Gas Alternatives (Greg Schneider, March 31, 2005, Washington Post)

A who's who of right-leaning military hawks -- including former CIA director R. James Woolsey and Iraq war advocate Frank J. Gaffney Jr. -- has joined with environmental advocates such as the Natural Resources Defense Council to lobby Congress to spend $12 billion to cut oil use in half by 2025. The alliance highlights how popular sentiment is turning against the no-worries gas-guzzling culture of the past decade and how alternative technologies such as gas-electric hybrids are finding increasingly widespread support.

"I think there are a number of things converging," said Gary L. Bauer, a former Republican presidential candidate and former head of the Family Research Council who has signed on to a strange-bedfellows coalition of conservatives and environmentalists called Set America Free. "I just think reasonable people are more inclined right now to start thinking about ways our country's future isn't dependent on . . . oil from a region where there are a lot of very bad actors."

One important factor in the convergence is there's no downside to the policy.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 31, 2005 12:12 PM

Yes, "It won't work" is always an upside for government policies.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 31, 2005 12:36 PM

The Japanese govt spent trillions of yen in the 1980s in govt-sponsored research to develop "next generation" computer technology. Jimmy Carter created a corporation that spent billions to get oil from shale. Any high tech area where the govt directly sponsors the research pretty much guarantees a bureaucratic muddle that never really invents anything really innovative. Other examples: cancer research and fusion research.

A better way for govt to encourage real innovation is to establish a prize and let private groups chase after it. A good example is the X prize. It sparked the first real innovation in human space flight in the last 30 years.

Posted by: Gideon at March 31, 2005 12:47 PM

cancer research

That's a singularly bad example. Do you have any idea how much progress has been done in the ps 10, 15 years, how much longer a life people with cancer now have? Of course, you can hardly say that it was purely a government project--and neither will this be.

Posted by: Timothy at March 31, 2005 2:18 PM

If the leftist and environmental members of this lobby group start claiming that Kyoto can be scrapped if this program is implemented, it merits another look.
OTOH nuclear power could easily deliver on that promise if laws are adjusted so new constructions are not mired in endless lawsuits and environmental studies.

Posted by: Daran at March 31, 2005 3:45 PM

Electric cars---yeah, right. Where are the world's best electric mine located?

Posted by: ray at March 31, 2005 9:26 PM

From coal, which we have plenty of.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at April 1, 2005 11:06 AM

If the Republicans are serious about gaining public support for their comprehensive energy program they need to get behind initiatives such as this one. To paraphrase V.D. Hanson: the party that ignores petroleum conservation does so at their own peril. Please encourage your congressmen to support this coalition or others like it.

Cheney/Rice in 2008! Help make it possible.

Posted by: Genecis at April 1, 2005 1:49 PM

No research is necessary. this is not a technological problem it is a political problem.

The first step will be bringing the lawyers and judges to heel. Then sending the NIMBYs to the concentration camps.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at April 3, 2005 4:57 PM