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A bunch of bland old guys offer a bunch of bland old solutions

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"A bunch of bland old guys offer a bunch of bland old solutions"

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That bastion of enlightened thinking known as the US Chamber of Commerce has assembled every ¬©minence grise they could disinter find to tell us “Don’t just stand there, do nothing. ” Their open letter begins:

America is facing a long-term energy crisis, one which could become one of the most significant economic and national security challenges of the 21st century.

[Note to the grises: Next time, spring for an editor who would cut the first "one" and punch up the first sentence for more impact -- "America is facing a long-term energy crisis that could become one of the most significant....]

We strongly recommend that you attach the highest priority to developing and implementing a strategic energy policy that has a long-term, commonsense vision and the full attention of our national leadership.

In short: “The sky is falling. Do something now.” So naturally they urgently recommend very specific policies, a 20% renewable portfolio standard by 2020, fuel economy standards to 55 mpg by 2030, 20% of new cars must be plug ins by 2020, an 80% cut in US greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, monkeys fly out of Joe Romm’s butt. Well, maybe not the first four. In fact, here is the kind of “pillar” they propose:

Reduce the Environmental Impact of Energy Consumption and Production

We must address the impact of our growing energy consumption on the environment and climate, while recognizing that any approach must be both economically viable and environmentally effective. We must not set targets for which technology does not yet exist or which threatens major economic displacement. We must give industry a predictable investment climate and incentives for innovation in clean energy. Costs and benefits must be transparent to consumers. We must commit to a course that promotes global participation while considering the priorities of the developing world.

How helpful. Let’s start with the unbelievable confusion in the notion of giving industry “incentives for innovation in clean energy” when earlier in this short letter they had written “We need to resist the temptation to rely on taxes or subsidies as the solutions of choice to meet our energy challenges.” I hope you are listening next President — we need incentives for innovation that aren’t subsidies and aren’t targets for technology.

[Note to the grises: Next time, actually read what you are signing.]

So who signed their name to this mush? Mostly conservative democrats and members of the BOP — Bland Old Party. It is simply inconceivable that these guys could endorse anything both useful and specific:

Spencer Abraham
Former Secretary of Energy and U.S. Senator (R-MI)

Dr. David M. Abshire
Former Ambassador to NATO and President and CEO of the Center for the Study of the Presidency

George F. Allen
Former U.S. Senator (R-VA) and Governor of Virginia

Richard L. Armitage
Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State

Howard H. Baker, Jr.
Former U.S. Senator (R-TN), White House Chief of Staff, and U.S. Ambassador to Japan

James A. Baker, III
Former White House Chief of Staff, U.S. Secretary of State, and U.S. Secretary of Treasury

Gen. Charles G. Boyd, USAF (Ret.)
President and Chief Executive Officer of Business Executives for National Security

Frank C. Carlucci
Former U.S. Secretary of Defense

William S. Cohen
Former U.S. Secretary of Defense, U.S. Senator and Representative (R-ME)

Thomas J. Donohue
President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Kenneth M. Duberstein
Former White House Chief of Staff

Donald L. Evans
Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce

J. Bennett Johnston
Former U.S. Senator (D-LA)

General James L. Jones (Ret. USMC)
President and CEO of the Institute for 21st Century Energy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Dr. Henry A. Kissinger
Former National Security Advisor and U.S. Secretary of State

Robert “Bud” McFarlane
Former National Security Advisor

Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty, III
Former Counselor to President Clinton, Special Envoy for the Americas, and White House Chief of Staff

Sam Nunn
Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative and former U.S. Senator (D-GA)

Dr. William J. Perry
Former U.S. Secretary of Defense

Gen. Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.)
Former U.S. Secretary of State, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and National Security Advisor

Charles S. Robb
Former U.S. Senator (D-VA) and Governor of Virginia

Joseph E. Robert, Jr.
Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of J.E. Robert Companies

Dr. James R. Schlesinger
Former U.S. Secretary of Energy, U.S. Secretary of Defense, and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft (Ret. USAF)
Former National Security Advisor

Dr. George P. Shultz
Former U.S. Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Secretary of Labor

Admiral James D. Watkins (Ret. USN)
Former U.S. Secretary of Energy and Chief of Naval Operations

R. James Woolsey
Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

Grise is the word!

Oh and kudos to the fairer smarter sex for not signing on to this pablum.

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4 Responses to A bunch of bland old guys offer a bunch of bland old solutions

  1. Ronald says:

    You can go to war, but nobody can die. You have to bake a cake, but you can’t break any eggs.

    The best declarations must be those that everybody can be for and nobody can be against. That’s a negotiator.

  2. Daniel Haran says:

    “We must not set targets for which technology does not yet exist or which threatens major economic displacement.”

    Gee gosh, we have to save our climate, but we can’t actually do anything that would put anyone out of business.

  3. Rich Blinne says:

    Daniel, it’s actually good for business. By not having more aggressive CAFE standards in the ’80s and ’90s we have successfully killed off the American automobile industry. I am an engineer and we will work to the specs given to us. If there is no spec, we will do what is easiest. What was easiest was the high-margin SUVs because the CAFE standards didn’t force them to be something more efficient. Now nobody wants them. Congress thought they were doing Detroit a favor but they weren’t. For something sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce the lack of economic understanding here is simply put, staggering.

  4. Daniel Haran says:

    Rich: agreed wrt to CAFE. Some sectors are going to have a hard time though – I’m thinking in particular coal mining. The sooner we face that reality (Gore did so brilliantly in his speech), the sooner we can neutralize that opposition.

    To be clear though: I think we’ll all be wealthier, even if some corporations bite the dust.