A New Energy Strategy for the United States: Energy Independence
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men…are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” (2nd Continental Congress, 1776). In 1776, our founding fathers declared independence from the oppression of a foreign power and took action to create a free nation to be true to their ideals. Today, this freedom is being threatened by US dependence on oil supplied by foreign powers. This dependence is increasingly encroaching on the general welfare of the nation, in terms of our national security and economic well-being. US dependence on foreign energy imports is at an all-time high and will likely increase if current policies and strategies do not change.
Since 2001, natural gas and oil prices have doubled largely due to lack of global capacity to supply world demand for energy. Fossil fuel prices will continue to rise over the next 20 years as world supplies of oil and natural gas struggle to keep up with rapidly increasing world demand and as countries compete for fossil fuel supplies. Energy supply and prices affect the cost of all products produced in the US. Furthermore, energy supply greatly impacts US strategic decision-making, influencing our decisions on how we confront international crises in terms of deciding which countries to ally with, and which countries to tolerate despite ideological differences.
Our standard of living, economic well-being, and national security will be compromised within the next 10 years, if current energy goals are not changed to address imbalances between global supply and demand of fossil fuels. It is important that new policies be implemented immediately because oil and gas prices have already greatly increased due to a lack of excess supply and are already having an impact on our economy. With the growing gap between energy supplies and demand, the US will be increasingly dependent on energy-rich countries such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran, and Argentina. Furthermore, competition with Europe and Asia for energy supplies will increase. The bottom line: The US standard of living, economy, and national security are likely to suffer due to dependence on energy from countries that influence world supply and demand. Therefore, the US should take decisive steps to greatly reduce dependence on oil and natural gas by 2015 and to achieve energy independence by 2025. The US should position itself as a leader of high technology energy solutions that can free it and the world from an unstable fossil fuel market, thereby alleviating or preventing an all-out world energy crisis. To address this global situation, US priorities should be directed toward increasing the supply of nuclear, solar and biofuel power.
Most Americans agree that the US must work toward energy independence, but they disagree strongly on methods to achieve that goal. Not only is it not clear to most Americans which methods are feasible and practical, the issue is further complicated by the actions energy industries take in competition for resources, markets, and favorable legislation. Industries and other constituencies undercut each other, slowing progress. Resource allocations and policy could be improved through an integrated, unbiased look at the world’s energy systems.
This article examines the issue of US energy dependency from the perspective of an independent citizen looking at what would be best for the US. It analyzes the interdependencies of world supply, world demand, political implications, technologies, current policies, and recent strategies, and recommends an integrated national energy strategy that could make the US energy independent. First, the article reviews how competition for energy supplies is affecting the US, its allies, and the world. Next, the article discusses how other nations can and are using their energy resources for political gain, and demonstrates how increased dependence on energy limits the US’s pursuit of its national interests. The article also examines in detail how, over the last ten years, Russia has masterfully honed its energy strategy as an instrument of national power and how this kind of “energy politics” will increase as other energy-producing countries learn how to exert the same sort of influence. The economic cost to the US and the world for energy independence and some benefits of moving toward energy independence will also be presented, to clarify which energy options for reducing energy independence are available and practical for the US. The article concludes with a recommended plan to curtail a potentially significant energy crisis in the 2015 timeframe and to end America’s energy dependence by 2025. The plan focuses on America’s current technical capabilities to produce energy that will generate jobs and increase economic prosperity for the nation.
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