But for as much as the media focus on this liberal/conservative energy-babble, leading us to believe that we're stuck with the status quo, fortunately that isn't true. While leading Democrats chatter on about their loony left proposals, and the far right recite "ANWR" over and over like nuns saying Hail Marys, moderate and libertarian Republicans are actually doing something about the energy crisis, and our environment.
Back in February 2005, Sen. Chuck Hagel introduced legislation designed to boost substantially the development of clean-energy technologies. One bill focused on promoting technology to reduce greenhouse gas intensity in developing countries, while also promoting those countries' economic development. A second focused on authorizing corporate loans to aid domestic development of clean technologies. A third focused on authorizing tax credits to spur development and use of clean technologies, a prime example being hybrid cars. Ultimately, the three bills were dropped in favor of a single amendment covering the same ground, and attached to HR 6, which became law as the 2005 Energy Policy Act (EPA).
Although the EPA is certainly not perfect, the Hagel provisions have already had a very significant and positive effect. We have seen substantial growth in the hybrid industry (thanks to the amendment's inclusion of tax incentives for hybrid purchasers). We have also seen a major injection of capital into the solar panel industry, which is already getting more solar panels on the market and into consumers' homes, and creating thousands of new jobs and a more dynamic energy sector. In sum, Hagel's carrot-based initiatives (as opposed to the heavy stick initiatives advocated by many liberals) are already helping move us towards greater energy efficiency, increased use of renewable energy, reduced reliance on oil, a more diverse and innovative energy sector and new high-tech jobs. All of this will aid our future economic growth and prosperity.
Take a look at some of the articles over at GOPProgress, it's a great new site.
Technorati tags: Sen. Chuck Hagel, Energy Policy