Transcript of radio commentary that aired March 10, 2003 on KUNM public radio 89.9 fm in Albuquerque
By Arjun Makhijani
As many people around the world suspect, the Bush administration’s determination to wage war on Iraq is mainly about control of oil resources. The U.S. imports 60 percent of its oil – 11 million barrels every single day. It is the largest importer of oil from many countries across the globe from Canada to Iraq.
Is there a solution to this problem? Is there a conflict between energy needs and peace? I don’t believe so. I recently undertook a top to bottom review of the U.S. energy situation. Here is how we can address the problem:
- The United States should adopt an energy plan that would set goals for the long-term – a four-decade period. The aims should be to eliminate the most severe vulnerabilities to terrorist attack and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about fifty percent. That can be done. We have the technology but not the will. Britain recently adopted a goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 60 percent by the year 2050. I applaud New Mexico’s recent decision to increase wind power generation to ten percent of supply by 2010.
- The government should mandate a goal of an average efficiency of 100 miles per gallon for new passenger vehicles should be set for the year 2020. I really don’t care if people drive SUVs or minicars. That’s their choice. But it is the responsibility of the government and the automobile companies to ensure that they are safe, non-polluting, and have low carbon dioxide emissions.
- Nuclear power should be phased out. The highly radioactive spent fuel from power plants should be put into secure hardened on site storage.
- The U.S. government should commit about $10 billion per year to purchase renewable energy, fuel cells, efficient automobiles, and other leading edge technologies to promote their commercialization. Another $10 billion per year should be given to state and local governments for the same purposes. This critical national security expenditure would amount to about 5 or 6 percent of projected Pentagon spending. By contrast the Iraq war is set to cost about $100 billion this year alone.
If you want to learn more about oil politics, take a look at Michael Klare’s book, Resource Wars. For a history of oil, see Daniel Yergin’s book, The Prize. You can look up the details my energy plan on the web site of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, www.ieer.org. The report is called, Securing the Energy Future of the United States. This is Arjun Makhijani.