Friday, November 21, 2008

Thoughts on energy and the environment | The Obama-Biden Transition Team

Inside the Transition: Your thoughts on energy and the environment | The Obama-Biden Transition Team: "Heather Zichal"

I like what the transition team is doing with their updates and requests for input. They are making it hard for the cynic in me to come out.

They asked for thoughs, so I submitted this:

You know, watching Heather Zichal's video update (great job presenting!) I was left hoping that your energy and environment team has some heavy technical hitters on board. By this I mean people who have an appreciation for the concept of embedded energy, people who understand the concept of base load and the need for energy storage as a part of the renewables picture, and people who understand why we need more nuclear energy as quickly as it can be brought on board. (McCain was right about this.)

I think that energy security is, bar none, the most important issue (possibly in a first place tie with one or two others), but my continued sense that Democrats fear nuclear energy and will fight it rather than nurture it worries me greatly.

Along these lines, Heather's reference to the "cars, trucks and SUV's of tomorrow" discouraged me because what is needed is not SUV's of tomorrow, but the elimination of the "need" for SUV's tomorrow.

Please make sure you have credible technical people, and a mix of them, of your team. Amory Lovins is great but I don't think he should be left unsupervised. Make sure you've got technical representation from among the Peak Oil community. Talk to Robert Hirsch of SAIC, Matt Simmons of Simmons & Company.

And, for God's sake, banish the idea of corn ethanol! I know Mr. Obama is from Illinois, but corn ethanol is a bad move anyway because of its marginal energy return and impact on food prices.

I get the impression that energy discussions among the transition team are being held among political people, and I'm not confident that you've got sufficient technical/scientific representation.

One more thing, please don't even consider Robert Kennedy for a high, policy making role. His stance on thimerosal in vaccines bucks the overwhelming consensus of the relevant scientific community. He reminds me of greenhouse gas skeptics, and I don't think he's qualified to head an agency so dependent on science as the EPA.

Good luck!

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