Sen. Richard G. Lugar, R-Ind. Chairman, Foreign Relations Committee. From speech to the Brookings Institution, March 13, 2006
For decades, the energy debate in this country has pitted so-called pro-oil realists against idealistic advocates of alternative energy. The pro-oil commentators have attempted to discredit alternatives by saying they make up a tiny share of energy consumed and that dependence on oil is a choice of the marketplace. They assert that our government can and should do little to change this. They have implied that those who have bemoaned oil dependency do not understand that every energy alternative comes with its own problems and limitations.
Indeed, advocates of alternative energy must resist the rhetorical temptations to suggest that energy problems are easily solved. They are not. Relieving our dependence on oil in any meaningful way is going to take much greater investments of time, money and political will. There is no silver-bullet solution. . . .
We have entered a different energy era that requires a much different response than in past decades. What is needed is an urgent national campaign led by a succession of presidents and congresses who will ensure that American ingenuity and resources are fully committed to this problem.
We could take our time if this were merely a matter of accomplishing an industrial conversion to more cost-effective technologies. Unfortunately, U.S. dependence on fossil fuels and their growing scarcity worldwide have already created conditions that are threatening our security and prosperity and undermining international stability. In the absence of revolutionary changes in energy policy, we are risking multiple disasters for our country that will constrain living standards, undermine our foreign policy goals and leave us highly vulnerable to the machinations of rogue states. . . .
As alternative fuels become more competitive, oil and gas producers have strong incentive to drop prices to kill the...