Fortune Magazine Backs Renewable Energy
New York, New York - August 12, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] With oil capacity stretched thin and supply fraught with uncertainty, the U.S. is more vulnerable than it was 30 years ago, when the oil crisis first traumatized the nation. That was the message from Fortune magazine which addresses the issue in a special cover story that looks at a number of ways -- from government initiatives to new technologies -- that America can begin to free itself from the grip of oil.
"The goal," says senior writer Nick Varchaver, "is a real-world plan that won't derail the economy and has a strong chance of political success."
The cost of the plan is modest, about $7 billion to $9 billion per year, much of which can be offset by eliminating current subsidies and giveaways.
"Will it be enough to kick our longtime oil addiction?," asks Varchaver. "Of course not. Even a far more radical plan is not going to solve this problem in ten years. Progress will be incremental and will take decades. But with the hole we have to climb out of getting deeper every day we wait, this plan at least promises what we need right now--a good start."
Fortune's plan consists of four approaches:
Some companies are already taking innovative leadership roles in these areas, reports Varchaver, and it would be ideal to rely solely on market mechanisms. But for Fortune's plan to work, the government will have to do its part; when it comes to transformation on this scale, Washington needs to jump-start the process. Still, In Fortune's plan, government intervention would be modest, and the proposed spending is small compared to the costs for America's oil-based lifestyle that are currently underwritten via tax bills.
"That 20 percent might sound like a modest figure," concludes Varchaver. "But that percentage turns out to be more than the portion of our imports that come from the Persian Gulf. If we do nothing, you can be sure Americans will pay more than just the price at the pump."
The story appears in the August 23 issue of FORTUNE, on newsstands August 16 and at the magazine's Web site listed below.
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