Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy

Conservation -

Here is the first half of Bob Herbert's column today.

Op-Ed Columnist

The Winning Hand

 Bob Herbert


While the presidential campaign was mired in the egregious and the trivial last week, there was a hearing in Washington that addressed what should be a critical component of the nation’s energy strategy. It got very little attention.

Put aside for a moment all the talk about alternative fuels. They are no doubt important and the wave of the future. But the fastest, cheapest, easiest and cleanest step toward a sane energy environment — a step available to all of us immediately — is the powerful combination of efficiency and conservation.

That was the message delivered again and again at a hearing of the Joint Economic Committee that carried the title, “Efficiency: The Hidden Secret to Solving Our Energy Crisis.”

Two political leaders who are no longer very fashionable were on to this long ago — former Gov. Jerry Brown of California (derided as “Governor Moonbeam”) and former President Jimmy Carter, who presciently said of the energy crisis in 1977: “With the exception of preventing war, this is the greatest challenge our country will face during our lifetime.”

It may be hard to believe, but largely because of far-reaching efficiency and conservation measures imposed by Mr. Brown’s administration, California is now among the lowest of all the states in the per capita consumption of energy. If you could take automobiles out of the picture, it would have the lowest per capita consumption of any state.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, notedthat California’s extraordinary progress in this area over the past three decades was set in motion during Mr. Brown’s tenure when the state established building standards that required greater efficiency with regard to heating and cooling. Utilities were also required to operate more efficiently. And the state, to the extent that it legally could, required appliances sold in California to be more efficient.

“One of the good things that came out of the oil shock of the ’70s was the dramatic push for energy conservation,” said Senator Schumer. “Why don’t we do more of that now?”

Yes, why aren't we doing more of that now?


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