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Forum Looks at Energy Independence
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April 07, 2010

Forum Looks at Energy Independence

By Mini Swamy
TMCnet Contributor

Seeking energy independence and reduction in the use of fossil fuels has been an ongoing struggle for the nations of the world, with the U.S. being no exception. The key here really is to produce abundant and affordable alternative energy through the use of advanced technology, and encourage and enable all countries to do likewise.

With this in mind, Arizona State University and the New America Foundation co-sponsored the new energy forum, held April 1 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Gary Dirks, director of LightWorks at Arizona State University, addressed the issue of "Can we achieve energy independence in our lifetime?"

Many key leaders discussed the issue of energy independence and also explored options that would help nations veer away from fossil fuels, in an effort to establish environmental, economic and energy security.

Forum panelists included top ranking officials belonging to various departments of energy and its allied departments and also from the departments of economic and social analysis. The discussion was moderated by Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University.

The discussion elaborated at length the ill effects of fossil fuels on the climate and the national security issues that cropped up by reverting to fossil fuels as a primary energy source.

Dirks, a former president of BP Asia-Pacific and BP China, acknowledge that one of the great energy policy failures by the U.S. over the last 30 years was its inability to break away from fossil fuels and adapt to a different form of energy. This was in spite of the so called 'breakthroughs' achieved in the form of fusion and printable rooftop solar panels.

Summing up the situation very aptly in a few words, Dirks said, 'There is no magic bullet and no great breakthrough, or even a few great breakthroughs, on the horizon that will lead the U.S. to energy independence and reduce our use of fossil fuels.'

Dirks stressed on the fact that not only should new technologies evolve into existing technologies and infrastructures, but they should also evolve from existing technologies. What was needed was a holistic policy approach that would take into consideration the social and political aspects of the new technology candidates, making sure that it was politically expedient and it was what people actually wanted.

The global situation on the energy front does not seem very rosy. The phenomena of global warming, the massive changes in climate, the petroleum dependence and other interconnected challenges are staring at us. We need to find solutions and implement policies that are immediate, diverse and far reaching, if we are to tackle this problem on a war footing. Energy Independence is not possible without radical programs.

Mini Swamy is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Alice Straight

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