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May 24, 2004

Kerry's Top-Secret Energy Plan

One of the researchers here at the DymaxionWeb commutes by riding her bicycle across Capitol Hill. She normally goes down the hill on the House side but the other day she was detoured away by an enormous phalanx of DC and US Capitol Police. As a result she was skirted around to Constitution Ave. past one of the main parking lots for Senate staff. As sometimes happens, the chain on her derailleur slipped off and she was forced to get off the bike to stretch it back on. The car she parked next to happened to be one of those large dark windowed SUV's that are used around the capital these days to ferry government functionaries.
As she got started to mount back on the bike she glanced into the car and noticed something on the back seat: it was a thick stack of paper held together by a black clip and entitled "John Kerry's Top Secret Energy Plan". Before a couple of dark-glassed men were able to ferry her away she got a pretty good look at the front page. There were a number of bullet points.
Here, according to her, is possibly what Kerry is going to propose in the not too distant future:

A National Energy Proposal similar in nature to the Kennedy's Manned Landing on the Moon or the World War II Manhattan Project.
Kerry will propose that the US become energy-import independent within a period of 15 years. He will encourage massive government funding in basic research in solar, wind, hydrogen and "other" alternative energy production methods.
All national electric grids will be converted to two-way (buy-sell) delivery systems and the government will "encourage" the use of solar cells on residential and commercial buildings through tax and other subsidies. Similar subsidies will be set up for proven conservation technology and standards like increased insulation and computer-driven efficiency systems.
The CAFE standards, which legislate mileage standards for the fleets of manufactured cars will be extended to cover SUV's , vans and pick-up trucks. The tax loophole that encourages self-employed individuals to purchase cars weighing more than 6,000 pounds will be closed. Manufacturers will also be incentivized "as quickly as feasible" to step up the production of hybrid gas-electric cars to meet the new CAFE standards.
But the program will not stop there: mass transportation projects, HOV lanes and other structural changes will be made on a meaningful scale to diminish low occupancy automobile commuting.
Kerry will not propose any new gasolene taxes.
Admittedly, there is no saying whose limo the report was sitting in and what it might mean. Our researcher obviously got only a quick read of the main bullet points so there is much of the plan that has to be relegated to pure speculation; as, for example, how the new president, if elected, might get the required funding. The plan is also based on the premise that nanotechnology and new manufacturing techniques can greatly increase the efficiency of solar, fuel cell and other energy production methods.
Kerry might get some of the money from programs like the 10's of $billions a year Star Wars missile defense program or even from the cost of the present effort in Iraq if he can succeed in bringing in other countries during the transition phase.
As we have said, there's no verifying the origin of the plan. Maybe it was prepared and labeled "top secret" by some of Bush's own allies in and out of the oil business as a potential nightmare scenario.

Posted by dymaxion at 03:34 PM

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