John Edwards is a former US Senator from North Carolina. He is also running for President of the United States as a member of the Democratic Party. I attended a recent campaign event and decided to record and share his talk. His energy plans are particularly interesting and quite disturbing.
I have been intrigued by the populist message and the Internet savvy of the John Edwards campaign. I like the ideas of implementing programs for peace, for improving access to college education, for reducing poverty at home and abroad, and for restoring the understanding of the importance of working people (as opposed to executives). I decided to go listen to Senator Edwards in person.
On June 19, 2007, Senator Edwards held a “Small Change for a Big Change” campaign fundraiser at a Washington, DC bar called MCCXXIII located at 1223 Connecticut Ave, just south of Dupont Circle. (In case your Roman numeral skills are rusty, the name of the bar is simply the street address – 1223.) The entry donation – which kind of felt like a cover charge – was only $15. There was a good crowd of several hundred people, mostly young professional types that might frequent that location anyway.
One thing that I did not really think much about until I was leaving the event was the fact that I do not recall seeing any blacks – which seems odd to me for an event in Washington held by a Democratic candidate for President.
I had brought my recording gear – an 8G iPod nano with a Griffin iPod microphone. I find that set-up to be pretty good at picking up amplified voices in a crowd, and it is really easy to stick in a shirt pocket.
The recording turned out pretty well, though I did miss the first couple of seconds and the first applause gathering promise – to stop the war in Iraq. The show includes a brief introduction and some post speech commentary.
The energy vision that Edwards provided indicates to me that neither he, nor his staff, can do math very well. None of them seem to have much understanding of the way that energy is produced right now. He promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 and to do that by supporting wind, solar and biofuels. He promised to invest at least a billion dollars in technology for carbon capture and sequestration and to discourage the construction of any new coal fired power plants while that research was being conducted. He said, “oh, by the way, we do not need any new nuclear plants either.”
However, the most disturbing part of the speech for me was the following passage. I thought it was important enough to transcribe word for word so that it could be available through search or for those people that do not listen to the Atomic Show. I would be very interested in hearing what you think about the implications of this vision. I am especially interested in the views from places like the Middle East, Europe, Japan and most especially Africa (all mentioned in the below passage.) This passage came after he talked about the energy sources that would supply America.
“What do we do with the rest of the world? We know that in the Middle East there are bad governments, bad leaders that have absolutely no incentive for economic development to educate their kids. Why, because they are on a drug called oil and they are mainlining that drug. Until we force them off that drug they will not change.
Suppose that America leads on this effort, that we clean up our own house. Europeans follow, Japanese follow. All of a sudden the price of oil plummets. Then they have no choice. They are going to have to educate their children. They are going to have to engage in economic and political reform. And all of a sudden the Middle East is completely changed, completely transformed. And even, take another step with me. Not only have we strengthened America, not only have we dealt with the crisis about whether the planet is going to exist, not only have we transformed the Middle East, but here’s another one.
For those of us who worry about issues like global poverty, which I care deeply about. Suppose that when America – which it can do – produces its own biofuels. You know we have the land base, we have the farms, we can do it here in America, but the Europeans don’t, the Japanese don’t, so hopefully they will buy some of their biofuels here in America, but, in addition to that, they are going to be looking for cheap land. They are going to be looking for a place that they can go to grow their own crops, produce their own biofuels. Where are they going? They’re going to Africa. And as a result, millions of families and children in Africa are lifted out of poverty. Look at what America can do if we have a little vision, if we have a little leadership.
Hope you find the show interesting, useful and passion generating.