Suggestions submitted to President-Elect Obama's web site: http://change.gov/
Energy is the most significant issue facing the U.S.; it affects Everything Else. To confront energy scarcity in a rational way:
1) Create an initiative to place photovoltaics on every home and commercial rooftop, and over every parking lot in the nation.
2) Create an initiative to put small-scale wind turbines in backyards and parking lots. Really. Power generated near where it's consumed is much more efficient than transporting it long distances.
3) Visit: Rocky Mountain Institute to find great ideas for energy conservation (I'm not affiliated with this organization, just an admirer.)
4) Create an initiative to weatherize and increase the efficiency of homes, including:
-- New windows (made in U.S.A.)
-- Fiberglass insulation for attics and basements
-- High efficiency, American-made appliances
-- Add-on exterior shells framed with recycled plastic
to envelop and seal older homes.
-- Net result: all American homes insulated and sealed to meet stringent LEED standards, all appliances meet "Energy Star", or better standards
5) Promote mass-transportation and high-density apartment construction; tax suburban sprawl, tax vehicle registrations (based on the size and efficiency of the vehicle) and use the money to subsidize intelligent design...of housing.
6) Abandon corn-based ethanol -- it's a farce in so many ways. Please, please, please get wise to this before tons more money is wasted on it.
7) Abandon "clean" coal (carbon sequestration will never work). Please, please, please...same as above. And, increase BLM rates charged to coal industry for mining federal land for the coal we currently use so at least taxpayers are better compensated for their land, and coal prices will more accurately reflect the true cost of the stuff.
8) Abandon nuclear -- it's an overpriced dead end. Every dollar spent on nukes is a dollar for real solutions lost. Please, please, please...same as above. (Visit RMI -- see above -- if you're not convinced.)
9) Help restore our manufacturing industries: impose tariffs on offshore manufacturers who don't meet our labor or environmental standards. Our current notions of free trade are delusional and have decimated our once proud engineering and manufacturing capacity.
10) Impose strict standards on factory farms for waste disposal and the treatment of animals -- we are addicted to cheap, unwholesome meat -- we should be ashamed.
11) Support small-scale farms: cut subsidies to big Agriculture -- small, organic farms are cleaner, healthier, and more efficient and we don't need to be ashamed of what we eat if we get our food from them.
All of the above can be done in ten years or less, would ultimately pay for themselves, and would fuel domestic industry...if we could just persuade politicians to find the will to get educated and act (and sever their ties with big oil, coal, and agriculture). None of the above requires research and development -- the technologies exist NOW.
Thanks & good luck!