WASHINGTON – Energy matters when it comes to U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told students at Georgetown University on Wednesday, adding that the issue plays a major factor in national security and global stability.
During her speech, she said that energy remains “an issue of wealth and power,” but also “a source of conflict and cooperation,” according to the Wall Street Journal, adding that “energy is key to economic development and political stability.”
Host Jessica Jordan spoke with Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, and Ezra Drissman, content developer and webmaster for GreenCareersGuide.com, to discuss the U.S. path toward greater energy production.
The fact that U.S. oil imports from the Persian Gulf are lower now and generally lower than they have been in a very long time. And the fact that there’s more oil production in other countries that are not APEC countries - is something that actually started in late 70s and then has been going on. It has enabled U.S. and the West to apply sanctions on Iran in terms of embargo on oil exports. This is kind of reverse of the crisis of 1970, right? When the Persian Gulf countries imposed embargo on oil exports to the West, especially to the U.S. Since the severe sanctions and oil embargo on exports from Iran have been imposed, I don’t think it has had much pressure on oil prices. And that’s very remarkable, because Iran is a very-very major source of oil and has very large oil reserves. So I think the increased oil production and reduced exports and diversification in the energy policy of the administration have put it into a position to implement stronger policy with respect to Iran.
In light of that, what about gas prices that have really seen a drop in the last week or so? I mean, dramatic drops to 20 cents?
Gas prices are a little bit higher than they were in the middle of the year. They’re closer to 4$ now. There were between 2$ and 3$ for quite a bit earlier this year. So it’s actually short-time fluctuation. I don’t pay much attention to it. What is remarkable is that gas prices now have been pretty low for an extended period of time. And gas supply and reserves have gone up. There’s actually room to implement policies like diversification of transportation fuels, if the U.S. want! There’s a huge infrastructure question associated with that. I don’t particularly think this is a good idea, because of that infrastructure question. I prefer a transition to an electric vehicle system, a little bit slower, but with larger benefits. I think that would have a much larger impact on oil consumption, because of the efficiency increase.
Ezra Drissman, what do you make of electric car production?
I think they’re starting to put attention to the Cadillac, which is kind of cool. And I think it’s a good move, because if someone’s going to spend 40,000$-50,000$ on that, then you might as well put an electric battery in it. Because they’re more expensive, it’s easier to get around that. I think the problem the administration is running into – is that the car companies are doing the reverse. You’re getting a lot more energy efficient, but the other side of it they’re producing even bigger SUVs. So it’s a two-way street. And I’d agree with Arjun that if you slow down a little bit, you might be able to get better technologies. More slowly implemented, but having more positive long-term effect on technology and clean energy if you take a slower approach.
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