The most important panel I attended today at the Big Tent at the DNC revolved around the next energy policy of our future president. Talk about celebrity power: T. Boone Pickens was part of the panel and attendance in the Tent was the highest I’ve seen it all week. It was moderated by John Podesta, a former Clinton Chief of Staff. The third person on stage was Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club.
In a nutshell, the Pickens plan doesn’t go far enough. It doesn’t go far enough because his plan doesn’t address climate change in any meaningful way. It is an energy plan and one that could be described as transitory to 100% renewable. But he doesn’t present it as such. He presents it as the end game. If his plan, or something close to it, is the end game, climate change will effect us in ways we can’t imagine today. Read on if you want more details.
Yes, two parts of his plan deal with a wind corridor from Texas to Canada and a solar corridor from Texas to California. That’s a good thing. The third portion of his plan, however, advocates changing U.S. trucking fleets over from diesel to … diesel. The diesel would come from changing natural gas to diesel, but they would still run on diesel. That means we will still be utilizing fossil fuels for transportation. Unfortunately for his plan, natural gas is becoming increasingly difficult (read: expensive) to get out of the ground. Natural gas will become even more expensive if we convert national fleets of trucks to run on natural gas. One reason: the Pickens plan doesn’t guarantee domestic natural gas will be sold domestically. Like oil, it will go to the highest bidder. That’s what commodity traders do: sell for maximum profit. Pickens wants to switch expensive oil for expensive natural gas.