Jimmy Carter in his Famous Cardigan Sweater
At least that is what the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says, and they might have a bias. However they do point out that:
- He was right in seeking to raise the fleet auto mileage standard to 48 miles per gallon by 1995. (Even U.S. automakers admitted at the time that they could easily achieve 30 mpg by 1985.)
- Carter was right in exhorting Americans to turn down their thermostats, even if he did look nerdy in a cardigan while urging us to do so.
- He was right to encourage fuel conservation by proposing a 50-cents-per-gallon tax on gasoline and a fee on imported oil —- in effect, a floor for fuel prices.
- Invoking the pioneering spirit of the 1960s moon mission, he was right to recommend a tax on windfall oil profits to finance a crash program to develop affordable synthetic fuels.
- Carter was correct, too, in setting a goal of obtaining 20 percent of our energy from solar power by the year 2000.
Jimmy Carter with solar panel at White House. Ronald Reagan ripped it off.
The ACJ continues with a description of today's leadership:
Failure To Lead
"Our leaders' idea of promoting alternative energy is touting future, nonexistent technologies, and that false savior, ethanol. Ethanol consumes nearly as much fuel to make as it produces, while collaterally raising food prices and damaging the environment.
The latest panacea is drilling in the Arctic and offshore, a short-term solution of dubious value that is wildly popular among oilmen and congressmen up for re-election, and in the Bush administration —- which evidently hopes to use high gasoline prices as a wedge for opening off-limits areas to exploration for its Big Oil constituency.
Meanwhile, Congress has failed to take the simple step of renewing federal tax credits for wind and solar power that will expire at year's end. How have our perceived options become so narrow and skewed?
It is because without any public debate, a de facto U.S. energy policy has evolved and is now in place: to cling ever tighter to our oil-based economy and its lucrative profits for the scions of the status quo, and to marginalize all who are not on board with this.
And now we are in the exact bind that Carter tried to prevent three decades ago. Acting with promptness difficult to fathom today, our elected leaders then enacted year-round daylight-saving time, dropped the speed limit to 55 and established government price controls. And oh so fleetingly, we downsized what we drove. All gone." Atlanta Constitution-Journal
Now there are some other items in Carter's resume that don't look so good today, like the Iran hostage crisis and the Olympic boycott, and his recent activities have been questioned by some, but when it came to energy, the nuclear engineer and farmer seems to have known what he was talking about...