So it looks like a copy of Barack Obama's inauguration speech has been leaked. Here's an excerpt...
"Energy will be the immediate test of our ability to unite this nation, and it can also be the standard around which we rally. On the battlefield of energy we can win for our nation a new confidence, and we can seize control again of our common destiny. Our excessive dependence on OPEC has already taken a tremendous toll on our economy and our people. It's a cause of the increased inflation and unemployment that we now face. This intolerable dependence on foreign oil threatens our economic independence and the very security of our nation.
The energy crisis is real. It is worldwide. It is a clear and present danger to our nation. These are facts and we simply must face them." Now for the truth...What you just read is not an excerpt from a leaked version of Obama's inauguration speech. It's an excerpt from a speech made by President Jimmy Carter on July 15, 1979.
My friends, here we are almost three decades later, and we're just as reliant upon oil as the day Jimmy Carter spoke those words.
You see, four years after President Carter took office, many enjoyed mocking his failed energy policies and conservation attempts while The Great Communicator, Ronald Reagan rushed to rip solar panels off the roof of the White House.
It was a turning point and a very sad day, indeed.
Now I'm not saying all of President Carter's energy initiatives made sense. After all, he did champion tar sands and coal as ways to provide the nation with energy security. And if you look at the water, climate change and depletion issues associated with both oil shale and coal production, you'll see that these energy resources do not provide an ounce of energy security...but just prolong the inevitable, while destroying even more of our natural capital.
However, rallying the nation today to support a new energy infrastructure heavily weighted in renewable energy, efficiency and conservation cannot be a sound bite in the history books the way Jimmy Carter's energy plan was. We do not have that luxury today. If we don't get it right this time, we can officially chalk ourselves up as a second-rate nation, loyal only to the dwindling fossil fuel resources that crippled us to begin with.
Of course, we also have to be realistic about the difficult road ahead. After all, this transition to a new, cleaner energy economy is not going to be quick, and it's not going to be easy. But we must remain optimistic too. Because, as Albert Einstein once said, "In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity."
The opportunity that we have today is to build a future that embraces clean energy, social justice, and the triple bottom line. It is an opportunity that will enable better living conditions for the global community while creating new wealth for those who invest in local communities, renewable energy and organic food markets. And my friends, this is an opportunity that will not likely repeat itself if we don't act on it now.
We stand at the threshold of a new way of life and a new generation of wealth.
Let's not blow it!