The new Democratic Congress will be sworn in tomorrow, and the annual ritual of the Presidential State of the Union speech will follow in a few weeks' time. Last year, the Decider-in-Chief said America was "addicted to oil." What will his environmental and energy message be this year?

According to writer Caroline Daniel at MSNBC, it looks like there may be talk of raising CAFE standards and spending more money on hydrogen research. Any positive talk by Bush about the Kyoto protocol, though, remains a pipe dream.

But there is plenty that Bush could mention on the energy front that would make sense to me. I doubt he'll pass along any of these anti-consumption, non-corporate suggestions (this is the president who's post-terrorist attack cure was to tell people to go shopping, remember), but that won't stop me from writing them here.
  • Drive less. Take a page from the Australian, Mr. Bush. You're supposedly so close to Prime Minister Howard. Ask him about the Australian Government's Green Vehicle Guide. Car sharing, carpooling, public transportation, biking, walking. There are a hundred ways to get around that don't involve the standard private car method. Let's use them.
  • Support for truly clean electric cars through major investment in greener electricity generation. We know how to make electricity without slashing mountains in half and burning the coal we find inside. We also know how to make it without using nuclear energy. I don't expect a quick paradigm shift in the way our electricity is created, but we need to work on improving solar, wind, biomass and other truly green electricity generation techniques. Locally produced, clean energy is the way to go.
  • I'll toss in raising the CAFE standards, because that's cool, too. And then maybe Bush'll name at least one thing on my list.
  • A reality check on ethanol and hydrogen. I'm not against research into and production of these alternative fuels, but I'd like to see the President come clean with us about how long the hydrogen economy is going to take (and how much it will cost). The DOE has a good idea of what it'll take (decades), so he could go and ask them.
Maybe it won't matter that our President won't embrace my ideas or the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) in the State of the Union. In the MSNBC piece, Daniel talked to at least one person, a "senior industry lobbyist," who is seriously nonplussed by Bush's energy record. "Energy policy has been the creation of Congress. Almost anything Bush says in the [State of the Union] speech is irrelevant the day after he says it," he or she said.

You can read last year's State of the Union speech after the jump on the White House site (Update: I removed the text because it made scrolling down to the comments difficult).

[Source: Caroline Daniel / MSNBC]

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