How Green Is Ron Paul?
Grist's Amanda Griscom Little asks the question with a certain amount of trepidation. I loved this preamble:
Some of [Paul's] ideas arguably have environmental merit. Paul is known for his zealous opposition to the Iraq war, which he duly notes causes pollution and the "burning of fuel for no good purpose." He wants to yank all subsidies and R&D funding from the energy sector, which many believe would benefit the growth of renewables. A cyclist himself, he has cosponsored bills that would offer tax breaks to Americans who commute by bicycle and use public transportation. Still, his libertarian presidency would, among other things, allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, boost the use of coal, and embrace nuclear power. Moreover, it wouldn't do diddly about global warming because, Paul reasons, "we're not going to be very good at regulating the weather."
Then onto the interview on energy, where my favorite passage is his goal of removing subsidies from energy companies (take that, Cheney!):
If we're running out of hydrocarbon, the price will go up. If we had a crisis tomorrow [that cut our oil supply in half], people would drive half as much -- something would happen immediately. Somebody would come up with alternative fuels rather quickly.
Today, the government decides and they misdirect the investment to their friends in the corn industry or the food industry. Think how many taxpayer dollars have been spent on corn [for ethanol], and there's nobody now really defending that as an efficient way to create diesel fuel or ethanol. The money is spent for political reasons and not for economic reasons. It's the worst way in the world to try to develop an alternative fuel.
Amen to that last point. It's one reason we have an ethanol glut. I should add that I'm not as libertarian as he is on the environment. But, as always, listening to him is a far more invigorating experience - even when you disagree - than listening to all the others in the GOP.