Sen. John Kerry spoke
at the Lux Executive
Summit on energy last week in Cambridge, MA. DN Editor-in-Chief John
Dodge interviewed him afterward and included his views from his presentation on a range of energy issues. While decidedly
partisan and complaining of fatigue from the late Red Sox playoff game the
night before, he was outspoken on energy.
On why our dependence on oil has grown for decades:
"Economic interests won out and I am talking about oil and
gas. Most inventors sat on the sidelines. In the 1970s, Jimmy Carter declared
would become energy independent in 10 years. Actually, Nixon announced it in
1973. Ford said by 1985. Reagan turned his back on energy (and) pulled out
of the energy lab in Colorado
(now the National Renewable Energy Lab). Oil
and gas is the last worst mistake we made in the 20th century."
On the dangers of relying on foreign oil and gas:
"There is no way possible for the U.S. to be secure against terrorism
unless we free ourselves from fossil fuel. That's the reality. It does us great
enormous injury in terms of sending a billion dollars a day to Saudi Arabia.
We're battling goblins."
On carbon reduction and carbon trading credit:
"If the cost is shared by everyone, it'll be written into the
cost of doing business (Congress is considering several bills on carbon
reduction). Some people think this is not the time to do it. I don't agree with
that. You can't be half pregnant on this. This is not as hard as people think
it is. Let the market set the price of carbon (credits). In 1990 with the Clean Air Act (which
promoted cleaner fuels and market-driven reductions in emissions), I vividly
remember the industry saying don't do this to us. It'll cost $4 billion. It
cost $2 billion and took (only) two years."
On the government's priorities with renewable energy
"It should be the great vision of the U.S. to create
a framework and (encourage) entrepreneurs (to create) the jobs of the future.
We've got to create jobs. Many of you (in the room) are responding: 'Are these
turkeys in Washington
going to get us a break?' We've got to get the energy policy right. We need
profound and dramatic change. We have a panoply of choices. The science (of
climate change) is frightening and the math is not complicated. We've really
got to proceed."
"In Europe, lights go on and
off as needed just like escalators. Here, escalators (always running) are
waiting for someone 1,000 miles away. That's the dumbest thing in the world."
On energy entrepreneurship:
"If I was in the
private sector, that's where I'd be."