Two Takes: The U.S. Needs to End Its Energy Dependence

America must become energy independent in the next four decades. And with the right political leadership, we will.

Americans will spend more on oil this year than on the Pentagon, homeland security, and Iraq, sending more than half a trillion dollars abroad, much of it to undemocratic countries. This figure could rise 50 percent if, as cbic World Markets predicts, gas prices climb to nearly $7 a gallon by 2010.

This dependence is economically unsustainable and ruinous for our children. Emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide have us on track to raise global temperatures 10 degrees above preindustrial levels by century’s end. Such warming would melt the world’s ice, raising sea levels and destroying inland glaciers that provide water to a billion people. It could turn one third of the planet into desert and make the U.S. Southwest a dust bowl. It would wipe out most species and leave oceans hot, acidified, and largely lifeless.

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