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Gore's proposal may not be simple, but it's urgent

In the Oct. 19 Viewpoints section of The Buffalo News, David A. Fahrenthold wrote an interesting article titled, "Repowering America: Gore's switch isn't quite so simple."

By "Gore's switch," Fahrenthold meant Al Gore's recent (July 17) proposal to switch America from its current reliance on carbon-dioxide-generating fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, especially wind, solar and geothermal, within 10 years.

Fahrenthold was quite right in pointing out the complexity of Gore's proposal, but he was wrong in concluding that the proposal can't be carried out. Indeed, if we are to survive as a powerful country, we must carry it out.

Gore is the only American political leader of whom I'm aware who has made a proposal big enough to match the magnitude of the greenhouse-gas-generated climate crisis that is already heating and drying out our Western states and pounding our Eastern states with more frequent and powerful hurricanes.

Unless we do something about it, even worse is to come. Much of our coast will be drowned by rising sea levels. Much of our interior may become as dry and scorched as the Sahara desert.

Gore's proposal will help prevent global warming, and it will enhance our national security in two additional ways. First, it will free us from our current dependence on foreign countries for fossil fuels. We'll no longer have to borrow money from China to pay for oil from the Middle East. Think of the boon to our struggling economy.

Second, Gore's proposal will create a very large number of new jobs here in the United States -- jobs that won't be transferable overseas. And that, too, will stimulate our economy.

Indeed, many of us recall that what rescued America from the Great Depression of the 1930s was the military spending of the early 1940s. At that time, we retooled our economy for war production. Now we have an equally urgent need to retool our economy for electrical energy production.
Fahrenthold points out that there is a shortage of turbines for wind power generation. Let's revamp some of our factories to make wind turbines, just as we once retooled to make cannons.

Fahrenthold points out that it will cost $200 billion to create a national electrical grid capable of carrying solar energy from the Southwest and wind energy from the Midwest to the populated West and East coasts.

I suggest that $200 billion spent on a national electrical grid will do far more to stimulate our economy than the $750 billion that Congress has just approved for bailing out our banks.

Perhaps a more appropriate title for Fahrenthold's article would have been, "Repowering America: Gore's switch may be difficult, but it is essential."

Joel A. Huberman is a retired professor and scientist from Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

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