If you were a government energy policy advisor, what would you recommend as an energy policy for the 21st Century? Why?
If I were in this position, I would recommend a diversified set of energy sources. I would try my best to move away from fossil fuels in general. I would try to use natural gas before petroleum or coal. I would also try to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I would certainly consider using nuclear energy. I would make these recommendations for a combination of economic, political, and environmental reasons.
I would propose that we move away from fossil fuels largely for environmental reasons. We need to try to slow global warming and reducing the use of fossil fuels is one way in which to do this. Since natural gas is generally cleaner than coal or oil, I would suggest that we use more of that unless “fracking” proves to be very harmful to the environment. For the same reasons, I would propose the use of things like wind power, solar power, and possibly nuclear power.
I would propose natural gas also for economic reasons. There is plenty of natural gas here in the US. This means that using natural gas would create jobs here at home. That is certainly an important goal.
I would propose using less foreign oil for political reasons. Much oil comes from unstable areas of the world and/or is controlled by morally shaky regimes. It would be preferable to be able to stop needing such regimes so much for our energy security.
For these reasons, I would suggest a heavy move towards natural gas, sustained efforts to develop renewables, and a long look at whether nuclear is a good idea.