By Brian Dumaine, senior editor-at-large
FORTUNE -- Lisa Murkowski is one Republican senator who wants to do something about climate change. Catching up with her after she gave the keynote at the Bloomberg New Energy conference in New York City on her new Energy 20/20 plan, Fortune's Brian Dumaine discussed with this third-generation Alaskan how America could become energy independent, opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the need for more federal clean-tech R&D, and why the Keystone XL pipeline should be given a green light.
On America becoming energy independent:
"As I argue in my Energy 20/20, report, that oil scarcity is a myth and that the U.S. can become energy independent if we pursue all forms of energy. We still have billions of barrels in Alaska that sit untapped. There are abundant reserves offshore in the lower 48." Murkoski is also a supporter of coal but thinks that we need the technology to create coal that is truly clean and "not just PR hype." She also supporters solar, wind, and other renewables but believes that the time has come to start phasing out subsidies for these technologies.
On climate change:
Unlike many of her Republican colleagues in the Senate, Murkowski believes that climate change is real. She adds: "It doesn't make sense to argue about how much global warming is caused by man -- whether it's 5% or 50%. The best approach is to have a no-regrets policy." To combat climate change, she argues that the nation needs to pursue all forms of energy but to move more toward cleaner and cleaner fuels as time progresses. "We owe it to ourselves to keep healthy this marvelous world we've been given."
On the need for clean-tech R&D:
The Senator stresses that technology will help us solve our energy problems. "All that natural gas was just sitting deep underground until we figured out fracking technology. Now look at all the jobs it's creating including places like the Dakotas." While opposed to the government funding the next "Solyndra" Murkowski believes the federal government has an important role in supporting basic R&D. "A lot of the basic research that helped us figure out fracking," she argues, "came from the federal government."
Her plan: open up new areas for oil and gas drilling such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska and offshore in the mid-Atlantic states. The federal government, she says, could direct part of the royalties from all that new production to fund federal clean-tech R&D whether it's solar, batteries or wave power. How much could be raised? "Billions," she says.
On the Keystone pipeline:
The controversial proposed pipeline would bring millions and millions of barrels of oil from Canada's oil sand fields to refineries in the southern U.S. Environmentalists worry about oil sands, which generate more greenhouse than regular crude, and also about pipeline spills in sensitive areas. Murkowski says that "the Canadians have been working hard to make oil sands less carbon intensive, and that the project will create many well-paying American jobs." Will it get built? "I go back and forth on this every day but in the end I think it will," she says. "But if Obama approves it, he may have to block some other project like ANWR to please his supporters in the environmental movement."
Energy expert Daniel Yergin talks about the impact fracking will have on renewables.
Interview by Brian Dumaine, senior editor-at-large
FORTUNE -- Daniel Yergin, author of the new bestseller The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World, is one of the planet's foremost thinkers about energy and its implications. He received a Pulitzer Prize for his previous book, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power. Yergin is MOREApr 17, 2012 5:00 AM ET
America's most profitable company now produces about as much natural gas as it does oil. CEO Rex Tillerson thinks the fracking party has just begun.
By Brian O'Keefe, assistant managing editor
FORTUNE -- For Rex Tillerson fracking is more than a revolutionary approach to drilling oil and gas -- it's part of his personal history. Simply mention the word to the CEO of Exxon Mobil (XOM) and he starts reminiscing about his MOREApr 16, 2012 5:00 AM ET
Deep-sea drilling and fracking are helping to unearth abundant supplies of oil and gas. The coming energy renaissance could be just the elixir the U.S. economy needs.
By Richard Martin, contributor
FORTUNE -- Thursday night in South Texas, and the parking lot at the Texas Roadhouse, on Highway 287 outside Port Arthur, is jammed. Big-shouldered Sierra trucks jostle with shiny Rams, F-150s, and Tundras, with a pearl-white, freshly polished Dodge Challenger sports MOREApr 12, 2012 5:00 AM ET
It's a brave new world for the future of autos: Electric cars will finally take off and drive themselves -- but don't say good-bye quite yet to fossil fuels.
By Anne VanderMey, reporter
FORTUNE -- While we're not going to see flying cars for a long, long while, the global automobile industry is indeed undergoing an epic transformation. The rising price of gas, stricter mileage requirements, and concerns about global warming are MOREApr 2, 2012 5:00 AM ET
FORTUNE -- In March, the U.S. Senate narrowly defeated a bill that would have provided billions of dollars in tax credits to boost deployment of natural-gas-powered vehicles. That won't stop billionaire energy magnate T. Boone Pickens, who championed the plan. He still believes natural gas is the best way to help America reduce its dependence on foreign oil. Some 112,000 natural-gas vehicles -- mostly trucks and buses -- already occupy MOREApr 2, 2012 5:00 AM ET
FORTUNE -- Despite rising gas prices, all-electric cars haven't sold as well as manufacturers had hoped. Range anxiety, a scarcity of charging stations, and the high cost of lithium-ion batteries have turned off many consumers. Says Mike Omotoso, a senior manager at the research firm LMC Automotive: "When families look at the big picture, gas-powered cars are still a lot cheaper than electric ones."
But the landscape is changing. The number MOREApr 2, 2012 5:00 AM ET
FORTUNE -- The global auto market is huge -- some 1 billion vehicles ply the roads today. Electrics and hybrids constitute only a small fraction of the total, and it will be decades -- if ever -- before they become a dominant technology. In the meantime, engineers are boosting the efficiency of gasoline and diesel engines to meet increasingly strict mileage standards. In the U.S. an automaker's fleet must average MOREApr 2, 2012 5:00 AM ET
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