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While I do realize the intent of Café San Diego is to address local issues, many issues transcend national discussion and have a significant local nexus. Energy security is one such concern. This is not only something for our nation’s leadership to address, but it also must be one of the principle concerns for local officials as well.

Few will argue that we face new challenges with the financial and environmental cost of energy, shipping jobs overseas and the fact that energy requirements among industrializing nations have changed the global energy markets. Many feel that it the life we knew is slipping away as we watch. Gas prices increase what seems like every day, the recession continues to loom, and we are inundated with news of the lack of stability in the Middle East.

There are ways to meet these challenges while making our country and San Diego County more secure, but it means we must reexamine both national and local energy policies and stop grasping at old ways of doing things. The bottom line is that we cannot drill our way out of our current global energy situation. Globalization and increased global petroleum requirements by emerging nations such as China and India have placed both domestic and international petroleum sources at the mercy of global markets. I am not advocating ceasing ongoing exploration or drilling. What I am saying is that the world production cannot meet world demand and that we must find new energy sources where we can to ensure that our economy can continue to grow.

Locally, I urge elected officials to lead the way to energy security by making San Diego the center of excellence in renewable energy just as they did for the biotech industry. New energy research, development and production are the next expansive yet untapped marketplaces. San Diego can sit back and watch this opportunity go by, or we can seize it by becoming a global leader in new energy.

I propose a bold but calculated transition to a new energy future by our local leaders, a world of “green collar”jobs and sustainable energy security. This will reduce the vulnerability of our region to global energy requirements and create new jobs enhancing our local tax base. Some organizations such as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have taken it upon themselves by incorporating renewable energy technology into their buildings that actually produces a surplus of energy. This project was done through an apprenticeship program and could serve as part of a model for a regional program. It is time for a little vision to secure San Diego County’s energy and economic future. We should not let this opportunity go by.

—MIKE LUMPKIN

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