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A Call For Conservation

A Call For ConservationTufts' president leads higher education's call for George Bush to rethink his energy policy.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [06.01.01] Offering the expertise of some of the best scientists in the world, 42 university and college presidents, led by Tufts' John DiBiaggio, called on the White House to rethink its energy policy. In a letter sent to President George Bush this week, DiBiaggio and his colleagues wrote that future U.S. energy supplies must rely on conservation, not traditional fossil fuels.

"Instead of defending 19th century industries using 1950s coal and oil-based technologies, we have an opportunity to lead the world into the twenty-first century with new technologies developed in the United States," DiBiaggio wrote in the letter. "This requires that we shift away from, not toward, traditional uses of coal and oil."

According to the Associated Press, the timing of the appeal is particularly significant.

"The letter comes one week after the Bush administration unveiled its energy plan, weighted toward the development of oil, gas and coal resources," reported the international news service.

But fossil fuels won't provide the answers in the future. To help the country develop new sources of energy, DiBiaggio and the other presidents said their institutions could help develop more alternative energy sources and advanced technology.

"We stand ready to commit our intellectual resources to assist government under your leadership in developing solutions to some of the most critical challenges our students and our nation will face this century," they wrote in the letter.

DiBiaggio told The Chronicle of Higher Education that the schools supporting the letter are an important voice on the issue because they are committed to both responsible citizenship and the environment.

"It's our feeling that President Bush should be aware of the concerns of institutions that have a strong commitment to environmental issues," he said in the Chronicle's article.

The letter may also encourage Bush to increase funding for scientific research, especially as it relates to energy.

Disappointed by Bush's proposed spending for such research, DiBiaggio told the Chronicle that Tufts and the other institutions could help give the U.S. a leadership position on alternative energy.

"The lack of attention to energy research is coming at a price, the college presidents maintain," reported The Chronicle of Higher Education. "The U.S. is no longer leading the world in some forms of research in alternative energy."

Calling for a "truly innovative energy policy," DiBiaggio and his colleagues wrote that they are ready to pitch in.

"Among our faculty, students and staff, we have the intellectual resources, the enthusiasm and the expertise to help craft an approach to energy and environmental issues that is based on excellent science and technology and on sound economic and policy principles," they wrote.

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