From Green Right Now Reports

America’s need to shake its dependence on foreign oil is one of those issues where people of varied political and philosophical leanings agree: It would be better for the nation if the U.S. imported less oil, particularly from hostile nations. It would stabilize the economy and enhance national security.

And yet, solutions are elusive, and have been for decades. Politicians promise to do something only to be sunk by special interests and the public’s strong demand for gasoline (though we’re using less gasoline than before the 2008 economic bust). Over the long haul, Americans have torpedoed themselves on this matter, driving big cars long after the rest of the world has gone smaller; still consuming more oil per capita than any other nation.

It’s going to take big ideas — and iron political will to muster a new direction, said many who spoke at an Aspen conference on clean energy this past week.

Oilman T. Boone Pickens, lately known for the clean energy Pickens Plan, took up the topic. And he did not (when does he?) mince words. If we don’t solve our energy issues, he said at a presentation at the AREDAY conference, “We’re going to go down in history as the dumbest crowd that ever came along.”

T. Boone’s got some solutions, some starting points, in mind so that Americans can eventually quit paying for both sides of wars over oil in the Middle East. He’s taken them to the White House and he shared them with an Aspen audience.

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T. Boone, by the way, also believes we need to move to cleaner energy to save the environment, and forget arguing about climate change.

“I’m convinced that we can’t wait for 20 years to confirm global warming, that you better start to work on it now and if we’ve made a mistake, it will be a mistake in the right direction,” he said at an armchair discussion with Ted Turner (moderated by Tom Friedman) at the Aspen Institute on Saturday.

Onetime presidential candidate Gen. Wesley Clark, an earlier keynoter at AREDAY, also offered a unique idea to focus Americans’ attention on just how much imported oil — $300 billion worth — they consume every year.