Memo to the U.S.: There’s an “Energy Tsunami” Coming

Note to the president, senators, representatives and governors: There’s a long-term energy crisis brewing, and your energy strategy has to be your top priority.

So goes the warning in an open letter sent today to the White House, Congress, 50 governors and the campaigns of both presidential hopefuls, and picked up by the Associated Press.

The letter was signed by 27 elder statesmen, including former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Henry Kissinger and former CIA Director-turned-VC James Woolsey, as well as six other former Secretaries of State or Defense, senators and senior White House advisers and Cabinet officers for past presidents, both Republican and Democrat.

“Technology is the cornerstone of a new energy policy,” the letter reads. It lists 13 steps that must be undertaken now to ensure our energy security in the future, including a gamut of clean energy technologies ranging from energy efficiency to renewables to nuclear to clean coal. Current efforts, the letter asserts, are not enough:

“The United States is currently spending 50 percent less on energy research and development than during the 1970s’ oil embargo. We spend less than four billion dollars a year on clean energy R&D, which is less than we spend in three days on imported oil today.”

And the current energy crisis is so great that Marine General James Jones, the President of the Institute for 21st Century Energy, which drafted the letter, told the AP that the coming problem is an “energy tsunami,” that we “better get on top of” or we’ll “get crushed.” If you’d like to add your own esteemed name to the letter, sign up on the institute’s web site.