Former President Jimmy Carter said in a wide-ranging interview Sunday on Platts Energy Week that the United States likely will not generate a large portion of its power from green energy any time soon, but the nation's abundant natural gas reserves could provide a new path toward achieving energy security.
Although Carter once pledged the nation would generate 20% of its electricity from renewable power sources, such as solar and wind, he said at current rates "it'll be a long time," before the U.S. reaches that goal. He blamed subsequent presidents for failing to continue the policies he set in motion.
"All of the presidents since then, Democratic and Republican, have basically been overly complacent," both about the nation's energy security and reliance on fossil fuels, Carter said.
Carter also admitted that he would have made different decisions himself if he had been more aware of the dangers of climate change. He would have been less zealous, for example, about promoting U.S. coal.
"If I had known I doubt I would have," Carter said. "It's only been since then, over the last 25 years or more, that it has been proven that the early indications were indeed an underestimation of the deleterious effect of human beings burning too much coal and other fuels to adversely impact the environment of the whole world."
In the long term Carter says the U.S. will inevitably move toward to a cleaner energy future, with less dependence on foreign imports.