Maybe he’s just playing political games, as extremist Republicans contend and many liberals hope. Maybe he’s promoting drilling for oil in speeches (and in practice) in order to make sure he remains president and can do a ton to advance clean energy and energy efficiency in the U.S. Or maybe he just doesn’t get the extreme threat of global warming.
Obama’s decision to trumpet the significant amount of oil drilling he is making possible, and even fast-tracking, around the country is downright disheartening. It also seems to indicate that he has no idea how serious the coming effects of global warming are and how quickly we need to transition to a clean energy economy.
Obama made speeches in Nevada, Ohio, New Mexico, and Oklahoma in which he spoke about how much his administration was increasing oil production.
A line from New Mexico: “And we’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high.”
More from that speech:
… over the last three years, I’ve directed my administration to open up millions of acres just like this for oil and gas exploration in 23 different states. Let me repeat that — millions of acres in 23 different states. That’s just onshore. Offshore, I’ve directed my administration to open up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources. And that includes an area in the Gulf of Mexico that we opened up a few months ago that could produce more than 400 million barrels of oil — about 38 million acres in the Gulf.
Now, he also focused a lot on solar energy (see the video above) and fuel-efficient cars. And he made this insightful statement: “Some of these folks want to dismiss the promise of solar power and wind power and fuel-efficient cars. In fact, they make jokes about it. One member of Congress who shall remain unnamed called these jobs “phony” — called them phony jobs. I mean, think about that mindset, that attitude that says because something is new, it must not be real. If these guys were around when Columbus set sail, they’d be charter members of the Flat Earth Society. (Laughter.) We were just talking about this — that a lack of imagination, a belief that you can’t do something in a new way — that’s not how we operate here in America. That’s not who we are. That’s not what we’re about.”
And he repeatedly slammed the $4 billion in subsidies oil companies get each year.
But then he comes back to this line: “So as long as I’m President, we’re going to develop every available source of energy.”
I’m sorry, but if you’ve got a cocaine addiction, you don’t solve it by eating vegetables and doing cocaine. You solve it by cutting out the cocaine. We need to cut out the oil addiction, and we don’t do that by fast-tracking oil pipelines. We are already seeing record, disastrous extreme weather, and we’ve locked in another several decades of this with emissions we can’t get back. We need to cut our oil addiction in more ways than one. And Obama doesn’t seem to get that.
Obama also, just today, signed a West Virginia disaster declaration for an area “affected by severe storms, flooding, mudslides, and landslides beginning on March 15, 2012, and continuing.” That’s a story we are going to see more and more of, as Obama opens up more and more public lands to oil drilling and coal mining.
I have to go back to a grassroots movement, since I’ve lost my faith in Obama a bit. Here’s a good one that I hope will take off: