No time right now for editorial comment from me, just a sampling of the press on Obama’s energy plans following his speech tonight:
History echoes during Obama’s big speech
“For the sake of our economy, our security and the future of our planet,” he said, with a stern look on his face, “I will set a clear goal as president: In 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.”
Critics slam Obama for being all rhetoric and no substance, but in a summer when Americans are paying nearly $4 a gallon for gasoline and fretting about high heating costs to come this winter, he vowed to end what he called “this addiction” to oil.
“Washington has been talking about oil addiction for the last 30 years, and John McCain has been there for 26 of them,” he said. “In that time, he’s said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day Senator McCain took office.
I don’t quite know what to make of that. Is it naivety? Pandering? Is he going to raise gasoline taxes by $5/gal (which would probably make the U.S. energy independent by crushing demand)? Or is the real meaning to be found in the phrase “dependence on oil from the Middle East” – since Canada is our #1 supplier?
US election: Obama shares a vision and plan to fulfill ‘America’s promise’
“Let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am president,” he promised. And he did… A pledge to make the United States energy independent of the middle east within 10 years (shades of John Kennedy’s equally improbable, but fulfilled, pledge to put a man on the moon in a decade). $150bn to be spent on renewable energy sources within the same decade. A look (but no specific pledge) on a new role for nuclear power.
Energy and tax proposals in Obama speech
– Ending U.S. dependence on oil from the Middle East in 10 years.
– Tapping U.S. natural gas reserves, investing in clean coal technology and finding ways to safely harness nuclear power. Further domestic drilling was just a stop-gap measure, he said.
– Helping U.S. auto companies re-tool so that fuel-efficient cars of the future would be built in America.
– Investing $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy, wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels. Obama said that would lead to new industries and 5 million new well-paying jobs.
Inside Obama’s green plan for energy and the economy
Obama says his “overarching goal” is to end U.S. reliance on Mideast and Venezuelan crude. Not much controversy there. Yet he’s not enamored of major U.S. oil companies either. He backs a windfall profits tax, and his aide Jason Grumet has spoken critically about the wave of mergers that gave us modern Big Oil.
Obama has several strategies to loosen oil’s vise. He has backed corn ethanol but now emphasizes cellulosic fuels made from materials no one eats, such as wood chips and switchgrass. A speculative solution, certainly, but indications of support could give a boost to big DuPont & Co., little Bluefire Ethanol Fuels Inc. and Verenium Corp., as well as private firms such as Mascoma Corp. and Range Fuels.
I don’t know how he could give much more of a boost than the current 36 billion gallon mandate. I guess he could throw a few more billion at the problem. While he’s at it, he may as well go ahead and mandate that we cure cancer. I still can’t figure out why nobody has thought of that.
12 thoughts on “The Press on Obama’s Energy Plans”
Even “Green” Energy Needs Lower Oil Price
So you do not agree with the proposals from the Obama speech. What proposals would you give the general public regarding energy independence? The fact is that all proposals have their critics. We need to try any and all proposals and with luck, a few will lead to decreased energy independence.
So you do not agree with the proposals from the Obama speech. What proposals would you give the general public regarding energy independence?
You can find the basics of an energy plan I recently proposed in An Open Letter to Our Next President. Those are the kinds of actions that we need to take if we are going to seriously move toward energy independence.
Obama didn’t so much make proposals in his speech as set goals. Energy independence is a lofty goal, but one I agree with. I don’t want our energy security in the hands of other countries. The naivety comes in the specifics, which I don’t see leading to energy independence. And some of his positions, like his long-time support of corn ethanol – may lead down an equally problematic path.
My criticisms are specific to him. I don’t think either party has ever demonstrated that they have a grip on how to deal with our energy problem. If they had, we wouldn’t have slid steadily more into energy dependence during every administration for the past 35 years.
“My criticisms are specific to him.”
Correction: “My criticisms are NOT specific to him.”
Yes, Obama was a bit of a disappointment, was he not?
He could have gone for the "Change" thing and put it to the people straight — either we live with dependence on oil from some countries we disapprove of, or we cut back greatly on over-regulation & government mandates while clearing a path for massive expansion of nuclear & Coal-to-Liquid conversion.
But Obama did not say that. He just offered a warmed-over version of Presidents Nixon and Carter. Some change!
But suppose Obama had actually shown courage & leadership? He could propose anything, but the only effective measures would be those which are implemented into law by the Democrat-controlled House & Senate — the guys who gave us the ethanol mandate.
What would be the chances of any truly effective measures getting the approval of a bunch of politicians who are in love with regulation & laws — and the resulting campaign contributions?
Lest we forget, Obama is a politician too.
I wish Obama had been more specific as well. And, yes, we need a $3 a gallon national gas tax, but no one is going to say that.
But RR is overlooking the huge role that higher mpg cars could have. Obama has visited the GM plant where they will make the Volt. He is aware there is a car coming to market that can go 40 miles on a charge, and then 50 mpg. A real car. To be made by a major manufacturer, and which likely will be copied worldwide.
If we migrate our domestic fleet of cars to GM Volt type cars, in 10 years we will not need Mideast oil (oil is fungible, so this is a bit silly, but our demand would be reduced dramatically.)
The question is, will the world need oil in 40 years?
It is not hard to imagine a world of volt-cars and scooters, powered by nukes, wind, solar, geothermal, clean coal and natural gas.
Everything is already in place to move to this cleaner and better world. Frankly, I look forward to it.
The only way to eliminate dependence is to eliminate imports. We can’t blockade Iran eveen if we don’t get a drop of oil from them, because those who do get oil from Iran will simply start buying “our” oil from Canda, Mexico, Nigeria, etc. If we import we are dependent. Weasel wording does nothing to change that.
I like your post, but actually, the ethanol mandate comes from the Bush Administration, and farm state Congressman, most of whom are Republicans.
When it comes to getting subsidies, everyone becomes a socialist.
Benny, the Volt can’t get us off oil imports in 10 years. Battery manufacturing cannot ramp that fast. 20 years is possible with an all-out effort. Even so, I think PHEVs are the best long-term approach.
Free market theory is built on two bedrock principles:
1. Competition between producers
2. Consumer choice
Practically speaking, oil markets have neither. A cartel controls the bulk of global oil exports. That oil is primarily consumed in cars which are hardwired to burn nothing else. Because the oil market does not follow free market principles, consumers do not enjoy the primary benefit of free markets — efficient pricing. The evidence is clear: oil BTUs cost 10x as much as coal, nuclear or wind BTUs.
We can’t do much about OPEC. Their actions violate free market principles and would be blatantly illegal in any free market nation, but they live outside our jurisdiction. We can only offset their market manipulation by focusing on the second bedrock principle — consumer choice. We must provide our population with cars which let them choose from several abundant fuels.
So called flex-fuel cars today let consumers choose between gasoline and E85. But ethanol is not, and probably never will be, abundant. Abundant US energy resrouces include wind, coal, nuclear and possibly natgas. Only PHEVs allow consumers to choose between oil and these other abundant fuels. Only PHEVs can fully bring free market principals to bear in the oil market, and make oil BTUs compete with much cheaper coal/wind/nuke/NG BTUs.
Congress should avoid picking a specific technology, such as PHEvs. But Congress should absolutely pass laws to favor cars which let consumers choose abundant domestic fuels instead of oil, bringing free market discipline to the cartel-controlled world oil market.
OBAMA 10 YEAR GOAL–
1]-THERE IS A SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE OBAMA ” 10 YEAR GOAL” AND KENNEDEY’S DECLARATION TO PLACE MAN ON MOON. KENNEDY WAS IN OFFICE, HAD BENEFIT OF INFORMATION ON JOB/CHALLENGES FROM EXPERTS, COULD SIZE EFFORT, COMMAND ORGANIZATIONS TO ORGANIZE/PERFORM, WITH FULL REPUTATION OF USA AND JOHN KENNEDY ON THE LINE WORLDWIDE. THUS FAR OBAMA[AND MCCAIN] OFFER RHETORIC WITH NO IDENTIFIED IMPLEMENTATION DETAIL, NO REPUTATIONAL EXPOSURE[ CAN ALWAYS COP OUT WITH EXCUSES LATER].
2]-THERE WILL BE INTERNATIONAL AND NATIONAL PAIN BORNE ON SUCH ACTIONS.
I HAVE HEARD NOTHING ABOUT THIS ASPECT. IT COULD BE PIVOTAL TO SUCCESS.
3]-LET US NOT FORGET THE HISTORICAL ACTIONS/ERRORS AND THE WARNINGS FOR THE “NEED OF ALL ENERGY FORMS” OUTLINED BY R. BRYCE[GUSHER OF LIES]. OTHER SIMILAR PUBLICATIONS HOLD ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS TO THIS MONUMENTAL TASK.
ACCEPTANCE OF GENERALITY LACKING BROADER AND DEEPER KNOWLEDGE OF HOW, WHO, WHAT, WHY, WHEN SHOULD NOT BE MADE. ESPECIALLY BY PRETENDERS TO OFFICE; ACCEPTANCE FROM THE INCUMBANTWHO HAS SOME INSIGHT AND POWER IS A FAR DIFFERENT CIRCUMSTANCE.
Obama has visited the GM plant where they will make the Volt. He is aware there is a car coming to market that can go 40 miles on a charge, and then 50 mpg. A real car.
…will make the Volt? A real car? 50 mpg? You shouldn’t believe everything you read, Benny!
Notice that another real car, the Tesla (the one that inspired GM’s commitment to the Volt) is very slow out of the starting blocks.
The Volt promises has many doubters, including questions about its ability to compete with the new Prius.
Heck, a skeptic might suggest the main aim of the Volt project is to win GM some Federal Bail-Out Dollars…
I don’t much like Obama, but it’s a good idea to set a goal like the one he has. Even if we only accomplish 25% of the goal, progress will have been made.
On the other hand, if he is making such a statement then he must have some idea of how he will achieve it. As seems to be usual with him, we don’t get to hear much about that, and I don’t see anything in his background that would allow me to take his word for it.
If we spend 10 years thinking that gravity is going to lessen our dependence on foreign oil and nothing happens then we have wasted valuable time. I think we need more details.
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