Posts Tagged 'barack obama'

We Will Make Decisions Based On Facts

Governance is in a sorry state when you have to make that promise, but Obama spelled it out when he introduced his environment team– Chu, Jackson, and Sutley, just as leaked earlier.  At that link, you can watch the announcement and rea a text of the speech, which goes on to promise that, not only will the administration employ facts, they will also take actions based on those facts.

Wow, why does acknowledgment of that basic, logical decision-making process make me so excited about these new people?  How did we the people let things get so bad in our government that reliance on facts to decide actions is just now a plan?

Anyway, hurrah I guess, but there are questions about Lisa Jackson’s record at the New Jersey EPA (it appears she was good on greenhouse gases and not so good on cleaning up Superfund sites?), so that should keep us on the edge of our seats.  Hopefully this new focus on facts and action in the administration will inspire each of these people to greener heights.

To round out the people working on energy and environment issues, Obama needs to pick an Interior Sectretary to replace Dirk Kempthorne- remember him!?– and word is he’s got Ken Salazar lined up for that.

At Last, The Speech

Barack Obama gave his speech on energy policy today.  It’s about 30 minutes long.  He addresses ways to “relieve” high gas prices, but points out that that’s a quick fix, and not the real, big issue.  Obama also says he’s willing, if it’s the only way to get a compromise on new renewable energy development, to include limited new offshore drilling sites.  He’s pretty clear that’s only if there’s no other way to get his plans through.  It’s still irksome.

One of the most important points he makes is that a national energy transformation is going to be rough, and expensive, and people and businesses will have to change their behaviors.  But he promises to eliminate oil imported from the Middle East and Venezuela in 10 years, if we work together, etc.

He gave the speech in Lansing, Michigan, home of a large portion of the failing American auto industry.  Thus, a large portion of his speech is spent on how Americans need to build more efficient cars (100mpg, plug-in hybrids?  yes, please) right here in America, driving innovation and investment and such.

But autos are just the first point in his three-part plan.  What are the other two?  Watch and find out (they’re gooood.  Way more satisfying than more nuclear plants and offshore drilling everywhere).  I will tell you that this all relates back to Michigan.

Also, it’s Obama’s birthday today. Auspicious.

Candidates and Fuel

Recently, both candidates have said and done and been observed doing plenty of things that illuminate their positions on energy, the environment, the economy.  Mostly they say it’s about the economy and energy.  They’re not talking so much about the environment- except, on McCain’s end, slightly ironically, from what I can tell-  but they are revealing themselves.


So here’s the summation:

McCain is for offshore drilling so we can have plenty of cheap oil, auto efficiency standards so we don’t need oil, a gas tax holiday so we can afford all the gas-made-from-oil we like, and a 300 million dollar prize to whomever invents a totally sweet car battery to make our oily cars obsolete.

Barack Obama is aok with corn ethanol and would like some switch grass work to be done, supports a windfall tax on oil companies, and wants to close loopholes that may allow speculators to push up the cost of oil beyond where supply and demand would have it.

McCain opposes the windfall profits (as do I: why not just stop subsidizing oil companies already?), and Obama thinks offshore oil drilling is ridiculous (as do I, and the Bush’s Energy Information Administration, and most people who are well versed in oil markets, regardless of who they’re voting for).  And as for McCain’s 300 million prize, well, the conservative National Review likes the concept of giving people who invent things government money but hates everything else McCain does for the environment, and the liberal Climate Progress points out some pretty glaring flaws in the actual idea.  So take your pick.

I’m not entirely happy with Obama’s energy and environment positions.  Sure, by all means, close speculator loopholes.  But corn ethanol is a beastly subsidy, and we can do better in both fuel production and food markets by ending it.  Still, good on him for opposing foolhardy drilling measures despite political “expediency”, and not pandering to the public by promising cheaper gas.  Now, let’s hear more, Senator O.

As for McCain, well.  He sure is talking a lot about this, but when is he going to make up his mind on whether we need to use more oil or less oil?  You can’t, in one sane, honest mind, espouse reductions in greenhouse gases, and at the same time promise cheap oil for everybody.  With all the double-talk, he’s managed to alienate both his conservative supporters and the environmentalists he wants to give him a chance.

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