Should Obama Hail Oil Disaster as a Clean Energy Wake Up Call?


Photo via CBC
MoveOn, Paul Krugman join chorus of calls for clean energy action
Although Obama has already placed a moratorium on new offshore drilling expansion -- an expansion he himself approved just a few weeks back -- a growing chorus of advocates, activists, and thinkers are calling on the president to heed the disaster in the Gulf as a wake up call for the nation's need to sever its dependence on oil. The chorus includes a TV ad from MoveOn.org, an op-ed from Paul Krugman, and a piece in Politico by Joe Romm. Here's the rundown:

And the takeawy from Krugman's must-read op-ed:

President Obama needs to seize the moment; he needs to take on the "Drill, baby, drill" crowd, telling America that courting irreversible environmental disaster for the sake of a few barrels of oil, an amount that will hardly affect our dependence on imports, is a terrible bargain.

It's true that Mr. Obama isn't as well positioned to make this a teachable moment as he should be: just a month ago he announced a plan to open much of the Atlantic coast to oil exploration, a move that shocked many of his supporters and makes it hard for him to claim the moral high ground now.

But he needs to get beyond that. The catastrophe in the gulf offers an opportunity, a chance to recapture some of the spirit of the original Earth Day. And if that happens, some good may yet come of this ecological nightmare.

And finally, there's Joe Romm and John Podesta's take over at Politico:
Having first embraced drilling, the Obama administration has now prudently suspended new offshore drilling, pending an investigation into the April 20 disaster. Not only does Obama's decision to protect the West Coast and the Northeast Coast seem wise in retrospect, it should be enshrined in law.

In its first year, the administration has aggressively pursued clean energy in the economic recovery effort. It has put forward a major increase in automobile fuel efficiency, which represents the biggest decrease in heat-trapping greenhouse gases in history.

Now, the administration and Congress should get down to the business of passing comprehensive energy and climate legislation that promises a more sustainable and less destructive future.

John Laumer already wondered if this oil spill was big enough to revitalize the green movement -- but is it enough to revitalize the president's clean energy ambitions as well?

More on the BP Gulf Oil Spill
Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill : The What, When and Where
Will The BP Oil Spill Be Our Collective Zen Slap Into Eco Consciousness?

Tags: Barack Obama | Clean Energy | Conservation | Oil

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