Economic Advantages of Green Energy Take Precedence over Environmental Benefits in Obama Acceptance Speech

Many of you have probably seen, heard or read about Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver last night. For those who haven’t seen it and who have 45 minutes to spare, a video of the entire speech is embedded above. However for those with less time on their hands, here are the relevant portions in regards to what Mr Obama has said in regards to energy policy.
Environmental and climate change policy were not mentioned.The fact that these are absent from this speech is slightly disconcerting, but if pushing forward the economic benefits of renewable energy is what it takes to convince more people of its virtues (and the end result is lowered greenhouse gas emissions), then I won’t begrudge Barack for not mentioning them in this venue.

Ending Oil Dependency

And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: In 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East. We will do this.

Washington -- Washington has been talking about our oil addiction for the last 30 years. And, by the way, John McCain has been there for 26 of them. And in that time, he has 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 than we had on the day that Senator McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution, not even close.

It probably goes without saying that better fuel efficiency standards, more investment in renewable energy and more consistent government policy on incentives (too bad this last one wasn’t mentioned...) are all perennial themes on TreeHugger. It’s also good to see that Obama has said that simply drilling for more oil is not a realistic proposition for kicking the oil habit.

Energy Security/Independence

As president, as president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I'll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. [...] Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient.

I would have liked to see renewable energy come first in the speech—and as we’ve said before, there’s really no such thing as clean coal— but then again I don’t have to carry coal-producing states. I guess we’ll have to see how this one pans out if Obama is elected.

In regards to the government leading on energy policy, but all of us having to do our part to improve how efficiently we use energy: It sounds like he’s been reading TreeHugger.

On Renewable Energy

And I'll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy -- wind power, and solar power, and the next generation of biofuels -- an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced.

Can’t complain here, especially considering there’s mention of the next generation of biofuels, rather than the support he’s previously shown for corn ethanol.

Obviously there’s no specific policy to comment upon here, but the fact that he recognizes the economic benefits of increasing renewable energy investment is good to see. As I said at the outset, while I might argue that the environmental benefits of renewable energy are even more important than the real economic benefits, in uncertain economic times if that's what it takes to sell the concept, then so be it.

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