Sometimes first thought best thought yields good results, but with Obama's last energy speech a week behind us some distance has yielded two spot on and well articulated responses to the President's old-as-new-again energy stance that are worth paying attention to. The first is from John Michael Greer over at The Archdruid Report; the second is from Jeff Rubin.In the middle of Greer's latest verbosity (the man can go on and on, and this from someone who can go on and on) is this excellent summary of Obama's lack of energy ambition:
Obama's speech outlined an energy nonpolicy. He seems to have had his speechwriters scrape up every cliché from every speech on energy policy made by every other resident of the White House since Richard Nixon, and the result was very nearly a nonspeech about his nonpolicy: a sort of verbal pantomime, in which Obama pretended to be doing something about energy in much the same way a mime pretends to be trapped inside a phone booth. He proposed, in effect, that the energy policy of the United States should include all the same things it's included for the last thirty years, under the pretence that this is something new, and in the serene conviction that the same policy choices that backed us into our present corner will somehow succeed in getting us out of it. [...] What made Obama's nonpolicy nonspeech such a bravura performance, though, was the easy grace with which it avoided mentioning any of the policy options that might actually do some good.Read more: The Archdruid Report
Mind you, Obama was quite right to suggest that America can cut its dependence on foreign oil by 30% by 2025. In fact, America will cut its dependence on foreign oil by at least 30%, and probably quite a bit more, by 2025; it's just that the cut in question is not going to be made by any choice of ours, much less as a result of any of the fancy technological ventures Obama spent his speech promoting. It will be made because faltering oil production, rising competition for the oil that remains, and the decline of American imperial power compared to its emerging rivals, will slice a shrinking pie in new and, for Americans, distinctly unwelcome ways.
Rubin goes on in a similar vein to Greer, highlighting how ever president since Nixon has outlined a roughly similar policy touting energy independence. Then dumps this uncomfortable stat:
While greater fuel efficiency is a laudable goal, past improvements in fuel efficiency have only encouraged Americans to drive more each year--about 30% more than at the time of the OPEC oil shocks...So far, recessions have been the only sure fire way America has cut back on its fuel consumption and the need for oil imports. But, of course, that is not an option any US president can pursue.
Read more: Jeff Rubin
More on Obama's Energy Speech
Obama's Energy Speech: Cut Oil Imports, Keep on Fracking and Fire Up the Nuke Plants
HSBC Economist Says We've Got Just 50 Years of Oil Left