The rest was mixed, good and bad, but contained much of the same doublespeak that we’ve heard for the last six years. Any substance to be found in this brief discussion unfortunately appears on the supply side of the energy equation. As far as I know, nuclear power (and especially its waste) is not “clean and safe”, drilling for oil to be burned is not “environmentally sensitive” and clean coal is an environmental oxymoron all itself.
I offer the beginnings of a list of items missing from this part of the speech and welcome you to blog some more:
- 1. Where are the caps and limits on national CO2 emissions?
2. Will automobile CAFE standards make up for lost time?
3. Will federal tax credits for hybrids that have expired be restored?
4. What about the word CONSERVATION!?
It wasn’t all bad, of course. Plug-in hybrids are great…ask anyone who once owned an EV1 before General Motors pulled the plug. Grass, agricultural waste, wood chips, are good to a point. I was glad to see Wind and Solar get equal billing with coal, oil and nuclear.
Let’s see what devil’s in the details.
Unless there is meaningful policy behind the rhetoric, and I hope there is, one might be tempted to believe that dragging climate change into the conversation was used to distract from other disasters such as the war in Iraq.
Here’s the relevant part of the speech followed by some parting words from next week’s IPCC report from thousands of the world’s best climate experts.
It is in our vital interest to diversify America’s energy supply – and the way forward is through technology. We must continue changing the way America generates electric power – by even greater use of clean coal technology, solar and wind energy, and clean, safe nuclear power. We need to press on with battery research for plug-in and hybrid vehicles, and expand the use of clean diesel vehicles and biodiesel fuel. We must continue investing in new methods of producing ethanol – using everything from wood chips, to grasses, to agricultural wastes.
We have made a lot of progress, thanks to good policies in Washington and the strong response of the market. Now even more dramatic advances are within reach. Tonight, I ask Congress to join me in pursuing a great goal. Let us build on the work we have done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next 10 years – thereby cutting our total imports by the equivalent of 3/4 of all the oil we now import from the Middle East.
To reach this goal, we must increase the supply of alternative fuels, by setting a mandatory Fuels Standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017 – this is nearly 5 times the current target. At the same time, we need to reform and modernize fuel economy standards for cars the way we did for light trucks – and conserve up to 8.5 billion more gallons of gasoline by 2017.
Achieving these ambitious goals will dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but will not eliminate it. So as we continue to diversify our fuel supply, we must also step up domestic oil production in environmentally sensitive ways. And to further protect America against severe disruptions to our oil supply, I ask Congress to double the current capacity of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil. These technologies will help us become better stewards of the environment – and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change.
So much more could be said about climate change here but for tonight it’s all about who said it. I do have a few parting words though from several thousand climate scientists in the IPCC report due out next week as reported by The Guardian:
12 of the past 13 years were the warmest since records began;
Ocean temperatures have risen at least three kilometres beneath the surface;
Glaciers, snow cover and permafrost have decreased in both hemispheres;
Sea levels are rising at the rate of almost 2mm a year;
Cold days, nights and frost have become rarer while hot days, hot nights and heatwaves have become more frequent.
Go ahead. Click on the article. Then sleep if you can.