Is this Obama’s Clean Energy Plan or Palin’s Drill Baby Drill?

by Philip Radford

March 31, 2010

On the heels of his victory on healthcare and student aid reform, President Obama announced today that he would kowtow to the oil industry and allow exploration and drilling in 167 million acres of coastal waters that have been protected for decades.

Obama’s proposal would allow oil and gas exploration in the coastal waters of the southern Atlantic states and the eastern Gulf of Mexico, threatening fishing and tourism industries in

A Greenpeace activist holds an oiled bird found on a beach severely affected by an oil spill.
A Greenpeace activist holds an oiled bird found on a beach severely affected by an oil spill. © Greenpeace / Egor Timofeev

those regions. But the news is even worse for Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, which are especially sensitive to oil drilling because they provide critical habitat for polar bears, whales, seals and other distinctive Arctic species.

Incredibly, despite dire warnings from the scientific community that we are approaching a tipping point in Earth’s climate system, Mr. Obama has set us on a course toward more dependence on fossil fuels.

You can take action now to tell President Obama that it’s time to break our addiction to oil. We put this video together back in 2008 to call on then-candidates Obama and McCain to restore the ban on offshore drilling that had just been repealed, and now seems like a good time to dust it off:

In his announcement, Obama insisted that this move will decrease our dependence on foreign oil and create jobs. But these claims don’t hold up to scrutiny. Investing in conservation and renewable energy would go much farther on both fronts.

The United States consumes 25 percent of the world’s oil, but has only three percent of the world’s reserves. In fact, the total oil reserves along our coast represent just a fraction of current U. S. demand, meaning we’ll still have to import plenty of oil from overseas.

Meanwhile, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that onshore U.S. wind resources could generate nearly 37 million gigawatt-hours (GWh) of clean energy every year. That’s more than nine times the amount of energy Americans currently consume annually.

Investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency has the potential to create 14.5 million more jobs by 2050 versus continued reliance on fossil fuels, and would simultaneously reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and cut our emissions of global warming pollution in the process. China and Germany are winning the clean energy race, while Obama has just staked our future and our economy on an outdated fossil fuel that will take years to extract and will cause far more harm than good.

As Albert Einstein said, we can not solve the world’s problems with the same thinking that created them. We certainly can’t solve global warming or meet this country’s energy needs by drilling for more oil. The science is clear: We have to reduce global warming pollution in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Ramping up oil drilling off America’s coasts does exactly the opposite.

It’s time to tell President Obama that we need to move forward into a clean energy future and away from ocean and climate destruction.

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