As smart and aware as President Obama is, it should be no surprise that he would be able to deliver, at least in my opinion, one of the best summaries of America’s current energy challenges.
But surprised I was still by a significant portion of his remarks made yesterday in Iowa:
Now, this will not be easy. There aren’t any silver bullets. There’s no magic energy source right now. Maybe some kid in a lab somewhere is figuring it out. Twenty years from now, there may be an entirely new energy source that we don’t yet know about. But right now, there’s no silver bullet. It’s going to take a variety of energy sources, pursued through a variety of policies, to drastically reduce our dependence on oil and fossil fuels.
As I’ve often said, in the short term, as we transition to renewable energy, we can and should increase our domestic production of oil and natural gas. We’re not going to transform our economy overnight. We still need more oil, we still need more gas. If we’ve got some here in the United States that we can use, we should find it and do so in an environmentally sustainable way. We also need to find safer ways to use nuclear power and store nuclear waste.
Overall, I could not agree more. But then there are a couple rhetorical hurdles to overcome, even in those few sentences. The first is easier: “If we’ve got some here in the United States…” Okay, well… we’ve got some. Rest easy. And that point won’t shouldn’t take much convincing. While the feigned supposition does bother me a little, it is a mere cosmetic issue when compared to the second point in question: “As I’ve often said, in the short term, as we transition to renewable energy, we can and should increase our domestic production of oil and natural gas.” Supposedly this is what supporters of American producers of oil and natural gas would want to hear, that is until you get to defining ”the short term.”