James Kunstler says Obama’s new energy proposal iss green smoke. He details why the one-third reduction in oil imports Obama wants within a decade will happen whether we are ready or not. Making things worse, the US remains utterly dependent on automobiles and has no substitute plan.
But Obama’s plan isn’t really green at all. Instead he wants more drilling for oil and natural gas, with a switch to natural gas powered vehicles and electric cars. He also wants higher mileage standards for vehicles and to mandate that utilities purchase 80% of their power from “cleaner” resources, which in Obama-speak, includes nuclear and clean coal. Right, let’s ask Japan how clean they think nuclear power is now. And just so you know, clean coal isn’t.
The plan also includes more biofuel, but until there are genuine breakthroughs, biofuel is not economically feasible. The current federal government emphasis on corn ethanol is wasteful, inefficient, and a deliberate giveaway to agribusiness.
Obama’s proposal seems more of his usual lofty speechmaking with little to back it up.
There are a few things you can state categorically about the US energy predicament and the national conversation we’re having about it – including the leaders of that conversation in government, business, and the media. One is that we are blowing a lot of green smoke up our collective ass. None of these schemes is going to work as advertised. The disappointment over them will be massive and probably lead to awful political consequences.
What we need is more mass transit, walkable communities, and an immediate push to energy efficiency at all levels. Just getting efficient and smart about how we use energy and fuel would cut consumption drastically, with very little pain.