Obama and Oil Drilling


I think that Obama is making the right call about compromising on oil drilling in order to get renewable energy tax credits passed.

Here’s my thinking:

  1. In order to make any serious progress on reducing oil burning, we have to develop renewable energy sources in quantities sufficient to replace the energy we get from oil.
  2. An absolute, necessary requirement for that development is renewal of the renewable energy tax credits, and the sooner, the better. There are massive amounts of private capital poised to commit to developing renewables, but investors could get spooked if they think that the tax credits are uncertain or unreliable.
  3. Therefore, if we don’t get the renewable tax credits extended, and soon, then it won’t really matter whether or not the oil companies start drilling off of Florida. Florida will flood as global warming takes hold, and then we’ll have a whole, new, pristine coastline free of oil rigs. I mean, seriously, if we don’t stop global warming then no one is going to notice the environmental costs of increased coastal drilling.
  4. And looking from the other side, the farther we get in building renewable energy replacements for oil, the more the American people will support the various forms of carbon taxation that can make coastal drilling unprofitable. If coastal drilling is unprofitable, the oil companies won’t do it even though they will have a legal right to do it.

The GOP talking point is that Obama is flip-flopping on oil drilling, but that isn’t so. The fact is that Obama has two things that he wants. He wants to protect the coastline from pointless, unnecessary development, and he wants to protect the atmosphere. Unfortunately, the Senate Republicans have demonstrated that they can and will sabotage the renewable energy tax credits necessary to protect the atmosphere, unless the Senate gives them expanded drilling. This hard, political fact means that we, and Obama, can’t have both of the things we want, thanks to the desperation of the Senate Republicans to sell their services to Exon/Mobil will they still can. In the face of this hard fact, Obama is making the right call to yield on drilling in order to move ahead on stopping global warming.

That call is a mature, cold-blooded, real-world, judgment call that I support. Obama is not perfect by any means, but he is so much better than what we’ve had that I cannot wait until this guy is actually the President.

The oil rig image is Floating oil rig derrick, by crashworks, made availabe under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommerical license.


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