Energy security and why we do what we do
President Obama delivered a speech about America's energy security at Georgetown University today. As someone who spends most of every day trying to grasp the numerous whys and complex hows of clean energy, I appreciated that his remarks underscored all the potential that exists in our pursuit of energy independence. Highlights of the address are listed below. It's nice to hear how these initiatives will work, rather than excuses why they won't. It's also reassuring to know that progress is being made in all different sectors, and that these pieces can fit together to solve the big-picture energy puzzle. There's a reason we do what we do at Blue Planet, and the President so graciously reminded us once again why it's so important.
Find the full text of Obama's energy security speech here.
On the enormity of the challenge: "So here’s the bottom line: There are no quick fixes. Anybody who tells you otherwise isn’t telling you the truth. And we will keep on being a victim to shifts in the oil market until we finally get serious about a long-term policy for a secure, affordable energy future."
On political inertia: "We cannot keep going from shock when gas prices go up to trance when they go back down -- we go back to doing the same things we’ve been doing until the next time there’s a price spike, and then we’re shocked again. We can’t rush to propose action when gas prices are high and then hit the snooze button when they fall again. We can’t keep on doing that."
On America's dependency on oil: "The United States of America cannot afford to bet our long-term prosperity, our long-term security on a resource that will eventually run out, and even before it runs out will get more and more expensive to extract from the ground. We can’t afford it when the costs to our economy, our country, and our planet are so high."
On domestic oil: "I give out this statistic all the time, and forgive me for repeating it again: America holds about 2 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves. What that means is, is that even if we drilled every drop of oil out of every single one of the reserves that we possess -- offshore and onshore -- it still wouldn’t be enough to meet our long-term needs. We consume about 25 percent of the world’s oil."
On biofuels: "If anybody doubts the potential of these fuels, consider Brazil. As I said, I was just there last week. Half of Brazil’s vehicles can run on biofuels -- half of their fleet of automobiles can run on biofuels instead of petroleum. Just last week, our Air Force -- our own Air Force -- used an advanced biofuel blend to fly a Raptor 22 -- an F-22 Raptor faster than the speed of sound. Think about that. I mean, if an F-22 Raptor can fly at the speed of -- faster than the speed of sound on biomass, then I know the old beater that you’ve got, that you’re driving around in -- (laughter) -- can probably do so, too. There’s no reason why we can’t have our cars do the same."
On higher fuel efficiency standards: "So that means our cars will be getting better gas mileage, saving 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the life of the program -- 1.8 billion. Our consumers will save money from fewer trips to the pump -– $3,000 on average over time you will save because of these higher fuel efficiency standards. And our automakers will build more innovative products."
On mass transit: "We’ve also made historic investments in high-speed rail and mass transit, because part of making our transportation sector cleaner and more efficient involves offering all Americans, whether they are urban, suburban, or rural, the choice to be mobile without having to get in a car and pay for gas."
On taking action: "Every time we fill up at the pump, every time we lose a job or a business to countries that are investing more than we do in clean energy, when it comes to our air, our water, and the climate change that threatens the planet that you will inherit -– we’re already paying a price. These are costs that we are already bearing. And if we do nothing, the price will only go up."
On clean energy investment: "So at moments like these, sacrificing these investments in research and development, in supporting clean energy technologies, that would weaken our energy economy and make us more dependent on oil. That’s not a game plan to win the future. That’s a vision to keep us mired in the past."
--1 million electric vehicles on our roads by 2015
--100 percent alternative fuel, hybrid, or electric vehicles in the federal fleet by 2015
--80 percent of electricity from clean energy sources by 2035