There is a subtle but important change in the current “buzz” about the Gulf oil spill. Those with an ear for such things notice that the words fossil fuels are being substituted for foreign oil in the phrase, “The U.S. must get rid of its dependence on . . .” Redefining the energy dependence issue as one of the source/type rather than the source/place could be the key to moving forward with energy legislation in the Senate. President Obama and others started using the new phraseology a few days ago, and it felt like a leap forward into the 21st century.
We need energy independence now. And either barrier to a thriving energy economy — foreign oil or fossil fuel — actually relates to our national security. Dependence on foreign oil is actually a bit misleading. All oil is sold on the world market; it all goes into the same pot. Dependence on fossil fuels is actually the larger problem; only clean, non fossil fuel sources of energy can be a permanent solution. Most sources of clean energy will be domestically produced, though not all. Questions about the importation of renewable fuels await developments in the world markets.
Focusing on a clean energy economy is the most logical long term response to the oil spill disaster. We are more likely now than before it happened to be able to look ahead in those more far reaching decisions. And President Obama must be the one to articulate the vision, lead and fight for it. It would not be wrong for him to take advantage of the new environmental climate consciousness generated by BP’s undersea gusher. People advocating such an approach use the examples of a Manhattan Project, or putting a man on the moon as models from the past. We know we can do it. It is just a matter of making the pivot and then dedicating enough resources and attention to the effort.
Bonus links to other articles (HT to my regular contributor, Jon):
“‘Be Grateful for President Obama’#,” is from Failure Magazine (6/2010).
“Scientists begin 520-day Mars mission simulation#,” is from Yahoo! News (6/3/10).
“Camp Costly#,” is from The Washington Post (6/7/10). At least $500 million has been spent since 9/11 on renovating Guantanamo Bay.