President Obama outlined his energy plan this morning. The speech outlined a number of broad, non-binding goals that are sure to disappoint partisans on both sides. Here's the gist of what he wants to do:
- Reduce dependence on foreign oil by one-third in the next decade
- By 2035, make sure 80 percent of U.S. electricity comes from clean sources
- Undertake a "comprehensive saftey review" of all nuclear energy facilities. The administration will not take nuclear energy "off the table," but rather, make it more safe to use. "It's important to recognize that nuclear power doesn't emit carbon dioxide," he said.
- Build at least four refineries for cellulosic ethanol or advanced biouels in the next two years
- Increase use of natural gas
- Increase production of biofuels
- Implement stricter fuel efficiency standards for full-size trucks
Shaking his head, Washington Post liberal blogger Ezra Klein says the plan gives lip service to environmentalists while playing politics:
If the policy is depressing, the plan probably gets the politics just right. Cap-and-trade has no chance in Congress. Americans aren’t very worried about global warming. Gas prices are soon to rise. Obama needs to look presidential and solutions-oriented while Congress squabbles over the budget for the rest of 2011. On all those measures, this plan will very likely be successful. It just won’t do much for the planet.
Meanwhile, Daniel Griswold at the libertarian CATO Institute bristled at the idea of importing foreign oil being an inherently bad thing:
We Americans benefit tremendously from our relatively free trade in petroleum products. Like all forms of trade, the importation of oil produced abroad allows us to acquire it at a price far lower than we would pay if we had to rely more heavily on domestic oil supplies.