Blogs & Comment

A new era dawns: Alt energy in Obama's inaugural speech...

Wow, what a speech from Obama. The man has been so solid, so calm through what must be an insanely stressful period. Yet, he steps up and delivers the kind of inspiring, passionate speech that has been missing from American life for so long with seemingly no effort. My respect for the man grows each he time he picks up the mic, and todays inauguration was just another great example. What I found especially interesting were his comments on energy. Obama isnt afraid to speak out about the need to shift the countrys energy infrastructure to a more alternative-energy fueled system, and he repeated that pledge today. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our factories, Obama said to the people in his first address as president. Moving to the alternative energies like solar, wind and biofuels is a smart message. The United States was one of the first nations to intensely develop its hydrocarbon resources, but that means it is also one country furthest along the arc of depletion (with just five percent of the world’s population, uses 25% of the oil produced in the world each day). And that has left the country in a serious predicament. In the heyday of domestic American production (before the country began importing large amounts of foreign oil) Americans kept the royalties and profits generated by oil production in America, which spread wealth across the land. Today, however, the country imports almost 60% of its oil, and that means that this moneymoney that used to stay in Americanow goes offshore as the royalties from the global production that feeds America stays in the coffers of other nations (many of them enemies of the United States). This drain on the American economy is one of the key challenges to the American economy according to a new organization set up by the U.S. Chamber of Commerces to study just these issues, the Institute for 21st Century Energy. To this point, the growing credit bubble allowed Americans to maintain their consumption levels, which masked the drain of money offshore. But with the U.S. dollar expected to begin falling again in the years ahead, oil is going to become even more expensive, and thats going to sharpen this issue. It’s clear. With the credit bubble melting down and China demanding its share of the world’s resources, America is going to have to move away from the status quo and begin to get serious about a new energy economy. That is, it’s going to have to get off oil and get green. Or as Obama put it in his speech, our time of standing pat, of protecting our narrow interest and putting off unpleasant decisionshas surely passed[we need to begin] the work of remaking America.