NYT issues strong editorial on oil, climate, and the election

The New York Times published a blunt lead editorial today, “Up and Down the Learning Curve,” with the blurb:

America’s energy problems are complex, and solving them will require leaders with restless curiosity and an open mind.

The piece notes that despite the “cramped rules of the presidential debates and the McCain campaign’s descent into content-free name-calling.”:

Still, we have heard enough to know that there are big differences between John McCain and Barack Obama.

The NYT notes that Obama “keeps moving up the learning curve on energy issues,” and “His present strategy is coherent and farsighted.” The NYT also details McCain’s strategy. Rather than rehashing that here, let me quote one telling anecdote from the vice presidential debate that I didn’t write about at the time but that the NYT hones in on:

Ms. Palin’s strategy is frighteningly simplistic: drill for more oil. Any doubt on that score was erased in the vice presidential debate, when she delightedly corrected Senator Joseph Biden about the party’s new slogan. He had complained that the Republicans stood for “drill, drill, drill.” No, she said, it’s “drill, baby, drill.”

She seemed downright gleeful repeating this shameful GOP chant. The NYT notes that “if Ms. Palin is to be believed, [McCain] has more or less anointed her as his energy czar.”

Kudos to the NYT for this powerful editorial.

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11 Responses to NYT issues strong editorial on oil, climate, and the election

  1. To the Editor:

    You rightly point out the shallowness of the energy policy debate in the presidential campaign (editorial, “Up and Down the Learning Curve,” Oct 12). Too often candidates are allowed to get away with slogans of “solar, wind and nuclear,” in response as solutions to oil dependence. In fact, those sources are only meaningful to displacing oil if there is a conduit to get them into vehicles. That is why Israel and Denmark have decided to allow Better Place to build an infrastructure across their countries to get cleanly generated electrons into electric cars. Though larger in scale, there is nothing to stop the US from taking the same approach. And if government aid to US automakers was made contingent on them building the cars for such a grid — cars no less capable than the ones they build today, but ones that take electric and no liquids — we could address economic, environmental and national security threats all at once. Now, that would be leadership.

    Michael J. Granoff
    Head of Oil Independence Policies
    Better Place

  2. Rick says:

    electric cars with no liquids that are no less capable than what we have now?

    not realistic.

    electric cars are a good idea but they do less than liquid fuel cars and we have to accept that. We have to lower our expectations of what the private automobile can do for us.

  3. john says:


    PHEVs can do whatever your juice-mobile can, and at lower cost.

  4. Jim Eaton says:

    Here’s Sarah Palin’s latest from Sunday in Ohio:

    The boisterous crowd–many shaking pom poms–screamed, “I love you Sarah Palin!” and cheered the GOP Vice-Presidential nominee getting especially excited when Palin started talking about clean coal and alternative sources of energy to this coal country crowd.

    Supporters erupted in chants of, “Mine Baby Mine!” like her very popular “Drill Baby Drill” chants that crowds usually greet her with, “Mine, baby, mine. Ok, I’m bringing that all across the U.S. Do you mind if I–May I plagiarize that? Thank you. That is a good one.”

  5. The economy is saved, now how about turning attention and financial resources to saving the Earth from a meltdown?

    It looks as if the Wonder Boys on Wall Street, who caused the current disaster in the world’s financial system, are going to rescue the family of humanity from a meltdown of the global economy.

    Is it too much to ask some of these multi-billionaires to provide wealth to save the world from the global “meltdown” of Earth’s ice pack that is occurring in Greenland, Antarctica, the high mountain ranges from the Arctic Cordillera, to the Andes to the Himalayas?

    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
    established 2001

  6. paulm says:

    Many here think we can bet the climate change issue without reducing our consumption in the developed world. (ie material living standard). But NO we cant!

    This recession come depression is a necessary path to addressing the issue and as climate environmentalist we should embrace it.

  7. Rick C says:


    You articulated my anger about the bail out and how the bail out ate or green future better than I could. Thanks!

  8. Rick C says:


    Just to illustrate my point that the Wall Street bail out has eaten the carbon dioxide cap and reduction plan here’s what came out in an MSNBC article today.

    Personally I think since the government is acting like the sky’s not the limit when it comes to bailing out the banks so there CEO’s can take nice $200,000 dollar retreats I think we can find the money to green our energy signature and invest in technologies that will return many times there value to the economy. I remain an optimistic dreamer.

  9. Phowey says:

    We have spent the last several decades building a low density sprawl of housing, shopping, restaurants and businesses across this country in a manner that was all but oblivious to an eventual peak in petro prices, and inevitably dwindling supplies.

    This low density development disproportionately extends our infrastructure, relative to growth in population, often while paving over prime farmland. The personal automobile, which was once “freeing” is now being recognized for once hidden or overlooked costs, but a fresh look at our land development patterns should be a priority. Better performing cars would allow us the opportunity to maintain our current extent of development, but should never be looked upon as an opportunity to maintain our current development typologies, let alone rate of development.

    Think about what a societal investment is tied to roads and bridges, water lines, sewers, electricity, telephone, cable TV, street lights, fire hydrants, and on, and on…. Much of the early car-facilitated growth zones has reached the end of service life for much of the bridges, water and sewer lines, and simply the maintenance and replacement of these systems has a cripplingly high cost, and those areas were developed far more densely than those of the 80’s and 90’s. Some of those areas are so sparsely populated that soon we will have to grapple with the issues of whether it is better to infill and densify these areas, or perhaps to even raze some of these areas as simply too extravagantly expensive to maintain.

  10. Modesty says:

    Joe, the liberal media is not being fair to Palin as shown by Jim Eaton, above.

    Palin’s plan is frightening, but not as simplistic as the NYT would have it. It’s not just “drill, baby, drill.” It’s “mine, baby mine,” too (re “clean coal”).

    Which also happens to provide the perfect segue for emphasizing the “clean, green” pipeline to the apocalypse, which will power more MINING (in this case, for tar sands oil).

    And then finally we’ll hear: boil, baby, boil, a wonderfully efficient and comprehensive chant covering global boiling as well as the method for extracting shale oil.

    (And you liberals say Sarah isn’t interested in efficiency!)

    Pickens is right, we can’t “drill” our way out; we need to drill, mine, AND boil our way…..”out”.

    Anyway, that’s the “all of the above approach”: drill, mine, and boil. A thing of beauty.

  11. Rick says:

    drill, mine and boil, oh my!

    Palin has nothing to do with it but d,m and b are on the way.