Climate

Obama begins spill-to-bill pivot: BP oil disaster means we must end our dependence on fossil fuels

“The time has come, once and for all, for this nation to fully embrace a clean energy future…. And the only way to do that is by finally putting a price on carbon pollution.”

The votes may not be there right now, but I intend to find them in the coming months. I will make the case for a clean energy future wherever I can, and I will work with anyone from either party to get this done.  But we will get this done.  The next generation will not be held hostage to energy sources from the last century.

Insiders had said the President would begin the pivot from the BP oil disaster to the need for comprehensive climate and clean energy jobs legislation this month (see “write Obama’s ‘pivot’ speech to the climate and clean energy jobs bill“).

Obama’s speech at Carnegie Mellon University today has garnered a lot of press attention for doing just that.  Here are the key excerpts:

The catastrophe unfolding in the Gulf right now may prove to be a result of human error – or corporations taking dangerous short-cuts that compromised safety.  But we have to acknowledge that there are inherent risks to drilling four miles beneath the surface of the Earth – risks that are bound to increase the harder oil extraction becomes.  Just like we have to acknowledge that an America run solely on fossil fuels should not be the vision we have for our children and grandchildren….

The time has come, once and for all, for this nation to fully embrace a clean energy future.  That means continuing our unprecedented effort to make everything from our homes and businesses to our cars and trucks more energy efficient….  And it means rolling back billions of dollars in tax breaks to oil companies so we can prioritize investments in clean energy research and development.

But the only way the transition to clean energy will succeed is if the private sector is fully invested in this future – if capital comes off the sidelines and the ingenuity of our entrepreneurs is unleashed.  And the only way to do that is by finally putting a price on carbon pollution….

The House of Representatives has already passed a comprehensive energy and climate bill, and there is currently a plan in the Senate – a plan that was developed with ideas from Democrats and Republicans – that would achieve the same goals.  The votes may not be there right now, but I intend to find them in the coming months.  I will make the case for a clean energy future wherever I can, and I will work with anyone from either party to get this done.  But we will get this done.  The next generation will not be held hostage to energy sources from the last century.  We will not move back.  America will move forward.

Perhaps Obama has finally listened to his campaign pollster: “In the aftermath of the oil spill disaster, voters overwhelmingly support a comprehensive clean energy bill”¦. Voters understand the dangers of our dependence on oil. Now, they’re ready to hold Congress accountable.”

Or countless others (see Robert Redford tells President Obama it’s time to lead “America on a path to cleaner, safer energy”).

Senators Kerry and Lieberman released this statement:

Kerry, Lieberman: President Obama Personally Pushes for American Power Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), authors of the Senate’s comprehensive energy independence and climate change legislation, today praised President Barack Obama for committing to round up votes to pass the American Power Act:

“President Obama is clearly putting his shoulder to the wheel to pass comprehensive climate and energy legislation this year. Nothing could be more definitive than his explicit commitment today to find the remaining votes needed to pass this vital legislation.

“Today marks four times in just the last twelve days that the President has thumped the bully pulpit to urge Senate action. We share the President’s determination to pass this critical bill so that our nation can begin to move toward a clean energy future.  The tragic events in the Gulf underscore the need to move without haste to ensure, as the President eloquently stated, that ‘the next generation will not be held hostage to energy sources from the last century.’ This is clearly a moment demanding bi-partisan action. It can attract votes on both sides of the aisle.  It’s good policy and good politics both. We have to leverage this moment to get the American Power Act passed this year.”

Now the President just needs to do this a few times a week for months, including a prime time speech and personal lobbying.

69 Responses to Obama begins spill-to-bill pivot: BP oil disaster means we must end our dependence on fossil fuels

  1. Mike says:

    With the economy in the toilet, I think this one will go nowhere for a couple of years.

  2. Peter Bellin says:

    With the econmy in the toilet, now is the time to push for American jobs in the economy and energy market of the future. Now is the time for all us of to congratulate the President for these words, to urge our represenatives (House and Senate) to suppor the strongest action possible, and to comment publicly in support of the House legislation.

  3. Chris Dudley says:

    Here is the bit Joe left out:

    “And the time has come to aggressively accelerate that transition. The time has come, once and for all, for this nation to fully embrace a clean energy future. (Applause.) Now, that means continuing our unprecedented effort to make everything from our homes and businesses to our cars and trucks more energy-efficient. It means tapping into our natural gas reserves, and moving ahead with our plan to expand our nation’s fleet of nuclear power plants. It means rolling back billions of dollars of tax breaks to oil companies so we can prioritize investments in clean energy research and development.”

    NOTHING ABOUT RENEWABLE ENERGY! This is a truly stupid speech. Natural gas is a transition fuel not a goal. Nuclear is a step backwards. Wind, and now solar, are way cheaper and safer. It is like he is begging for a nuclear accident and another gas plant explosion just like with his oil drilling expansion. Hope he comes to his senses.

  4. BobbyBob says:

    The economy being in the toilet is one more reason to move forward: things needed to implement changes are cheaper now than they will be when the economy picks up (if it can, with one disaster after another), fossil fuels included. Besides, if we wait until the economy does pick up, the argument will be that it will slow growth (a lie)…and around and around. Do it NOW!

  5. SecularAnimist says:

    Today Obama wants to “expand our nation’s fleet of nuclear power plants”.

    Two months ago he wanted to expand our nation’s fleet of deep-water offshore oil drilling rigs. And he assured us repeatedly that it could be done while “protecting communities and coastlines”.

    Now Obama says he was suckered by the oil corporations who told him offshore deep-water drilling was “safe” — not to mention Ken Salazar, who has long been a proponent of massively expanding offshore oil drilling, and continues to insist, absurdly, that it can be done “safely”.

    I suppose when the inevitable disaster at a nuclear power plant funded by Obama’s subsidies happens, Obama will whine that he was suckered by the nuclear power corporations who told him it was “safe”.

    [JR: He has given dozens of speeches on renewables. Yes, he should have mentioned it here.]

  6. Jim Eager says:

    Mike misses the point: moving to an energy system based on sustainable and renewable sources will create entire industries and the jobs that go with them, thus kick-starting the economy and lifting it out of the toilet.

    Or would Mike prefer that it remain there for some reason?

    Honestly, some people are so obtuse it must be deliberate.

  7. Not A Lawyer says:

    Chris, you’re right. He didn’t specifically say “renewable” “wind” or “solar” anywhere in the speech. Instead he just alludes to it by mentioning “clean energy” several times. But then again, about two-thirds or more of it was dedicated to knocking the Republicans for not cooperating with him on other issues — health care, financial regulatory reform, stimulus bill. So maybe they just made a decision not to squeeze more into the overall framework. It’s not like he’s never mentioned renewable energy in a speech. I suspect there’s more to come in the next few days/weeks.

  8. Mike says:

    Jim Eager: You can make a good arguement that renewables will be good for the environment, but as Spain’s example shows, it not good for the economy.

  9. Jim Eager says:

    As if Spain’s economic troubles are exclusively a result of their ivestment in renewable energy.

    But then some people seem to be incapable of holding two thoughts in their head at the same time.

  10. JasonW says:

    Mike, while Denmark and China (yes, China -> http://climateprogress.org/category/china/ ) show that it is good for the economy after all. Spain’s troubles have a lot of reasons, renewables are not amongst them.

  11. David Howard says:

    Very interesting. Using the formula ‘problem reaction solution’, anyone wishing to disredit the whole oil industry would be able to sabotage an oil installation and then use it as a reason to abolish the industry. Of course this is hypothetical but the formula does fit very well here.

  12. mike roddy says:

    Once again, Obama’s speech leaves much to interpretation.

    The nuclear gesture may be empty because they cost so much, and there’s not enough fuel for a major fleet expansion anyway.

    The natural gas part is utterly dependent on one issue: Will Obama fully restore EPA’s ability to regulate fracting? If the answer is yes, than we may get somewhere after all. If it’s no, we’re in trouble. Gas prices have been dropping, most gas interests dovetail with oil’s, and they would love to bust out nascent wind and solar firms with cutthroat pricing.

    Let’s also find out if a price on carbon will be serious enough to enable wind and solar to compete with gas.

  13. Jay Turner says:

    With so many talented people eager to go to work, now (during this economic down time) is a great time to invest and tool up for a clean energy future. If only the folks in DC could show a little vision and a smidgen of courage.

  14. Mike says:

    I never said that Spain’s economic troubles are due solely to their push for widespread use of renewables. Spain’s experience has this alone does not account for the sorry shape their economy is in, but it sure is a drag.

    It has led to significantly higher electric costs which impacts industry.

    An interesting study: http://www.juandemariana.org/pdf/090327-employment-public-aid-renewable.pdf

    Like I said earlier though, argue environmental benefits if you like but the economic benefits just aren’t there.

  15. On the contrary, Spain’s example shows, renewables are not just good for the environment and able to jump start a worldwide push for solar that made China into a world leader in solar, but also good for creating world leaders in wind power (Spain’s Iberdrola) and solar power (Spain’s Abengoa) that leave countries like the US in the dust.

    When we need world class wind, we have to hire Iberdrola. For world class solar we have to hire Abengoa. The Mike’s of the world are happy with that 3rd world status for the US.

  16. Leif says:

    I have yet to see any evidence what-so-ever that the Fossil Industry is good for any economy other than a few fat cats. Get real people, please show me how the “status quo” is “good” for the economy. Make your case.

  17. JasonW says:

    Slightly OT, but Hayward is doing some desperate backpedalling. This guy is unbelievable! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/02/bp-ceo-tony-hayward-apologizes-life-back_n_597966.html

  18. JasonW says:

    #11 David Howard: Yes, very compelling argument… not.

  19. David Smith says:

    David Howard #11 – It struck me that, along the lines of your thinking, If you were an oil interest that wanted to expand your market-share you could sabotage one of your competitors rigs, cause an unbelievable mess and when the company folds buy up the pieces at an extreme discount.

  20. dhogaza says:

    Mike: The study by the libertarian think tank instituto juan de marina, partially funded by exxon, has been widely debunked.

    You could do worse than to read the climate progress thread on the study …

  21. Jeff Huggins says:

    Headline and First Quote

    I read the headline and first quote. All I can say is, Finally!

    No, I can say one more thing. In my view, pushing hard to make sure that happens is not only the aim, it’s also the necessity. To me, whitewashing and caving in and so forth are not the answer. Clear thinking, clear and emphatic communications, inspiration, appeal to human ideals, appeal to genuine and healthy moral considerations, and so forth, and not taking “no” for an answer, are all part of the answer. At this point, considering the whole arch of history, AIMING HIGH and INSISTING on effective solutions are the call of the day. If that approach fails for now, “so be it”. But, it WILL be a failure if present efforts compromise and compromise and compromise, and water down and water down and water down, leaving the false impression that our present problems can be addressed merely with slight incremental improvements to the status quo. In other words, “go for it”, and be brave!

    There is a quote I’d like to share, so I’ll make another comment shortly. I don’t have it in front of me just now.

    Be Well,

    Jeff

  22. Jeff Huggins says:

    Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.

    Period.

    If my understanding of the meaning of this phrase is right (I didn’t take Latin, so you’d better check before applying it), but if it is, this should be Obama’s view in relation to making darn sure that we address climate change. Period.

    Jeff

  23. I’m listening to this speech now. It is an eloquent summary and argument for President Obama’s approach to the federal government’s role in creating a better future. But there is nothing essentially new, that he hasn’t said before.

    While I’m sure the President and his staff pay attention to good ideas from outside, I highly doubt that the timing of pushing forward on the climate and energy bill has much to do with being urged to do so in the media and blogosphere. Let’s not exaggerate our influence.

  24. Senate Democrats are expected to plot strategy for dealing with energy and environment legislation in the coming weeks. Prior to Obama’s remarks on Wednesday there was little evidence the Senate would take up a comprehensive measure this year.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100602/pl_nm/us_obama_energy;_ylt=Ap53N_Fi2RgS1cHsSNnSQdKs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNmZ3JyOHNtBGFzc2V0A25tLzIwMTAwNjAyL3VzX29iYW1hX2VuZXJneQRjY29kZQNtb3N0cG9wdWxhcgRjcG9zAzIEcG9zAzgEcHQDaG9tZV9jb2tlBHNlYwN5bl90b3Bfc3RvcnkEc2xrA2lub2lsc3BpbGxzaA–

  25. darth says:

    The point should be made over and over again that non-renewables constantly get harder (and therefore more expensive) to obtain, while renewables get easier & cheaper due to better technology. Eventually those cost curves are going to cross and that point will be the end of the fossil fuel age. The only question is what will the CO2 content of the air be at that point?

  26. paulm says:

    Breath….phew!

    The president has timing and finesse.
    It seems like he will be one of the great leaders of modern times.

    Well done Obama! All for one, one for all.

  27. catman306 says:

    More video from inside the non-existent Gulf oil plumes and onboard the R/V Walton Smith.
    The BP information blockade is beginning to break. It’s those brave investigative reporters and environmental scientists who can risk the wrath of BP and be information blockade runners and bring us snippets of truth. There’s no spin like NO spin.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/02/gulf-oil-spill-new-plumes_n_597872.html

  28. James Newberry says:

    Darth: good point.

    Those cost crossovers actually occured long ago. The Anglo-American expansionist, corporatist, war profiteering and centralized control of extracted materials used for explosives and military power, ie. the military/profit “energy” agenda, has cooked the books by leaving off the balance sheet massive historical public subsidies (direct, indirect and externalized costs) for “fuels” that are now beginning to destroy the treasuries and ecologies of nation-states.

    Fossil and fissile materials are not sustainable “energy resources.” They are explosives and the source of poisons (as in degrading public health). The unfolding tragedy manifests as increasing social and physical disease, including from climate destruction.

    Not poisoning ourselves (including carbonic acid gas, CO2) has always been economical. The corporatist fraud has propagandized otherwise, especially during the atomic age. Does Obama say we should have another atomic age?

  29. prokaryote says:

    Oil Spill Upside: Obama Wants to Roll Back Oil Tax Breaks and Invest in Clean Energy

    The catastrophe unfolding in the Gulf right now may prove to be the result of human error — or corporations taking dangerous short cuts that compromise safety,” said the President. Adding that, “The only way the transition to clean energy will succeed is if the private sector is fully invested in this future — if capital comes off the sidelines and the ingenuity of our entrepreneurs is unleashed.”

    http://www.energyboom.com/policy/oil-spill-upside-obama-wants-roll-back-oil-tax-breaks-and-invest-clean-energy

  30. prokaryote says:

    On January 1, 1991, Sweden enacted a CO2 tax, placing a tax of 0.25 SEK/kg ($100 or EUR 27 per ton) on the use of oil, coal, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, petrol, and aviation fuel used in domestic travel. Industrial users paid half the rate (between 1993 and 1997, 25% of the rate), and certain high-energy industries such as commercial horticulture, mining, manufacturing and the pulp and paper industry were fully exempted from these new taxes.

    In 1997 the rate was raised to 0.365 SEK/kg ($150 per ton) of CO2 released.[46] In 2007, the tax was SEK 930 (EUR 101) per ton of CO2 (IEA, 2008, p. 24).[47] The full tax is paid in transport, space heating, and non-combined heat and power generation. Owing to the many exemptions, oil accounts for 96% of the revenues from the tax, although it produces less than three-quarters of CO2 from fuel combustion.

    The tax is credited with spurring a significant move from fossil fuels to biomass. As Swedish Society for Nature Conservation climate change expert Emma Lindberg said, “It was the one major reason that steered society towards climate-friendly solutions. It made polluting more expensive and focused people on finding energy-efficient solutions.”[48]

    “It increased the use of bioenergy,” said University of Lund Professor Thomas Johansson, former director of energy and climate at the UN Development Programme. “It had a major impact in particular on heating. Every city in Sweden uses district heating. Before, coal or oil were used for district heating. Now biomass is used, usually waste from forests and forest industries.”

    Economic growth appears to be unaffected. Between 1990 and 2006, Sweden’s economy grew by 44 percent
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_tax#Sweden

  31. Anonymous says:

    Jeff @ #22, translation:

    “I shall either find a way or make one.”

    Obama should darn sure address climate change — now is the time. He should seize the opportunity.

  32. mike roddy says:

    dhogaza and others:

    Mike is just another troll, and his linking that long discredited study about Spain and alternative energy is a pretty good tipoff, along with the tired denier talking points.

  33. prokaryote says:

    ” – Obama should darn sure address climate change — now is the time. He should seize the opportunity.”

    It will not get better – just worse. So there will be a lot of time to address things.

    On the bottom line, we can only stop the development of dangerous climate changes on a global level with carbon negative affords. Something which is abudant for the most parts. To solve the mess we need revolutionary approaches. We need to work with the 3-world. And the time todo so is running thin. And i cannot see the change here. Already we see nations collapse. Either this global threat will sink nation after nation or we act together.

    And action means the change for sustainability – which will help stabilize. A 3-World country which is stable, can adopt technologies such as biochar on industrial scale. A failed state, will just further accelerate destabilization of neighbours. And without this you cannot put in birth control etc.

  34. prokaryote says:

    Deep Underwater, Oil Threatens Reefs

    There, in complete darkness and near-freezing temperatures, the robot’s lights revealed a thriving colony of corals, anemones, fish, crustaceans and other sea life rivaling that of any shallow-water reef in the world. Researchers onboard were elated.

    “We flipped on the lights, and there was one of the largest coral reefs in the Gulf of Mexico sitting right in front of us,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/02/us/02coral.html?hpw

  35. Roger says:

    It’s about time. As we’ve chanted repeatedly:

    “Hey, Obama, lead the nation
    Give us climate edu-ca-tion!”

    And, as Joe also mentions at the end of his post,
    Obama now needs to repeat and expand on this message,
    going live on prime time TV, supplemented not only with
    personal lobbying, but (we’d add) also hundreds of TV ads!
    (Ads that would be equivalent to cold war civil defense sirens.)

    CP readers can easily encourage President Obama to ‘educate and lead’ on climate change by signing a popular peoples petition to Obama at http://www.change.org/global_warming_education_network/petitions/view/obama_please_educate_and_lead_on_climate_change.

    Every signature brings us closer to the goal of having the president heed a crying need for him to lead! (Encourage others to sign too.)

    With warm regards,
    Roger

  36. prokaryote says:

    From above NY Times link’ed article.

    Nine months later, the warm thrill of discovery has cooled into dread. The reef lies just 20 miles northeast of BP’s blown-out well, making it one of at least three extensive deepwater reefs lying directly beneath the oil slick in the gulf.

    Yet it is not the slick that troubles scientists. They fear a more insidious threat: vast plumes of partly dissolved oil apparently spreading in the deep ocean.

    The latest research team in the gulf to detect these plumes observed one extending roughly 22 miles northeast of the well site, in the vicinity of at least two major deepwater reefs, including the one discovered last fall. Preliminary images of the plume show layers of it touching the sea floor. Marine scientists have no firm grasp yet on what the impact on the corals will be, but they are bracing for catastrophe.

    “The worst-case scenario is that there’s oil coating some of the corals,” Dr. Cordes said. “It would basically suffocate them.”

  37. Without a national carbon tax or cap on CO2 emissions there will not be enough coal plants closed nor enough wind and solar plants built to reduce CO2 emissions enough to keep the world below 450 ppm. The U.S. needs a bold, strong energy policy to lead and convince the rest of the world to do the same. Time is of the essence. It has been 6 months since Copenhagen with little accomplished. If we wait until after the November election, another 6 months, at least, will have passed us by. CO2 levels keep rising; physics doesn’t change. China and India keep expanding their energy use. They build coal plants and build many more gasoline-guzzling automobiles.

    I know Obama has to worry about the coming elections, about Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. He worries about Israel and Palestine where he has peace-treaty obligations. He worries about the European economy and Turkey’s role in the Middle East and Europe. He has to pass financial reform legislation and clean up the oil spill. He must still get our economy moving faster. Nevertheless, he must get the Kerry-Lieberman bill passed ASOP.

    We can help as Roger (in #34) says and as J.R. urges as well. Obama needs help.

  38. Instead of a carbon tax, it would make more sense to simply mandate that a certain percentage of gasoline, diesel fuel, and jet fuel in this country be composed of carbon neutral gasoline, diesel fuel, and jet fuel. We’ve known how to make these fuels from biowaste (urban and rural garbage) and hydrogen (from nuclear and hydroelectric resources) for several decades now. And no breakthroughs are required.

    All the President and the Congress have to do is to mandate that at least 10% of all transportation fuels sold in America be from carbon neutral resources by the year 2020. That alone will get the synfuel industry started in the US creating jobs in practically every community in America (there’s garbage everywhere). Any fuels sold in the US that are not composed of at least 10% carbon neutral resources by 2020 would be charged a heavy sin tax. You can then raise this mandate to 50% by the year 2030 and 90% by the year 2040.

  39. Chris Dudley says:

    I don’t know just where I’m going
    But I’m gonna try for the kingdom, if I can
    ‘Cause it makes me feel like I’m a man
    When I put a pump into my car
    And I’ll tell ya, it’s like I’m gonna be a star
    When I’m rushing on my run
    And I feel just like Jesus’ son
    And I guess that I just don’t know
    And I guess that I just don’t know

    I have made the big decision
    I’m gonna try to nullify my life
    ‘Cause when the oil begins to flow
    When it shoots up the Gulf Coast’s neck
    When it’s closing in on death
    And you can’t help me not, you guys
    And all you sweet engineers with all your jive
    You can all go take a ride
    And I guess that I just don’t know
    And I guess that I just don’t know

    I wish that I was born a thousand years ago
    I wish that I’d sail the darkened seas
    On a great big whaling ship
    Going from this kill here to that
    In a sailor’s suit and cap
    Away from the big city
    Where a man can not drive free
    Of all of the traffic of this town
    And of himself, and those around
    Oh, and I guess that I just don’t know
    Oh, and I guess that I just don’t know

    Gasoline, be the death of me
    Gasoline, it’s my wife and it’s my life
    Because an injector in my car
    Leads to a center in my head
    And then I’m better off than dead
    Because when the wheels begin to roll
    I really don’t care anymore
    About all the Jim-Jim’s in this town
    And all the politicians makin’ busy sounds
    And everybody puttin’ everybody else down
    And all the dead bodies piled up in mounds

    ‘Cause when the oil begins to flow
    Then I really don’t care anymore
    Ah, when the gas is in my tank
    And that speed is under my boot
    Then thank God that I’m as good as dead
    Then thank your God that I’m not aware
    And thank God that I just don’t care
    And I guess I just don’t know
    And I guess I just don’t know

    Apologies to the Velvet Underground.

  40. prokaryote says:

    Oil Spill in the Bronx
    June 2nd, 2010
    http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/latest-news/oil-spill-bronx

  41. prokaryote says:

    Read about the success story of the CO-2 Tax – in sweden.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_tax#Sweden

    20 years since sweden established a Co-2 Tax and today sweden is 1 of the top 5 most competive economys on the planet.

  42. prokaryote says:

    Electric Car Bills in Congress Seen As Route to Oil Independence
    http://solveclimate.com/blog/20100602/electric-car-bills-congress-seen-route-oil-independence

  43. Anonymous says:

    Maybe our economy would be better if we weren’t exporting 100’s of billions of dollars every year to pay for foreign oil?

    Maybe it’s not a good policy to collect taxes from regular working Americans and give that money to huge, very rich oil companies?

  44. Mike #22 says:

    @15, Susan, …”the Mike’s of the world”. This confusion would be avoidable if all the Mikes would choose a number also, like I have.

  45. mark says:

    Chris Dudley says:
    June 3, 2010 at 2:46 am
    “I don’t know just where I’m going
    But I’m gonna try for the kingdom, if I can
    ‘Cause it makes me feel like I’m a man
    When I put a pump into my car
    And I’ll tell ya, it’s like I’m gonna be a star
    When I’m rushing on my run”

    “Heroin” by Lou Reid.

    Chris Dudley….. very fine work, really well done; in a series of really heartfelt interesting posts.

    Do you mind if I post that elsewhere? at Firedoglake for instance?

  46. mark says:

    And, the solution is not “independence from foreign oil”

    it’s

    “independence from oil”

    as far as spain goes, whatever the cause of their downturn, when the country emerges from it, it will be well positioned due to its far sightedness, to have one of the most prosperous economies.

    unlike the oil junky countries, who can’t kick the habit.

    “junk” … Chris Dudley is right, since we are addicted to oil, oil
    should be called “junk”

  47. Lore says:

    It looks like the Kerry, Lieberman legislation is pretty much dead. Another possible attempt is now being formulated in the Senate which would strip out most of the environmental issues and any mention of Cap & Trade, concentrating strictly on energy independence. This with the hope of getting at least something passed during this Presidency.

  48. Chris Dudley says:

    Mark (#45),

    Thanks. Posting it elsewhere sounds like fair use to me.

    #46

    I think I’m calling risky and expensive to produce oil “junk oil” as opposed to “easy oil” available outside North America. It makes no sense to produce any junk oil if we are getting off of oil. My term for non-renewables is “ghost energy” as opposed to “real energy.”

  49. Not A Lawyer says:

    @Lore, I’m not sure where you’re getting that info. If you didn’t notice, Obama said specifically he would work to pass the Kerry-Lieberman bill. Presidential involvement has a funny way of keeping legislation alive (see health care, financial reform).

    And I think there’s definitely some desire from the Dems to move this bill. Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska was on a public radio show on Tuesday calling for debate on K-L as soon as the Senate gets back to work next week.

  50. homunq says:

    On the issue of Spain: Spain’s problem today is precisely that it had too many jobs ca. 2007. Inflation then leads to deflationary pressure now, unrequited because they are “crucified on the cross of the Euro”. No sane person fears overemployment today. So Spain is actually a great example of the green economy we need, not a counterexample at all.

  51. Leif says:

    It is beginning to look like killing us softly with CO2 is just not fast enough for BIG OIL, they need the rush of a dead gulf to justify their existence.

  52. homunq says:

    He said: “And some of this, of course, is just politics. Before I was even inaugurated, the congressional leaders of the other party got together and made a calculation that if I failed, they’d win. So when I went to meet with them about the need for a Recovery Act, in the midst of crisis, they announced they were against it before I even arrived at the meeting. Before we even had a health care bill, a Republican senator actually said, “If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.” ”

    But he didn’t say: “And so they’ve been abusing senate rules to try to delay and deny the action that a majority of Americans want and need.” Instead, he followed up with: “But to be fair, a good deal of the other party’s opposition to our agenda has also been rooted in their sincere and fundamental belief about the role of government.”

    Republicans are perfectly happy to battle Obama on all fronts. They’ll accuse him of wanting a Government Takeover of Everything; simultaneously make the contradictory charge that he’s a hypocrite (not to mention a foreign-born antichrist); and use every parliamentary tactic in the book to stall while accusing him of being ineffective. I understand his tendency to try to stand above that, rhetorically, and I sympathize. But on the parliamentary front, if it’s total war for the Republicans and a game of croquet for the Democrats, the latter will get creamed. Obama needs to use every weapon at his disposal if he wants to pass this bill – and that includes both talk and action on filibuster reform.

  53. Chris Dudley says:

    Mama take this rig off of me
    I can not drill it any more
    Killing everything in the sea
    I feel I’m shuttin’ down BP’s store.

    Shut, shut, shutin’ down BP’s store
    Shut, shut, shutin’ down BP’s store
    Shut, shut, shutin’ down BP’s store
    Shut, shut, shutin’ down BP’s store

    Mama leave that oil down in the ground
    I can’t burn it any more
    That greasy slick is comin’ down
    I feel I’m shuttin’ down BP’s store.

    Apologies to Bob Dylan.

  54. James says:

    While there is no shame in possessing the material goods needed for human wellbeing,it is in fact immoral for any individual to hoard far more goods or resources than ”needed”for human wellbeing.
    Poverty and the problems associated with ”underdevelopment”occour largly as a result of a global economy that is based upon private profit,”at the expense of scociety as a whole”and compitition as appossed to mutual cooperation for the betterment of all.As long as we continue to treat our planet as a means to an end of private material wealth,instead of treating the earth as humanitie’s common home, poverty,warfare, enviromental degradation,crime and the threat of human extinction will continue unabated.

  55. mike roddy says:

    Thanks, Chris, you’re an interesting guy.

    Prokaryote, The Swedish model is a lot better than ours, but the reason it works there for biomass is that their timber industry is highly regulated. They will wait 70 years before cutting down a tree, while we’d rather do it every 25 years. Even then, Sweden reports 92 million tons of CO2 emissions annually caused by timber felling.

    Timber harvesting as practiced here is very CO2 intensive, on the order of 400 million metric tons of CO2 a year. We disguise this in our reports to IPCC agencies by pointing out the slightly larger sequestration that occurs naturally. However, two carbon scientists once did an exercise about what would happen if we just stopped logging. The answer: A billion tons less of CO2 emitted annually.

    There are many things that grow out of this fact. The take home message is that the personalities of the oil and timber companies are very similar, except (and this is hard to imagine) that the timber companies are worse.

  56. Chris Dudley says:

    While I think President Obama has got the energy equation very badly wrong, I will give him credit for doing something sensible in mine safety now. http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9G39UC81.htm Mine roof collapse is a big danger and the recent focus on explosion hazards could have been a distraction from overall safety. The MSHA performs a very important role in learning from the circumstances of accidents and teaching how to prevent re-occurrence. It is no substitute for shutting down unsafe mines but it is important.

  57. Dana Pearson says:

    I will continue to harp on the need for a NATIONAL CLEAN ENERGY BANK which would make zero interest loans, like the fed does to our banks, to anyone wanting to install photovoltaics and conservation measures in their homes, utilities wanting to expand renewables, and industry wanting to do the same…make this also available for financing a rapid shift to electric cars.

    States have been flooded and overwhelmed every time they’ve offered incentives. I see the REAL financial roadblock to a rapid shift to clean energy as the capital constrained system spending all of its capital on credit default swaps and other non-productive gambling en devours.

    In light of the recent advances and studies showing we can ramp wind up quick and other opportunities, SOMEONE needs to seriously examine the impact of automatically funding these opportunities would have on shifting our system to a more sustainable model.

    It seems to me that the impact on JOBS and SECURITY, not to mention HOPE and environmental SANITY would be huge…

    While the fed is giving money to the mega banks, why not require it to capitalize our NATIONAL CLEAN ENERGY BANK with one of it’s trillions?

    This, to me, seems easily doable and quick-starts the ramp up we so desperately need.

  58. Prokaryote says:

    Just saw this at reddit.com

    Please Get the word out, to the press, BP, and federal and state governments: A microbe exists that can literally eat oil and clean the spill in just 6 weeks. After the microbe has no more oil it simply dies. There are warehouses full of this stuff just sitting there.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VfypUzx1tI&feature=player_embedded&yes=yes

  59. Prokaryote says:

    It is about microbes and some news the last weeks noted this as an approach. Would be intresting to learn more about those microbes.

  60. Leif says:

    Question Prokaryote, I wonder how those microbes will digest the “dispersant,” a decidedly unnatural product?

  61. Prokaryote says:

    While working on capping the leak it seems to be that the best would be to pump as much oil as possible at site and use blooms, manual removal and maybe microbes to help against oil on shore.

    The procedure now with oil disperants will just increase the magnitude when affecting the ocean ecosystem completely and for a longer duration.

  62. Ziyu says:

    Aren’t those the same microbes that eat up oxygen levels in the water? Remember, if oxygen levels fall below 4 ml/L no life can survive. But heck oxygen levels have already gone down 30%. It may not matter at this point.

  63. Leif says:

    Capping the well may not give us much satisfaction as there has been some evidence, (unsubstantiated), of wayward leaks from further down… If that is the case then the only solution that I see is the one of filling the demon from bottom to top with lead shot as researched by some on CP.

  64. Amy says:

    Question Prokaryote, I wonder how those microbes will digest the “dispersant,” a decidedly unnatural product?

  65. Raul says:

    Just a guess but, one of the dispersant bits combines with an oil bit.
    and it stays there. microbes could eat oil for long time before running
    into that other thing. If the first microbe couldn’t handle such a
    meal then the next like microbe probably couldn’t either. Years ago there
    was a name for the tide of microbes eating stuff.

  66. Tom S. says:

    re: messaging

    Nice to see the President using the phrase “putting a price on carbon POLLUTION.” The common jargon “price on carbon” means nothing to most people. (“Put a ‘price on carbon?’ Why? I never buy carbon anyway!”)

  67. Shawn says:

    This gulf oil spill is one big deception. It occurred on a prime Occult holiday and now they will use this to tax and control through a carbon tax.
    http://adventofdeception.com/gulf-fire-times-square-occult-importance