As President Obama embarked on an 11-day climate change tour across the country. As his trip takes him on what would be the most comprehensive tour of Alaska by a sitting president, it makes sense to consider the good, bad, and often conflicting nature of Obama’s energy policies.
One of the lessons that should come out of the Obama administration's "all of the above" energy policy is that it is completely schizophrenic and ill-suited for our future. Consider the following conflicting actions:
- President Obama's leasing portions of the Arctic Ocean, arguably the riskiest place for oil exploitation, to Shell is especially troubling after Obama presided over the biggest oil spill in U.S. history. This action is bewildering to say the least, especially in the face of a worldwide oil glut that may take oil prices to $33 a barrel.
- The Obama administration has leased vast quantities of coal under the Powder River Basin and more Bureau of Land Management proposals are coming to light for yet additional coal leasing in the face of stated climate policy. What’s worse is that much of this Powder River coal will be shipped to China if special interests get their way.
- President Obama's Clean Power Plan places the president on the map as the first to take significant action to address climate change. While much of the action will need to occur at the state level, this is an important first step.
- Ironically, the vehicle rules that the Obama administration adopted are proving that the best place to drill for oil is under the hoods of our cars. Efficiency is a significant factor in driving down oil demand.
There are many more examples of how the "all-of-the-above" energy policies are deeply flawed and must be abandoned. As the president sees firsthand the enormous risks of climate change visited first upon the Arctic region, may he understand that by looking north he is seeing our common future and revise his energy policies to match his rhetoric. Let's follow the president as he travels north.
Larry J. Schweiger is president and CEO of PennFuture and is based in Pittsburgh. He tweets @LJSchweiger.