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April 2nd, 2010
12:01 PM ET

Drill, baby

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/31/art.obamaenergy.gi.jpg]

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

The problem for presidents courting public support is the same one that confronted me in my teenage years when I was trying to get a date for prom; invariably I painted a rosier picture of the near future than the facts warranted.

I was reminded of that as President Obama unveiled his new plans to “Drill, baby, drill,” for new domestic oil supplies. That’s right. The very phrase that he mocked Republicans for has now become his mantra. That sound you heard was the howling of environmentalists echoing through Yosemite Valley. To be sure, as the head of the Sierra Club told me, they still like him and are encouraged by many of the steps he is taking toward a greener future, but they were undeniably disappointed by this announcement.

All indications are, however, that this was simply a case of his dreams of a better future running smack into the brutal reality of the present. Our energy consumption is so overwhelmingly reliant on oil, natural gas, and coal that a shiny Green Energy America is like the Emerald City of Oz. It’s awfully hard to get there from here, even in a Prius.

I was perusing an analysis from the Lawrence Livermore National Labs (oh yes, I’m a fun guy!) and I was struck by the mind-boggling distance between where we are and where President Obama would like us to be in terms of renewable energy supplies. Those lovely pictures of solar panels, and sleek wind turbines, make it seem like all we need are a few open minds, a few open fields, a little construction with our hybrid-bio-mass bulldozers and we’ll be greener than a tree frog.

But the numbers say even if we increased our wind and solar energy output by 20, or even 50 times overnight, it would still be barely a ladybug on the back of our oil guzzling energy elephant.

The road to a green America is much, much, much longer than many Americans may realize especially after all the promising words we’ve heard. It is still certainly an admirable goal. But those in the oil business are not sweating. Because they know in the end this president, and perhaps many more, will ultimately look at our energy habits, and still say for now, “Drill, baby, drill.”

Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.


Filed under: Opinion • Raw Politics • Tom Foreman
soundoff (One Response)
  1. TonyinLargo

    The President understands the meaning of Energetic Independence and the political, economic and social ramifications of Global Warming. The Republicans do not understand these concepts.

    A scientist in the early 1960s' predicted Global Warming as the result of Greenhouse Gasses.

    I support the President's approach to drill in Gulf while we set the infrastructure for other non-polluting forms of energy.

    April 2, 2010 at 1:50 pm |