While the climate fries, Obama boasts he’s the Fracker in Chief, barely mentions clean energy technology

The other day, President Obama gave the 2015 State of the Union speech before Congress, the newly Republican Controlled Congress.  Where Obama focused on the value of middle class economics, that is focusing on the needs of the middle class and strengthening the middle class, did he talk the things we care about on The Long Tail Pipe?  Electric vehicles and clean energy technology?  Not really.

Before we get to that let’s take a not-quite-detour into Obama’s boasts about success in the War on Terror.  That war is really a part of the global oil war, because the terrain being fought over has large oil reserves.  The people of the Middle East are, after all, upset angry etc at the U.S. (and generally speaking The West) over our meddling with their politics, our occupation of their lands, and the practices used by Western Military in Iraq and elsewhere.  For example the egregiously horrible torture regime at Abu Ghraib and other facilities horrified and angered the Middle East.   Our purpose for invading the Middle East, toppling the Government of Iraq, etc, was about gaining access to oil fields in Iraq for Western Oil Companies.

With that in mind consider the rebuttal of Obama’s boasts by MSNBC Chief Foreign Correspondant Richard Engel.  He was of course on camera from somewhere in Turkey, and pointed out that Obama wasn’t describing the reality-on-the-ground in the fight against ISIS but at best was describing his aspirations.  Obama said we’re not being dragged into another ground war in Iraq, when the truth is, as Engel pointed out, there are now 2000+ newly landed US Troops in Iraq.   And about having success at stopping ISIS, that’s not true either.  For every ISIS soldier killed by Western Bombing of ISIS, Engel cited military sources to say ISIS was recruiting two new soldiers.

This fight in the Middle East, over access to oil fields, is just one of the many reasons that we collectively need to abandon the use of fossil fuels.  It is a moral weight on all of us.  We are collectively responsible for the pain and suffering being inflicted on the people in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere in the Middle East.  That pain and suffering is in the name of bringing gasoline and other fossil oil products to Western countries.

Obama boasted “we are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we’ve been in almost 30 years” and of “booming energy production” while at the same time the economy is booming and gaining jobs faster than any time since 1999.   How did that come about?  Fracking.

Fracking in Wyoming
He suggested we could “reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet”.  How?  My preference for that combination of results is to eliminate fossil fuel consumption while switching to electric cars and electrifying everything else that relies on fossil fuels and massive scale adoption of renewable energy technology.  But that’s not what Obama meant.
Instead:  “And today, America is number one in oil and gas.”  How?  Fracking.  Oh, yes, he did say also “America is number one in wind power.  Every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008.”   But he immediately returned to oil industry successes saying “And thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards, the typical family this year should save about $750 at the pump.”
That was the sole mention of renewable energy technology – sandwiched in between two big boasts about improvements in fossil fuel production.
As we noted a couple weeks ago, lower gasoline prices isn’t due to any action of any branch of the US Government, it’s due to OPEC deciding to not reduce oil production and flooding the market with oil.  Why?  To engage in a global price war to try and bankrupt the companies which frack for oil.
Maybe Obama didn’t mention electric cars because then he’d have to face up to the reality of the rate of adoption.  Back in 2010 or so Obama exuberantly called for 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015, right?  Well, it’s now 2015 and we’re a little short of the mark.  It’s more like 250,000 plug-in electric cars (BEV and PHEV) on American roads.
Yes, Obama made an important statement about Climate Change.  Last year, 2014, was the warmest year on record, following several other warmest years on record.  Climate change threatens to wreak havoc around the world.  It’s a serious issue and we need there to be serious action to change our ways quickly to avert a major crisis.  He said all that, and it was a good statement.
That means, Mr. Obama, that instead of boasting about huge increases in fossil fuel production and falling gasoline prices, that you should be ashamed over that result.  You should be hanging your head in shame over not promoting the green energy green jobs revolution as you did in 2009.
That the rate of solar power systems and wind power systems installation is going up is a good thing.  Those are jobs desperately needed in America.  The result is exactly what we need, and we need more of this.  The last thing we need is increased fossil fuel production, because it’s fossil fuels that are causing huge problems.
It’s not just the climate change and the moral weight of the wars we are inflicting on the oil producing regions.  Also in the news right now is another large oil spill in the Yellowstone River in Montana.  That’s the second spill into that river over the last five years, each from a burst oil pipeline.  This time, because it’s winter, the river is frozen over complicating efforts to stop the oil from spreading.  The side effect is that water supplies to many towns along the river are now fouled, and they’re having to truck in bottled water from elsewhere.
Mr. Obama – we did not elect you to be the Fracker In Chief, we elected you because of a promised clean energy revolution, green jobs, green technology and electric vehicles.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.
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