The good news is that everyone was more or less happy about Obama’s stated energy policy last night. The Republicans were happy because Obama was talking about a “clean standard” which actually means “let’s burn fossil fuels in a barely less harmful way” – ie, let’s switch some dirty coal to natural gas, and pretend that “clean” coal is a reality, and that nuclear plants will come online rapidly and without massive subsidies. The Democrats were happy because some Republicans might tolerate a “clean energy” standard that takes emphasis off solar and wind. And everyone was happy because we’re not going to actually do this.
The best thing about any energy claim made in the State of the Union is that everyone knows they are bullshit. Even as the claims become either more “realistic”
(remember Gore’s call for 80% of our energy to come from actual renewables by as soon as 2020?) or less ambitious and more pointless (depending on your perspective), they become less likely, because there is simply no real will to do so. All of these goals would require a lot of will and money, from a government that has neither. They are simply a political shorthand that means “we’d like it if magic fairies came along and actually took care of this stuff for us.”
I think it is useful to re-run this video, based on Jon Stewart’s commentary about last year’s State of the Union, which contained now-conveniently forgotten lofty energy goals as well:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|An Energy-Independent Future|
We are an unstoppable fossil fuel dependency breaking machine. Unfortunately, the machine runs on fossil fuels…. Oh, well, pity about the planet and the grandkids, but we’ve got bigger stuff to fight over, right?
As Obama said last night, the future is ours to win (?!?! – Ah, that’s why we don’t take it seriously, it is a board game!), and it is pretty clear that we’ve chosen our strategy – what Homer Simpson once called “the two sweetest words in the world “De! Fault!”