Getting Us Off Oil: Barack Obama and the Alternative Energy Presidency

In his Democratic presidential nomination acceptance speech on Thursday night, Senator Obama said:

For the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president:In 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

Getting Us Off Oil: Barack Obama and the Alternative Energy Presidency
Photo: purpletwinkie, Creative Commons, Flickr

Obama went onto criticize McCain’s anti-alternative energy record of voting against higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, renewable fuels, and investments in renewable energies. He also pointed out that today we import triple the amount of oil that we had on the day that McCain took office in the Senate.

Obama then stated that as president he will "tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power." He’ll also help American auto companies build fuel efficient cars.

He continued:

I’ll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy — wind power, and solar power and the next generation of biofuels — an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced.

By giving himself a 10-year time frame to get the country off foreign oil, Obama has laid out an aggressive alternative energy plan for the future, on record. That means that he will be directing all the money and resources he can to a cleaner, more sustainable environment, the way Kennedy devoted overwhelming money and resources to getting a man to the moon by the end of the 1960’s or the Bushes did to wars against ambiguous enemies in oil-rich regions.

Obama’s willingness to hold himself accountable to concrete alternative energy goals proves that he is as serious about the environment as the people reading this site, all of these sites. It means that the environment and the alternative energy movement will define the tone of the country for the next 4-8 years and that, finally, America might take a leadership role in global economy and culture once again.

Obama did not delineate exactly how he is planning to allocate this $150 billion, and questions about the specifics of his plan remain unanswered, but the executive branch has unparalleled power to move the country in a direction that will define its very character and its international reputation. With Barack Obama at the helm we may very well become the progressive, environmentally conscious nation we should already be.