Column: Obama offers sustainable energy policy

By Lucy Cheseldine

The Crimson White, U. Alabama via UWIRE

In 2009, the Republican Party blocked a proposal for a cap-and-trade approach to carbon emissions.

This would mean that CO2 emissions would be capped, and any company wanting to exceed the cap could buy credit from companies below it. It is this kind of split that separates the party line.

Obama wants to continue drilling but understands such production needs regulation to be carried out on a sustainable level. He rejects the Republican mentality, warning that they would “let oil companies write the country’s energy plan” and opts for a cleaner plan for American energy production.

Where we source energy is becoming increasingly political, with civil unrest in the Arab world and rising prices. Obama understands that America needs to address the issue from a point of national security. This means we have to look at protecting ourselves through three angles: securing American energy independence, climate change and our environment.

Obama’s term has already seen a reduction in America’s dependence on foreign oil, and American production has increased.

But he has also paved a more responsible path to the production.

After disasters like the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Obama has learned that oil production can have huge repercussions if not handled carefully. By carefully managing oil production, he has also allowed for increased investment in alternative resources.

He has supported wind farms, solar energy and geothermal projects. Not only are these necessary complements to America’s oil and gas usage, but they are innovative. By investing time and research in these processes, America is leading the way in the world of technological development.

Out of these, we have not just made energy; we have created a field of greener advances. From the big to the small, projects such as the plug-in, hybrid electric car will change the way we live. This is the forward mentality of an America that is constantly progressing.

President Obama has also sought to increase the energy resources we have available by decreasing the amount of energy we need to use to run our cars. His administration has set in place a policy that will double the fuel efficiency of new cars by Model Year 2025 by raising standards for cars and light-duty trucks to over 54 miles per gallon. Getting more energy from the fuel we already produce is a guaranteed strategy for reducing consumption and costs in the future.

With cleaner ways of making the energy we use, we are also addressing the bigger issue of climate change. If America is seen by the international community as moving toward a more sustainable environmental policy, others will follow, and the global effort to fight climate change will increase.

It’s leading by example. That brings it back to our environment. This will benefit directly from Obama’s attention to cleaner energy production, but he has already made many positive changes in detail. The president’s record speaks for itself.

He has dramatically increased protections for air quality and has been committed to protecting green spaces. One of his most attractive policies has been the conservation of wild spaces. In 2009, he launched a program to protect over 2 million acres of federal wilderness, trails and rivers. It is not only morally important to coexist with the climate we inhabit, but it is also of economic benefit. By protecting our land, we can use the resources it offers at a more sustainable rate that will, in turn, increase economic activity.

President Obama clearly understands how best to balance our competing national security, economic and environmental interests so that we can develop a sustainable and forward-looking energy policy. The alternative could very well be an irresponsible and potentially damaging development that wouldn’t meet any of America’s vital interests and could actually undermine them.

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