I am certain that, were a serious environmentalist to assess the claim that Obama is the pocket of the environmental movement, he/she would sniff, and say something along the lines of “Better than Bush, I suppose, but hardly committed to really turning around our imminent catastrophe.” Such is the nature of ideological commitment.
Obama has chosen almost always to limit production. He canceled leases on federal lands in Utah, suspended them in Montana, delayed them in Colorado and Utah, and canceled lease sales off the Virginia coast.
His administration also has been slow-walking permits in the Gulf of Mexico, approving far fewer while stretching out review times, according to the Greater New Orleans Gulf Permit Index. The Energy Dept. says Gulf oil output will be down 17% by the end of 2013, compared with the start of 2011. Swift Energy President Bruce Vincent is right to say Obama has “done nothing but restrict access and delay permitting.”
Again, from the point of view of serious environmentalists, this is Barely Adequate. It is analogous to Boehner and McConnell settling on reducing the rate of growth for government spending, rather than spending itself. Obama is restraining the growth of the petroleum economy, rather than cutting the actual size of it.
So, is Obama an environmental moderate? That depends on what you mean by “moderate”. The hard-core environmentalist wants energy consumption seriously reduced; Obama wants to replace the means of consumption without reducing the rate.
Neither is achievable, due to a brace of Inconvenient Truths:
- Renewable Energy Sources are not capable of replacing fossil fuels, now or in the immediate future.
- Real reduction of energy consumption means a reduction of living standards that nobody will willingly embrace until they have to.
So, even if Global Warming is as real as the alarmists suggest, we have no good solutions to it. A good solution is a low-CO2 energy source that is scalable to our energy consumption needs.