Search for...
Follow @ontheissuesorg
OnTheIssuesLogo

Barack Obama on Energy & Oil

Democratic incumbent President; IL Senator (2004-2008)


FactCheck: Wind & solar doubled, but now only 1.4% of energy

Obama said "We have doubled . the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar." True, but they're still a very small percentage of energy production and consumption in the U.S.

We looked at this claim when Obama made it several times on the presidential campaign trail last fall. We found that wind and solar energy generation had doubled from 2008 to 2011. Consumption for wind also doubled, and it nearly doubled for solar.

But wind and solar were very small portions of energy generated before--and even after--that increase. Wind was 13% of all renewable energy generated in 2011. (Renewable includes biomass, such as ethanol, and hydro.) Solar was 1.3% of renewable energy generated. Renewable energy altogether accounted for just 9% of U.S. energy consumption in 2011.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2013 State of the Union Address , Feb 13, 2013

Gas was cheap in early 2009 because the economy collapsed

Romney said when I took office, the price of gasoline was $1.86. Why is that? Because the economy was on the verge of collapse, because we were about to go through the worst recession since the Great Depression, as a consequence of some of the same policies that Governor Romney's now promoting. So, it's conceivable that Governor Romney could bring down gas prices because with his policies, we might be back in that same mess.
Source: Second Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 16, 2012

Oil companies had leases on public lands they weren't using

ROMNEY: Oil production is down 14% this year on federal land, and gas production was down 9%. Because Obama cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands, and in federal waters. A lot of it came from North Dakota. Obama brought a criminal action against the people drilling up there for oil, this massive new resource we have. And what was the cost? 20 or 25 birds were killed and [the administration] brought out a Migratory Bird Act to go after them on a criminal basis.

OBAMA: Here's what happened. You had a whole bunch of oil companies who had leases on public lands that they weren't using. So what we said was you can't just sit on this for 10, 20, 30 years, decide when you want to drill, when you want to produce, when it's most profitable for you. These are public lands. So if you want to drill on public lands, you use it or you lose it. And so what we did was take away those leases. And we are now re-letting them so that we can actually make a profit.

Source: Second Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 16, 2012

Develop 100-year natural gas supply; it's beneath our feet

We're offering a better path, a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy; where we develop a 100-year supply of natural gas that's right beneath our feet. If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone.

And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They're a threat to our children's future. And in this election, you can do something about it.

Source: 2012 Democratic National Convention speech , Sep 6, 2012

FactCheck: Promised for 3 years to end oil industry subsidy

Obama said in the State of the Union, "We have subsidized oil companies for a century. That's long enough. It's time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that's rarely been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that's never been more promising."

THE FACTS: This is at least Obama's third run at stripping subsidies from the oil industry. Back when fellow Democrats formed the House and Senate majorities, he sought $36.5 billion in tax increases on oil and gas companies over the next decade, but Congress largely ignored the request. He called again to end such tax breaks in last year's State of the Union speech. And he's now doing it again, despite facing a wall of opposition from Republicans who want to spur domestic oil and gas production and oppose tax increases generally.

Source: Fox News FactCheck on 2012 State of the Union speech , Jan 24, 2012

FactCheck: Oil dependence low; but gas prices highest ever

In his State of the Union speech, Obama said, "Right now, American oil production is the highest that it's been in 8 years. Last year, we relied less on foreign oil than in any of the past 16 years."

All that is true--as far as it goes. The current 2011 average for US petroleum production is 7,782 million barrels per day, the highest since 1998. And the current average for US dependence on foreign oil is 45.4%. That's the lowest since 1995.

But economists say the chief reason for the declining oil imports is reduced consumption, brought on by the recent economic recession. And--what the president also didn't mention--the annual average price of a gallon of gasoline was $3.52 in 2011--the highest in history. It's small comfort to motorists that prices spiked even higher for a brief period under George W. Bush.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2012 State of the Union speech , Jan 24, 2012

Cap-and-trade will cause electricity rates to skyrocket

The Obama administration wants higher energy prices because they believe that will force America to drive less and businesses to slow down on production and transportation.

Remember Cap-and-Tax (or as they called it Cap and Trade)? When he was campaigning to become president, Obama outright admitted that his plan to tax businesses on carbon emissions that exceeded his arbitrary cap would drive energy prices sky high. Here's exactly what he said:

"Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket, even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad, because I'm capping greenhouse gases, coal-powered plants, natural gas, you name it. Whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they

Source: Time to Get Tough, by Donald Trump, p. 15 , Dec 5, 2011

De-facto moratorium on shallow as well as deepwater drilling

Along with the official moratorium on deep-water drilling, the Obama administration had a de facto moratorium on shallow-water drilling. Before the BP spill, federal authorities regularly issued permits to drill in shallow water. After the spill, the issued permits reduced to a trickle. Most of these shallow-water operators were not a part of "big oil"---they were small, independent producers. Their operations in, say, 200 feet of water had nothing to do with what happened at Deepwater Horizons.
Source: Leadership and Crisis, by Bobby Jindal, p. 20 , Nov 15, 2010

Offshore drilling ok if part of comprehensive energy package

Obama was caught flat-footed when McCain, recognizing the growing concerns about four-dollar-a-gallon gasoline, proposed ending the ban on offshore drilling. Obama's first instinct was to cling to traditional Democratic orthodoxy, which saw the issue through the prism of environmentalists. He was forced, awkwardly, to yield by making clear he would accept offshore drilling as part of a more comprehensive energy package.
Source: The Battle for America 2008, by Balz & Johnson, p.306 , Aug 4, 2009

One million 150-mpg plug-in hybrids on road by 2014

Obama's energy proposals, released Aug. 4, announced a goal of getting "one million 150-mpg plug-in hybrids on our roads within 6 years," as well as government subsidies to encourage their development and purchase. Obama called for a windfall-profits tax on oil companies, with the proceeds used to give families a $1,000 tax credit to partly compensate for rising fuel bills, stating: "Obama's emergency rebate plan is designed to help struggling families today while laying the groundwork for his long-term energy plan, which invests $150 billion per year [sic] in developing renewable technologies, encouraging energy efficiency and catalyzing the next generation of clean vehicles to end our dependence on foreign oil and create up to 5 million new jobs."

The reference to $150 billion per year in the press release was a typo. Obama's program actually calls for $150 billion over ten years, or just $15 billion a year. But to get serious about solving the problem, $150 billion a year would be more like it.

Source: Obama`s Challenge, by Robert Kuttner, p.166 , Aug 25, 2008

GovWatch: Opposes Yucca Mountain for nuclear waste storage

McCain portrays Obama as saying “no to clean, safe, nuclear energy.” That’s false. But there’s no question that McCain is a much bigger advocate of nuclear power than Obama, who has taken a more guarded position. McCain has said that he’d work to bring 45 new nuclear power plants online by 2030, with the eventual goal of building 100 new nuclear plants. Obama has criticized that, highlighting his opposition to long-term storage of nuclear waste at the federal government’s Yucca Mountain site in Nevada. “He wants to build 45 new nuclear reactors when they don’t have a plan to store the waste anywhere besides right here,” Obama said on June 25. McCain supports going ahead with the Yucca Mountain plan.

Obama’s 2007 plan promised that he “will also lead federal efforts to look for a safe, long-term disposal solution based on objective, scientific analysis.” It’s inaccurate to cast Obama as an opponent, and McCain goes too far when he portrays Obama as saying “no” to nuclear.

Source: GovWatch on 2008: Washington Post analysis , Jun 26, 2008

Nuclear power ok if we safeguard against waste & terrorism

Q: Would you be in favor of developing more nuclear power to reduce oil dependency?

A: I don’t think that we can take nuclear power off the table. What we have to make sure of is that we have the capacity to store waste properly and safely, and that we reduce whatever threats might come from terrorism. And if we can do that in a technologically sound way, then we should pursue it. If we can’t, we should not. But there is no magic bullet on energy. We’re going to have to look at all the various options.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth College , Sep 6, 2007

3-way win: economy, environment, & stop funding terror

Progressives are the folks who believe in energy independence for America. We believe that we can harness homegrown alternative fuels and spur the production of fuel-efficient hybrid cars, and break our dependence on the world’s most dangerous regions. We understand that we get a three-for: We can save our economy, our environment, and stop funding both sides of the war on terror if we actually get serious about doing something about energy. We understand that.
Source: Annual 2006 Take Back America Conference , Jun 14, 2006

Conserve, develop alternative fuels, increase efficiencies

Q: How would you push greater fuel efficiency from auto makers?

KEYES: We need to develop proper alternative fuels. We need to develop ethanol. We need to push on the research, where breakthroughs are occurring, to get hydrogen from ethanol. By pushing on that kind of research we’ll be able to have a win for our farmers, in the agricultural sector, to improve the profitability of their product. We’ll be able to have a win on the environment, because hydrogen, for instance, is more clean-burning.

OBAMA: We could save as much, in terms of our fuel, if we increased our fuel efficiency standards, as much as we would from getting Alaska drilling going immediately. And that’s been the Bush strategy increasing production for oil and gas companies, subsidizing them to the tune of 20 billion dollars, as opposed to thinking about how, not only, we can develop alternative fuels, but also how can we conserve energy and increase efficiencies available right now but have not been invested in.

Source: [Xref Keyes] IL Senate Debate , Oct 26, 2004

Increase CAFE to 40 mpg

Obama will increase Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) to 40 mpg for cars from their current mid-1980’s level. Americans will save billions of dollars and millions of barrels of oil per day by implementing these already existing technologies.
Source: 2004 Senate campaign website, ObamaForIllinois.com , Jun 25, 2004

Reduce the consumption of energy and be more efficient

One thing that we haven’t talked as much about that we need to is reducing the consumption of energy. We are inefficient, and oftentimes during the presidential campaign, people have asked, what do we expect out of the American people in bringing about real change. This is an example of where ordinary citizens have to make a change. We are going to have to make our buildings more efficient. We’re going to have to make our lighting & our appliances more efficient.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Las Vegas , Jan 15, 2008


Barack Obama on Energy Independence

FactCheck: Yes, more domestic oil, but due to new technology

The president said that for the first time in nearly 20 years, there is "more oil produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world."

That's true. The latest figures from the nonpartisan experts at the Energy Information Administration show domestic oil production averaged 7.5 million barrels per day last year, while net imports of petroleum averaged 6.2 million barrels. And that's the first time since 1992 that domestic production exceeded net imports.

But as we've often noted, the remarkable boom in U.S. oil production is chiefly the result of new drilling technology--using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing or "fracking"--and not of any government policy.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2014 State of the Union address , Jan 29, 2014

Lowest oil imports and highest oil production in 16 years

We have increased oil production to the highest levels in 16 years. Natural gas production is the highest it's been in decades. We have seen increases in coal production and coal employment. We doubled fuel efficiency standards on cars. In the middle of the next decade, any car you buy, you're going to end up going twice as far on a gallon of gas. That's why we doubled clean energy production. All these things have contributed to us lowering our oil imports to the lowest levels in 16 years.
Source: Second Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 16, 2012

Does anyone think Exxon-Mobil needs a subsidy?

OBAMA: Let's talk about corporate taxes. Now, I've identified areas where we can, right away, make a change that I believe would actually help the economy. The oil industry gets $4 billion a year in corporate welfare. Basically, they get deductions that those small businesses that Governor Romney refers to, they don't get. Now, does anybody think that ExxonMobil needs some extra money, when they're making money every time you go to the pump? Why wouldn't we want to eliminate that? Why wouldn't we eliminate tax breaks for corporate jets? My attitude is, if you got a corporate jet, you can probably afford to pay full freight, not get a special break for it.

ROMNEY: First of all, the tax break for oil companies is $2.8 billion a year. And it's actually an accounting treatment, as you know, that's been in place for a hundred years.

OBAMA: It's time to end it.

ROMNEY: In one year, you provided $90 billion in breaks to the green energy world.

Source: First Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 3, 2012

All-of-the-above approach to reduce foreign dependence

Q: What policies would you support to meet the demand for energy while ensuring an economically and environmentally sustainable future?

A: Since taking office, I have supported an all-of-the-above energy approach that will allow us to take control of our energy future, one where we safely and responsibly develop America's many energy resources--including natural gas, wind, solar, oil, clean coal, and biofuels--while investing in clean energy and increasing fuel efficiency standards to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I know the country that harnesses the power of clean, renewable energy will lead the global economy in the 21st century. That's why I have made the largest investment in clean energy and energy efficiency in American history and proposed an ambitious Clean Energy Standard to generate 80 percent of our electricity from clean energy sources like wind, solar, clean coal, and natural gas by 2035.

Source: The Top American Science Questions, by sciencedebate.org , Sep 4, 2012

All-of-the-above energy; enough natural gas or 100 years

Nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in American-made energy. We've opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and more than 75% of our potential offshore oil and gas resources. Right now, American oil production is the highest that it's been in 8 years. Last year, we relied less on foreign oil than in any of the past 16 years.

But with only 2% of the world's oil reserves, oil isn't enough. This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy--a strategy that's cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs.

We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years. Developing this energy will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. And I'm requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use. America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk.

Source: 2012 State of the Union speech , Jan 24, 2012

FactCheck: clean coal isn't ready; nuke waste is unresolved

The president set a goal of obtaining 80% of our electricity from renewable sources, plus nuclear, natural gas and "clean" coal, by 2035. That'll take some work, but with three nonrenewable sources in the mix, the goal isn't unreachable.

The biggest conundrum is coal. Coal fuels 44% of electricity production. But "clean" coal, which usually refers to coal burned in a way that allows its carbon dioxide emissions to be captured and stored underground, is far from ready to step in and provide such a large share of the mix. The first large-scale "clean" coal plant is still under development. That means renewables like wind, solar and hydro will need to continue to expand their shares of the pie, as well as natural gas.

Obama also counts nuclear plants as "clean"--but that's a point that environmentalists debate, particularly since the question of what to do with the resulting highly radioactive waste has yet to be resolved.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2011 State of the Union speech , Jan 26, 2011

Big promoter of clean coal technology & nukes

Rep. CAPITO: I represent the state of West Virginia. We're resource-rich. We have a lot of coal and a lot of natural gas. But our miners and those who are unemployed are very concerned about some of your policies in these areas: cap and trade, an aggressive EPA, and the looming prospect of higher taxes. In our minds, these are job-killing policies.

Pres. OBAMA: I know that West Virginia struggles with unemployment. That's part of the reason why I've said that we need a comprehensive energy policy that sets us up for a long-term future. For example, nobody has been a bigger promoter of clean coal technology than I am. Testament to that, I ended up being in a whole bunch of advertisements that you guys saw all the time about investing in way for us to burn coal more cleanly. I've said that I'm a promoter of nuclear energy, something that I think over the last 3 decades has been subject to a lot of partisan wrangling & ideological wrangling. I think that that has to be part of our energy mix.

Source: Obama Q&A at 2010 House Republican retreat in Baltimore , Jan 29, 2010

Let’s build a fuel-efficient car in America, not abroad

Q: Can we reduce our dependence on foreign oil and by how much in the first term, in four years?

OBAMA: We can’t drill our way out of the problem. That’s why I’ve focused on putting resources into solar, wind, biodiesel, geothermal. It is absolutely critical that we develop a high fuel efficient car that’s built not in Japan and not in South Korea, but built here in the USA. We invented the auto industry and the fact that we have fallen so far behind is something that we have to work on.

Source: 2008 third presidential debate against John McCain , Oct 15, 2008

Ten years to eliminate dependence on foreign oil

Q: How much can we reduce foreign oil imports?

OBAMA: In ten years, we can reduce our dependence so that we no longer have to import oil from the Middle East or Venezuela. Number one, we need to expand domestic production and that means telling the oil companies the 68 million acres that they currently have leased that they’re not drilling, use them or lose them.

McCAIN: We can eliminate our dependence on Middle Eastern oil and Venezuelan oil. Canadian oil is fine. We can eliminate our dependence on foreign oil by building 45 new nuclear power plants. With wind, tide, solar, natural gas, with development of flex fuel, hybrid, clean coal technology, we can, within seven, eight, ten years, eliminate our dependence on the places in the world that harm our national security.

Source: 2008 third presidential debate against John McCain , Oct 15, 2008

$15B to free us from foreign oil in 10 years

I’ve called for an investment of $15 billion a year over 10 years. Our goal should be, in 10 year’s time, we are free of dependence on Middle Eastern oil. And we can do it. Now, when JFK said we’re going to the Moon in 10 years, nobody was sure how to do it, but we understood that, if the American people make a decision to do something, it gets done. So that would be priority number one.
Source: 2008 second presidential debate against John McCain , Oct 7, 2008

FactCheck: Reluctant on nuclear power in past; now favors it

Obama flatly said he favored nuclear energy--embracing it more warmly than in the past. Obama said, “Contrary to what Sen. McCain keeps on saying, I favor nuclear power as one component of our overall energy mix.”

Previously Obama has been more hesitant. He said at a town hall meeting in Newton, Iowa, on Dec. 30, 2007, when asked if he was “truly comfortable” with the safety of nuclear power, “I start off with the premise that nuclear energy is not optimal. I am not a nuclear energy proponent.“ He then went on to say later in the same response that he has ”not ruled out nuclear ... but only so far as it is clean and safe.“

The energy plan Obama released in October 2007 only grudgingly conceded that more nuclear power is probably needed to reduce carbon emissions: ”It is unlikely that we can meet our aggressive climate goals if we eliminate nuclear power from the table.“

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 second presidential debate , Oct 7, 2008

Drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution

For our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East. Washington’s been talking about our oil addiction for the last 30 years, and McCain has been there for 26 of them. He’s said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy. Today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that McCain took office. Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars are built in America. I’ll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in renewable energy--an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can’t ever be outsourced.
Source: Speech at 2008 Democratic National Convention , Aug 27, 2008

More Alaska oil & gas leases, plus new gas pipeline

Gov. Sarah Palin today responded to the energy plan put forward by the presumptive Democratic nominee for President, Illinois Senator Barack Obama. “I am pleased to see Senator Obama acknowledge the huge potential Alaska’s natural gas reserves represent in terms of clean energy and sound jobs,” Governor Palin said.

In a speech given in Lansing, Michigan, Senator Obama called for the completion of the Alaska natural gas pipeline, stating, “Over the next five years, we should also lease more of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska for oil and gas production. And we should also tap more of our substantial natural gas reserves and work with the Canadian government to finally build the Alaska natural gas pipeline, delivering clean natural gas and creating good jobs in the process.“

Gov. Palin said, ”This is a tool that must be on the table to buy us time until our long-term energy plans can be put into place, and it is gratifying to see Senator Obama get on board.“

Source: Gov. Palin’s press release, “Pleased with Obama’s Plan” , Aug 4, 2008

Political climate at fault for failing energy independence

In a speech in Oct. 2007 in Portsmouth N.H., Obama blamed the Washington political climate, and the corporate special interests who control it, for what has happened to the planet:

"We have heard promises to curb our use of fossil fuels in nearly every State of the Union address since the oil embargo of 1973.

"Our energy problem has become an energy crisis because no matter how well-intentioned the promise, they all fall victim to the same Washington politics that has only become more divided and dishonest; more beholden to the powerful interests that have the biggest stake in the status quo."

  1. Obama's long-term goal is to reduce all carbon emissions by 80% by the year 2050. Obama will:
  2. Introduce a market-based cap and trade system to limit carbon emissions;
  3. Encourage renewable and alternative energy use;
  4. Emphasize conservation and improve energy efficiency; and
  5. Reestablish America as the global leader in global warming negotiations.
Source: Obamanomics, by John R. Talbott, p.128 , Jul 1, 2008

Raise fuel efficiency standards to reduce long-term demand

Q: We’ve heard from politicians for a long time we’re going to end dependence on foreign oil. I just have a quote: “The generation-long growth in our dependence on foreign oil will be stopped dead in its tracks right now.” That was Jimmy Carter in 1979. And it’s gotten a whole lot worse since then.

A: Well, you’re right. And that’s why people are cynical, because decade after decade, we talk about energy policy or we talk about health care policy, and through Democratic and Republican administrations, nothing gets done. [I agree with Sen. Clinton on] investigating potential price gouging & a windfall profits tax. I think that long term, we’re going to have to raise fuel efficiency standards on cars, because the only way that we’re going to be able to reduce gas prices is if we reduce demand. You’ve still got a billion people in China & India who want cars. So we have to get serious about increasing our fuel efficiency standards and investing in new technologies.

Source: 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, on eve of PA primary , Apr 16, 2008

Fuel efficiency and Middle East stability help on fuel costs

Out of the $90 that it’s costing right now for a barrel, about 30% of that is just risk. It’s not dictated by supply and demand. If we can lower the rhetoric, with respect to military action in the Middle East, that will have an immediate impact. One of the things that we have to do with respect to conservation is to increase fuel efficiency standards on cars. We have to make that commitment by doing what I did, talking to the auto makers and providing them the incentives to start making those shifts.
Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University , Oct 30, 2007

Explore nuclear power as part of alternative energy mix

Q: What about nuclear power as an alternative energy source?

A: I actually think that we should explore nuclear power as part of the energy mix. There are no silver bullets to this issue. We have to develop solar. I have proposed drastically increasing fuel efficiency standards on cars, an aggressive cap on the amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted. But we’re going to have to try a series of different approaches.

Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC , Jul 23, 2007

Stop sending $800M a day to Mideast dictators for oil

We can stop sending $800 million a day to Middle East dictators for oil that’s a danger to our planet and a drag on our economy, and we can start using renewable fuels that are grown right in Iowa and Illinois, and we can help our car companies use technology we already have to start churning our cars that use less oil. But none of this will come to pass until we do what everyone in this room knows what we must do and end this war in Iraq.
Source: 2007 IAFF Presidential Forum in Washington DC , Mar 14, 2007

We cannot drill our way out of our addiction to oil

It is hard to overstate the degree to which our addiction to oil undermines our future. Without any change to energy policy, US demand for oil will jump 40% in 20 years. Over the same period, worldwide demand will jump 30%.

A large portion of the $800 million we spend on foreign oil every day goes to some of the world’s most volatile regimes. And there are the environmental consequences. Just about every scientist outside the White House believes climate change is real.

We cannot drill our way out of the problem. Instead of subsidizing the oil industry, we should end every single tax break the industry currently receives and demand that 1% of the revenues from oil companies with over $1 billion in quarterly profits go toward financing alternative energy research and infrastructure.

Over the last 30 years, countries like Brazil have used a mix of regulation and direct government investment to develop a biofuel industry; 70% of its new vehicles run on sugar-based ethanol.

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.167-169 , Oct 1, 2006

Free America from its dependence on foreign oil

[We should] free America from its dependence on foreign oil. We must take concrete steps to move us toward energy independence including requiring that 20 percent of the nation’s power supply portfolio come from renewable sources like wind, solar, biomass and geothermal energy by 2020, and that a percentage of our nation’s fuel supply is provided by renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel.
Source: Press Release, “Renewal of American Leadership ” , Jul 12, 2004


Barack Obama on Global Warming

FactCheck: Yes, US reduced CO2 tonnage, but that's only 6%

Obama rehashed a boast first made in a major speech on climate change last summer, that "the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth." That's accurate in terms of the sheer tonnage of emissions reduced. But dozens of nations have reduced their carbon dioxide emissions by a larger percentage than the US.

The US emitted 5,491 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2011. That's 362 million metric tons fewer than what was emitted in the US in 2003.

But some perspective is in order. The US improvement results are different when the reduction amount is measured by the percentage change. By that measure, dozens of countries fared better than the US, which reduced its emissions by 6.2%, including Also noteworthy, the EIA credited most of the U.S. reduction in carbon pollution to slower economic growth, weather, higher gasoline prices and an increasing shift from coal to natural gas--not necessarily the government's energy policy, as claimed by Ob

Source: FactCheck.org on 2014 State of the Union address , Jan 29, 2014

Debate is settled: climate change is a fact

Taken together, our energy policy is creating jobs and leading to a cleaner, safer planet. Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth. But we have to act with more urgency-- because a changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought, and coastal cities dealing with floods. That's why I directed my administration to work with states, utilities, and others to set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants are allowed to dump into the air. The shift to a cleaner energy economy won't happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way. But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. And when our children's children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.
Source: 2014 State of the Union address , Jan 28, 2014

Bipartisan market-based solution to climate change

I urge this Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won't act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.
Source: 2013 State of the Union Address , Feb 12, 2013

We must do more to combat climate change

We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas, and the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar--with tens of thousands of good, American jobs to show for it. We produce more natural gas than ever before- and nearly everyone's energy bill is lower because of it. And over the last four years, our emissions of the dangerous carbon pollution that threatens our planet have actually fallen.

But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Yes, it's true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods--all are now more frequent and intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science--and act before it's too late

Source: 2013 State of the Union Address , Feb 12, 2013

First-ever carbon pollution limits for new oil & coal plants

Q: What is your position on cap-and-trade, carbon taxes, and other policies proposed to address global climate change--and what steps can we take to improve our ability to tackle challenges like climate change that cross national boundaries?

A: Climate change is the one of the biggest issues of this generation, and we have to meet this challenge by driving smart policies that lead to greater growth in clean energy generation and result in a range of economic and social benefits. Since taking office I have established historic standards limiting greenhouse gas emissions from our vehicles for the first time in history. My administration has made unprecedented investments in clean energy, proposed the first-ever carbon pollution limits for new fossil-fuel-fired power plants & reduced carbon emissions within the Federal Government. Since I took office, the US is importing an average of 3 million fewer barrels of oil every day, & our dependence on foreign oil is at a 20-year low.

Source: The Top American Science Questions, by sciencedebate.org , Sep 4, 2012

Cap-and-trade will make electricity prices skyrocket

Here's how cap and trade for carbon dioxide emissions works: As the government imposes caps on emissions, it essentially establishes an artificial price for carbon. Each regulated entity may only emit a certain amount of carbon, and if it exceeds that limit, it can buy credits from other entities that are not exceeding their limits. Of course, higher emitting entities such as coal-fired power plants, would have to purchase a large number of credits to continue business as usual, and as President Obama said himself, "electricity prices would necessarily skyrocket" because these costs "would be passed on to consumers" in the form of an energy tax. Ultimately, the real losers in this scenario would have been the American people, who would have had to shoulder the largest tax increase in American history.

The philosophy behind cap and trade is that if we restrict enough supply of fossil fuels, the price will increase, and we can simply shift to less costly alternatives. Yet this is wishful thinking.

Source: The Greatest Hoax, by James Inhofe, p. 47 , Feb 28, 2012

New coal plants ok if they pay for greenhouse gas emission

Obama's most honest comments have been those when he went "off message." In one interview he said, "If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted." Obama's normal campaign rhetoric did not promise to bankrupt our own coal industry. While he promised a new dawn of abundant energy, he actually planned to declare war on the coal industry.
Source: To Save America, by Newt Gingrich, p. 63 , May 17, 2010

Slash emissions from 5,972 mmt in 2005 to 4,957 mmt

Despite declining to ratify the Kyoto Protocol limiting carbon dioxide emissions, the US has done relatively well in reducing them. President Obama has committed the United States to cutting its carbon emissions to 17 percent below its 2005 level . In 2005, the nation emitted 5,972 million metric tons (mmt) of carbon; Obama would have us slash our emissions to 4,957 mmts.

And the surprising news is: We're already halfway there! In 2009, the United States emitted 5,476 mmts of carbon. Just 519 mmts to go!

In a very short time, the normal workings of the free enterprise marketplace, the increase in gasoline prices, the recession, and an increased environmental consciousness among our citizens have brought us halfway toward achieving Obama's goal--without being bound by Kyoto, and without cap and trade. And we can get the rest of the way without the further taxes and regulations Obama wants to impose on us.

Source: Take Back America, by Dick Morris, p.126 , Apr 13, 2010

Cap-and-trade: lower CO2 levels by fees on carbon emissions

Obama's solution to climate change is an ambitious new regulatory scheme called "cap-and-trade."

The point of cap-and-trade is to lower the earth's CO2 levels by forcing people to pay to produce or emit carbon. A carbon tax would be the most straightforward way to achieve this, but industry lobbyists and most politicians, including Barack Obama and John McCain, favor cap-and-trade., We can guess a few of the reasons.

First, cap-and-trade is not called a "tax," which makes it easier to sell, even though it functions much like a tax. Probably more important--cap-and-trade necessarily involves more political tinkering and more lobbying.

Cap-and-trade requires an emitter to pay for his emissions with special permits. The government would dictate how many permits are in circulation.

But this basic groundwork leaves many questions--and corporate lobbyists are eager to help Congress and the Obama administration answer them.

Source: Obamanomics, by Timothy P. Carney, p.105-106 , Nov 30, 2009

FactCheck: US imports less oil today than in 2005

Given the widespread concern about foreign oil, one line certainly sounded plausible: Obama said, "We have known for decades that our survival depends on finding new sources of energy, yet we import more oil today than ever before."

Not true. We're importing less than we were just a few years ago. Imports reached a high point of 15 million barrels per day on Nov. 4, 2005. Most recently, they totaled 11.5 million on Feb. 20, 2009. Monthly and annual imports show the same trend.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2009 State of the Union address , Feb 24, 2009

All nations must act to reduce carbon emissions

This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands. Let us resolve that all nations--including my own--will act with seriousness of purpose, and reduce the carbon we send into our atmosphere. This is the moment to give our children back their future. This is the moment to stand as one.
Source: Speech in Berlin, in Change We Can Believe In, p.269 , Jul 24, 2008

Include clean coal in clean energy future

Obama's plan to invest in a clean energy future and in renewable and alternative energies states that he will:
Source: Obamanomics, by John R. Talbott, p.132-133 , Jul 1, 2008

$150B investment over 10 years to reduce oil usage by 35%

Q: How long before our automobiles are off of gasoline oil and using something like an alternative fuel?

A: If we decided right now that we were going to make the kind of investment I’ve proposed--$150 billion over 10 years--then I think at the end of the decade we could have a auto industry that has significantly reduced our consumption of oil by as much as 35% or 40%. The technologies exist right now for plug-in hybrids. We should continue to investigate the possibilities of electric cars. The problem is that we have not been serious about it, and Detroit ended up making investments in SUVs and large trucks because that’s where they perceived a competitive advantage and that’s where they felt they could make the most profit. I think it was a mistake for them not to plan earlier. Now we’re seeing a huge growth in fuel-efficient cars that is benefiting the Japanese automakers, and Detroit is getting pounded some more. And I think that we can make those cars here in the US.

Source: Meet the Press: 2008 “Meet the Candidates” series , May 4, 2008

Figure out how to sequester carbon and burn clean coal

Q: In terms of global warming, you’ve talked about wind and solar and biofuels. What about nuclear?

A: I think we do have to look at nuclear, and what we’ve got to figure out is can we store the material properly? Can we make sure that they’re secure? Can we deal with the expense? My attitude when it comes to energy is there’s no silver bullet. We’ve got to look at every possible option. You know, I’ve said the same thing about coal. I have a aggressive goal of reducing carbon emissions, and coal is a dirty fuel right now. But if we can figure out how to sequester carbon and burn clean coal, we’re the Saudi Arabia of coal, and I don’t think that we can dismiss out of hand the use of coal as part of our energy mix. What we are going to have to understand, though, is that global warming is real, it is serious and that whatever options we come up with, if they are not addressing the fact that the planet is getting warmer, then we are failing not just this generation, but future generations.

Source: Meet the Press: 2008 “Meet the Candidates” series , May 4, 2008

GOP right on cap-&-trade: guidelines instead of bureaucracy

Q: One of the central themes of your campaign is that you are a uniter who will reach across the aisle & create a new kind of politics. As president, can you name a hot-button issue where you would be willing to buck the Democratic Party line & say, “You know what? Republicans have a better idea here?”

A: On issues of regulation. I think that back in the ‘60s and ‘70s a lot of the way we regulated industry was top-down command and control, we’re going to tell businesses exactly how to do things. I thin that the Republican Party and people who thought about the markets came up with the notion that, “You know what? If you simply set some guidelines, some rules and incentives, for businesses--let them figure out how they’re going to, for example, reduce pollution,” and a cap and trade system, for example is a smarter way of doing it, controlling pollution, than dictating every single rule that a company has to abide by, which creates a lot of bureaucracy and red tape and oftentimes is less efficient.

Source: 2008 Fox News interview: presidential series , Apr 27, 2008

Reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050

Source: Campaign booklet, “Blueprint for Change”, p. 24-27 , Feb 2, 2008

Aggressively address accelerating climate change

Q: What do you think the toughest choice you have left to make is? What haven’t you made up your mind on yet? And why haven’t you?

A: The issue of climate change. I’ve put forward one of the most aggressive proposals out there, but the science seems to be coming in indicating it’s accelerating even more quickly with every passing day. And by the time I take office, I think we’re going to have to have a serious conversation about how drastic steps we need to take to address it.

Source: 2007 Democratic radio debate on NPR , Dec 4, 2007

Cap-and-trade carbon emissions; raise CAFE standard

It’s time to turn the page on energy, to break the stalemate that’s kept our fuel efficiency standards in the same place for 20 years, to tell the oil and auto industries that they must act, not only because their future’s at stake, but because the future of our country and our planet is at stake.

As president, I will place a cap on carbon emissions and require companies who can’t meet the cap to buy credits from those who can, which will generate billions of dollars to invest in renewable sources of energy and create new jobs and even a new industry in the process. I’ll put in place a low carbon fuel standard that will take 50 million cars worth of pollution off the road. I’ll raise the fuel efficiency standards for our cars and trucks because we know we have the technology to do it and it’s the time to do it.

Source: Take Back America 2007 Conference , Jun 19, 2007

Cap-and-trade is more specific on reducing greenhouse gases

I proposed a cap-and-trade system, because you can be very specific in terms of how to reduce the greenhouse gases by a particular level. What you have to do is you have to combine it with a 100% auction. Every little bit of pollution sent up into the atmosphere, that polluter is getting charged for it. Not only does that ensure that they don’t game the system, but you’re also generating billions of dollars that can be invested in solar & wind & biodiesel. On a carbon tax, the cost will be passed on to consumers. Under a cap-and-trade, plants are going to have to retrofit their equipment. That’s going to cost money, and they will pass it onto consumers. We have an obligation to use some of the money that we generate to shield low-income and fixed-income individuals from higher electricity prices. We’re also going to have to ask the American people to change how they use energy. Everybody is going to have to change their light bulbs and insulate their homes. It’s a sacrifice that we can meet
Source: 2008 Facebook/WMUR-NH Democratic primary debate , Jan 6, 2006

20% nation’s power supply from renewable sources by 2020

Neither American security, nor our economic potential, can afford to be held hostage by those half a world away because our nation is too dependent on others for our energy. This requires concrete steps to move us toward energy independence including requiring that 20% of the nation’s power supply portfolio come from renewable sources like wind, solar, biomass and geothermal energy by 2020, and that a percentage of our nation’s fuel supply is provided by renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel.
Source: 2004 Senate campaign website, ObamaForIllinois.com , Sep 28, 2004


Barack Obama on Green Energy

Natural gas is a "bridge fuel"; then go solar

One of the biggest factors in bringing more jobs back is our commitment to American energy. The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today, America is closer to energy independence than we've been in decades.

One of the reasons why is natural gas--if extracted safely, it's the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change.

It's not just oil and natural gas production that's booming; we're becoming a global leader in solar, too. Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar; every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job can't be outsourced. Let's continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don't need it, so that we can invest more in fuels of the future that do.

Source: 2014 State of the Union address , Jan 28, 2014

Energy Security Trust: oil & gas tax funds green energy R&D

Much of our new-found energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together. So tonight, I propose we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an Energy Security Trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good. If a non-partisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals can get behind this idea, then so can we. Let's take their advice and free our families and businesses from the painful spikes in gas prices we've put up with for far too long. I'm also issuing a new goal for America: let's cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years. The states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make it happen.
Source: 2013 State of the Union Address , Feb 12, 2013

Invest in clean energy because China & Germany will

Q: Your energy secretary, Steven Chu, states it's not policy of his department to help lower gas prices. Do you agree?

OBAMA: We can't just produce traditional source of energy. We've also got to look to the future. That's why we doubled fuel efficiency standards on cars. That means that in the middle of the next decade, any car you buy, you're going to end up going twice as far on a gallon of gas. That's why we doubled clean energy production like wind and solar and biofuels. Now, Governor Romney will say he's got an all-of-the-above plan, but he's got the oil and gas part, but he doesn't have the clean energy part. And if we are only thinking about tomorrow or the next day and not thinking about 10 years from now, we're not going to control our own economic future. Because China, Germany, they're making these investments. And I'm not going to cede those jobs of the future to those countries. That's going to make sure that you're not paying as much for gas.

Source: Second Obama-Romney 2012 debate , Oct 16, 2012

Doubled use of renewable energy; doubled car fuel efficiency

After thirty years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. We've doubled our use of renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines, and long-lasting batteries. In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by one million barrels a day, more than any administration in recent history. And today, the US is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in the last two decades.

So, now you have a choice--between a strategy that reverses this progress, or one that builds on it. We've opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and we'll open more. But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country's energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.

Source: 2012 Democratic National Convention speech , Sep 6, 2012

$90B for clean energy; biggest investment in history

OBAMA: Through the Recovery Act, my Administration committed over $100 billion to support groundbreaking innovation with investments in [public and private R&D]. Of these funds, we made a $90 billion investment in clean energy that will produce as much as $150 billion in clean energy projects. In fact, the Recovery Act made the largest single investment in clean energy in American history. And our investments in energy not only focus on research, but on the deployment of these new technologies.

ROMNEY: I am a strong supporter of federally funded research, and continued funding would be a top priority in my budget. The answer to spending constraints is not to cut back on crucial investments in America's future, but rather to spend money more wisely. Pres. Obama spent $90 billion in stimulus dollars in a failed attempt to promote his green energy agenda. That same spending could have funded the nation's energy research programs for nearly twenty years.

Source: The Top American Science Questions, by sciencedebate.org , Sep 4, 2012

2009: Spark a clean energy transformation

On Friday, June 26, 2009, Democrats made history. For the 1st time, a cap and trade bill--sponsored by Representatives Henry Waxman and Ed Markey--passed in the House of Representatives. Notably absent in Obama's ringing endorsement of the bill was any mention of global warming or climate change--or cap and trade for that matter:

"This week, the House of Representatives is moving ahead on historic legislation that will transform the way we produce and use energy in America. This legislation will spark a clean energy transformation that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and confront the carbon pollution that threatens our planet.

This energy bill will create a set of initiatives that will spur the development of new sources of energy, including wind, solar, and geothermal power. It will also spur new energy savings, like efficient windows and other materials that reduce heating costs in the winter and cooling costs in the summer."

Source: The Greatest Hoax, by James Inhofe, p.109 , Feb 28, 2012

Don't cede wind, or solar, or battery industry to foreigners

It was public research dollars, over the course of 30 years, that helped develop the technologies to extract natural gas out of shale rock--reminding us that Government support is critical in helping businesses get new energy ideas off the ground. Our experience with shale gas shows us that the payoffs on these public investments don't always come right away. Some technologies don't pan out; some companies fail.

But I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy. I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the same commitment here. We have subsidized oil companies for a century. That's long enough. It's time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that's rarely been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that's never been more promising.

Source: 2012 State of the Union speech , Jan 24, 2012

Clean energy on public lands, and for defense department

We can spur energy innovation with new incentives. Tonight, I'm directing my Administration to allow the development of clean energy on enough public land to power three million homes. And I'm proud to announce that the Department of Defense, the world's largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history--with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year.

Of course, the easiest way to save money is to waste less energy. So here's another proposal: Help manufacturers eliminate energy waste in their factories and give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings. Their energy bills will be $100 billion lower over the next decade, and America will have less pollution, more manufacturing, and more jobs for construction workers who need them. Building this new energy future should be just one part of a broader agenda to repair America's infrastructure.

Source: 2012 State of the Union speech , Jan 24, 2012

Subsidize clean energy by canceling oil subsidies

Already, we're seeing the promise of renewable energy. We're issuing a challenge. We're telling America's scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we'll fun the Apollo projects of our time.

With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I'm asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don't know if you've noticed, but they're doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday's energy, let's invest in tomorrow's.

Clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market. So tonight, I set a new goal: By 2035, 80% of America's electricity will come from clean energy sources.

Source: 2011 State of the Union speech , Jan 26, 2011

More incentives for clean energy, including nuclear

To create more clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. And that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country. It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development. It means continued investment in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies. And, yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy profitable.
Source: 2010 State of the Union Address , Jan 27, 2010

2006: FutureGen is the future of coal, with carbon capture

Obama never mentioned "Big Coal" as one of the bad guys. That's because as a senator, Obama championed FutureGen, declaring in mid-2006, "The FutureGen project is the future of coal in the US." Since the FutureGen project was originally proposed in those Cheney task force meetings, Obama refrained from criticizing Big Coal's role in those talks.

The project was groundbreaking: get ten or so of the biggest oil and power companies together in a joint venture, provide a billion dollars of federal aid, and charge the companies--known as the FutureGen Alliance--with creating a coal-fired power plant that gives off almost no pollution or greenhouse gases. This would involve developing "carbon capture" technology: trapping carbon dioxide emissions underground so they don't contribute to the greenhouse effect.

The Bush White House announced the FutureGen initiative in 2003. The following year, Energy Secretary Spence Abraham pumped up congressional support and a minority investment from corporate partners.

Source: Obamanomics, by Timothy P. Carney, p. 41 , Nov 30, 2009

$15B in clean energy; plus market-based cap on carbon

We know the country that harnesses the power of clean, renewable energy will lead the 21st century.

We will double this nation's supply of renewable energy in the next three years. We've also made the largest investment in basic research funding in American history--an investment that will spur not only new discoveries in energy, but breakthroughs in medicine and science and technology.

But to truly transform our economy, to protect our security, and save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy. So I ask this Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America. And to support that innovation, we will invest $15 billion a year to develop technologies like wind power and solar power, advanced biofuels, clean coal, and more efficient cars and trucks built right here in America.

Source: 2009 State of the Union address , Feb 24, 2009

FactCheck: Chevy Volt uses Korean battery, but Ford's don't

Obama gave a few examples of how the U.S. isn't leading when it comes to "clean, renewable energy," saying at one point that "new plug-in hybrids roll off our assembly lines, but they will run on batteries made in Korea."

He's partly right. The Chevy Volt, if it comes to market as scheduled in 2010, would be the first American-made, plug-in hybrid car, and General Motors recently announced that the Volt will use battery systems from South Korea's LG Chem Ltd.

But the U.S. isn't a complete laggard in this department. Ford said earlier this month that batteries for its hybrid, due to be available in 2012, will be supplied by a joint venture between a U.S. company, Johnson Controls Inc., and France's Saft. At least initially, though, the battery cells will be made in France; they will be assembled into power packs in the U.S.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2009 State of the Union address , Feb 24, 2009

Cellulosic ethanol more energy-efficient than corn-based

I'm reminded of an episode described by Larissa MacFarquhar in her May 2007 New York Times profile of Obama. She recalls a conversation between Obama and an Illinois farmer in which the senator, not yet a candidate for the presidency, launched into an off-the-cuff description of ethanol production that sounded like it belonged in the pages of "Modern Farmer." "Right now cellulosic ethanol is potentially eight times more energy-efficient than corn-based ethanol, because you eliminate the middle step of converting it into sugar before you convert it into ethanol," Obama explains to this farmer who has spent a lifetime up to his eyebrows in corn. That Obama's penchant for policy-wonk, chemistry-club conversation has not diluted his coolness suggests that he is returning to cool a layer of brainpower that it has lacked in recent years.
Source: What Obama Means, by Jabari Asim, p. 38 , Jan 20, 2009

GovWatch: $150B for electric car batteries & new technology

McCain released a Web ad saying that Obama opposes “innovation” in general and “the electric car” in particular. The claim is based solely on Obama’s dismissal of McCain’s proposal to award a $300 million prize for development of a battery package capabl of powering electric cars. Obama called McCain’s approach a gimmick, but Obama was criticizing McCain for not going far enough.

Obama said, “I commend McCain for his desire to accelerate the search for a battery that can power the cars of the future. But I don’t think a $300 million prize is enough. When John F. Kennedy decided that we were going to put a man on the moon, he didn’t put a bounty out for some rocket scientist to win--he put the full resources of the US government behind the project and called on the ingenuity and innovation of the American people.“

And far from saying ”no to innovation,“ Obama has proposed spending $150 billion over 10 years to develop a variety of new energy technologies.

Source: GovWatch on 2008: Washington Post analysis , Jun 26, 2008

Harness homegrown, alternative fuels like ethanol

Let’s be the generation that finally tackles our health care crisis. We can control costs by focusing on prevention, by providing better treatment to the chronically ill, and using technology to cut the bureaucracy. Let’s be the generation that says right here, right now, that we will have universal health care in America by the end of the next president’s first term.

Let’s be the generation that finally frees America from the tyranny of oil. We can harness homegrown, alternative fuels like ethanol and spur the production of more fuel-efficient cars. We can set up a system for capping greenhouse gases. We can turn this crisis of global warming into a moment of opportunity for innovation, and job creation, and an incentive for businesses that will serve as a model for the world. Let’s be the generation that makes future generations proud of what we did here.

Source: Speech in Springfield, in Change We Can Believe In, p.198-9 , Feb 10, 2007

Wants Detroit to build more hybrids & use more ethanol

Obama’s solution to Detroit’s woes calls for a government deal with the Big Three:
Obama highlighted legislative proposals he has offered. They include a bargain with the big three automakers that would help them with their high retiree health costs if they use the savings to invest in fuel-efficient cars. Obama said the US auto industry is hurting because it has failed to keep pace with foreign carmakers who are transitioning much faster to sales of hybrids & other efficient cars.
Obama also called for higher fuel efficiency standards, greater ethanol production, and making E-85 pumps widely available. Obama also urged US automakers to produce more flex-fuel cars that can run on blended gasoline. “It is time to install flex-fuel tanks on every car, and for government to cover this small cost.”
Source: Should Barack Obama Be President?, by Fred Zimmerman, p.44-5 , Oct 17, 2006

Renewable Fuels Standard: require ethanol in fuel supply

Obama will support requiring that 20% of the nation’s power supply comes from renewable sources like wind, solar, biomass & geothermal. He will increase CAFE to 40 mpg for cars. He will create a Renewable Fuels Standard that requires that a percentage of our fuel supply is provided by fuels such as ethanol. Oil companies should utilize the non-environmentally sensitive lands currently available. He will pressure the FTC to monitor oil mergers that decrease competition & increase the price of gas.
Source: 2004 Senate campaign website, ObamaForIllinois.com , May 2, 2004


Barack Obama on Voting Record

Passed tax credit for installing E85 ethanol at gas stations

Source: Campaign booklet, “Blueprint for Change”, p. 24-27 , Feb 2, 2008

Voted YES on removing oil & gas exploration subsidies.

Creating Long-term Energy Alternatives for the Nation (CLEAN) Act

Proponents support voting YES because:

This legislation seeks to end the unwarranted tax breaks & subsidies which have been lavished on Big Oil over the last several years, at a time of record prices at the gas pump and record oil industry profits. Big Oil is hitting the American taxpayer not once, not twice, but three times. They are hitting them at the pump, they are hitting them through the Tax Code, and they are hitting them with royalty holidays put into oil in 1995 and again in 2005.

It is time to vote for the integrity of America's resources, to vote for the end of corporate welfare, to vote for a new era in the management of our public energy resources.

Opponents support voting NO because:

I am wearing this red shirt today, because this shirt is the color of the bill that we are debating, communist red. It is a taking. It will go to court, and it should be decided in court.

This bill will increase the competitive edge of foreign oil imported to this country. If the problem is foreign oil, why increase taxes and make it harder to produce American oil and gas? That makes no sense. We should insert taxes on all foreign oil imported. That would raise your money for renewable resources. But what we are doing here today is taxing our domestic oil. We are raising dollars supposedly for renewable resources, yet we are still burning fossil fuels.
Status: Bill passed Bill passed, 65-27

Reference: Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation (CLEAN); Bill H.R.6 ; vote number 2007-226 on Jun 21, 2007

Voted YES on making oil-producing and exporting cartels illegal.

Voting YES would amend the Sherman Anti-Trust Act to make oil-producing and exporting cartels illegal. It would be a violation for any foreign state:
  1. to limit the production or distribution of oil & natural gas;
  2. to set or maintain the price of oil & natural gas; or
  3. to otherwise take any action in restraint of trade for oil & natural gas;
  4. when such collective action has a direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable effect on the market, supply, price, or distribution of oil & natural gas in the US.

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

Our NOPEC bill will authorize filing suit against nations that participate in a conspiracy to limit the supply, or fix the price, of oil. In addition, it will specify that the doctrines of sovereign immunity do not exempt nations that participate in oil cartels from basic antitrust law.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

No one likes OPEC. But this amendment, in my opinion, would make bad law. The Framers of the Constitution wisely assigned responsibility for formulating foreign policy and conducting foreign relations to the President and to the Congress, not to the law courts.

The amendment before us has its roots in a lawsuit filed by the labor union nearly 30 years ago. The union at that time charged OPEC with price fixing in violation of our antitrust laws. The trial court dismissed the case on the ground that OPEC members are sovereign nations and are immune from suit. Adopting the amendment will undoubtedly be very popular, but it is also very unwise.

In addition, we here in the Senate ought to consider how enactment of this amendment might affect our relations with OPEC members. What will be the international repercussions when the US starts awarding judgments against foreign nations and attaching their assets in this country? Will other nations start to view our trade policies--such as our nuclear trade restrictions--as violations of their antitrust laws?

Reference: NOPEC Amendment to CLEAN Energy Act; Bill S.Amdt.1519 to H.R.6 ; vote number 2007-215 on Jun 19, 2007

Voted YES on factoring global warming into federal project planning.

Amendment would require the consideration of global climate change, in planning, feasibility studies, & general reevaluation reports. Would require accounting for the costs & benefits from the impacts of global climate change on flood, storm, and drought risks; potential future impacts of global climate change-related weather events, such as increased hurricane activity, intensity, storm surge, sea level rise, and associated flooding; & employs nonstructural approaches and design modifications to avoid or prevent impacts to streams, wetlands, and floodplains that provide natural flood and storm buffers.

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

It just seems logical that we ask the Corps of Engineers to include in their analyses, judgments about the potential impact of global climate change. All this amendment seeks to do, as a matter of common sense, is to ask the Army Corps of Engineers to factor climate change into their future plans. Secondly, we are making a statement here to finally recognize the reality of what is happening with respect to climate change.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

The same people today who are saying we are all going to die from global warming, just back in the middle 1970s were saying another ice age is coming and we are all going to die. Which way do you want it?

If a surge of anthropogenic gases--this CO2, methane, or whatever it is--were causing a warming period, then around 1945 we would have a warming period because in the middle 1940s we had the greatest increase in greenhouse gases. But what happened? It did not precipitate a warming period.

Peer reviewed evidence shows that the sun has actually been driving the temperature change. You don't have to be a scientist to know that the Sun can have something to do with climate change.

Implementing Kyoto would reduce the average annual household income nearly $2,700, at a time when the cost of all goods would rise sharply.

Reference: Kerry Amendment; Bill S.Amdt.1094 to H.R.1495 ; vote number 2007-166 on May 15, 2007

Voted YES on disallowing an oil leasing program in Alaska's ANWR.

To remove the establishment of an oil and gas leasing program in the Alaskan Coastal Plain. The original bill allows for an oil and gas leasing program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Voteing YES on this amendment would remove that section, hence barring leasing in ANWR.
Reference: Bar Oil and Gas Leasing amendment; Bill S Amdt 2358 to S 1932 ; vote number 2005-288 on Nov 3, 2005

Voted YES on $3.1B for emergency oil assistance for hurricane-hit areas.

To provide for appropriations for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Vote on a motion to waive the Budget Act in order to adopt an amendment that appropriates federal funds for the LIHEAP program. A 3/5th vote is required to amand a budget bi
Reference: Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program appropriation; Bill S.AMDT.2033 to HR 2863 ; vote number 2005-250 on Oct 5, 2005

Voted YES on reducing oil usage by 40% by 2025 (instead of 5%).

Amendment to improve the energy security of the United States and reduce United States dependence on foreign oil imports by 40% by 2025. The amendment seeks to reduce usage by 7.6 million barrels of oil a day, out of a total usage of 20 million barrels of oil a day. The bill without amendment seeks to reduce usage by 1 million barrels of oil a day. Opponents of the amendment said, "It would be disruptive of jobs if you set a 78 mile per gallon CAFÉ standard for cars, a 185-percent increase; a 60 mile per gallon standard for trucks, light trucks, a 174-percent increase. [The unamended version] is more in keeping with President Kennedy's "man on the Moon" goal. [The amended version] is a "man or woman on Mars" goal, and maybe we will get there one day, but it is unrealistic today."
Reference: Energy Policy Act of 2005; Bill S.Amdt. 784 to H.R. 6 ; vote number 2005-140 on Jun 16, 2005

Voted YES on banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Vote to adopt an amendment that would strike a provision in the concurrent resolution that recognizes revenue from oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The amendment says: "To ensure that legislation that would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, other federal lands, and the Outer Continental Shelf to oil drilling receives full consideration and debate in the Senate under regular order, rather than being fast-tracked under reconciliation procedures; to ensure that receipts from such drilling destined for the federal treasury are fairly shared with local jurisdictions; and does not occur unless prohibitions against the export of Alaskan oil are enacted."
Reference: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge anti-drilling Amendment; Bill S AMDT 168 to S.Con.Res. 18 ; vote number 2005-52 on Mar 16, 2005

Sponsored bill for tax credit for providing 85% ethanol gas.

Obama sponsored for tax credit for gas stations providing 85% ethanol fuel

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: A bill to provide for Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) refueling capability at new and existing refueling station facilities to promote energy security and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. OBAMA: We have all heard from folks back home about the high price of gasoline. The bill I am introducing today is designed to do something about fuel prices and our reliance on foreign oil.

Last week, I visited a gasoline station in Springfield, IL, where along with regular gasoline, a new kind of fuel is offered for consumers--a fuel known as E-85. E-85 is a clean, alternative form of fuel consisting of a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Ethanol is made from renewable, Midwestern corn, and it is 40-60 cents cheaper per gallon than standard gasoline. Last week, at this Springfield station, regular gasoline was listed at $2.06 and E-85 was selling for $1.69.

Not every car can run on E-85 fuel--but there are millions of cars that can. They're known as "flexible-fuel vehicles," and the auto industry is turning them out every year. The only problem we have now is that we're in short supply of E-85 stations. While there are more than 180,000 gas stations all over America, there are only about 400 E-85 stations. And although E-85 has many environmental benefits and is a higher performing fuel, the fuel economy of E-85 is slightly lower than that of regular gasoline. An additional incentive is needed to help ensure that the cost of this clean fuel remains competitive with that of regular gasoline.

That is why I'm introducing a bill to provide a tax credit of 50% for building an E-85 fuel station and a tax credit of 35 cents per gallon of E-85 fuel. I think this bill gives us an opportunity to actually get something done about energy independence.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Finance Committee; never came to a vote.

Source: E-85 Fuel Act (S.918/H.R.3059) 05-S0918 on Apr 27, 2005

Sponsored bill to notify public when nuclear releases occur.

Obama sponsored requiring public notification when nuclear releases occur

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: A bill to require atomic energy plants to notify the Atomic Energy Commission, and the State and county in which a facility is located, whenever there is an unplanned release of fission products in excess of allowable limits.

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. OBAMA: It was recently announced by Exelon Nuclear that an environmental monitoring program discovered higher than normal concentrations of tritium in the groundwater near their Nuclear Generating Station. Indications are that this tritium plume is the result of an accidental radioactive wastewater release that occurred approximately 6 to 8 years ago. Community residents did not receive full or immediate notification of this contamination.

I was surprised to learn, that while Federal law requires notification immediately upon a "declared emergency," Federal law does not require notification of any other accidental, unplanned, or unintentional radioactive substance releases that may occur if those releases do not immediately rise to a public health or safety threat. And while those incidents must be documented with the NRC and made available to the public, accessing that information is contingent upon the public actually knowing that these incidents ever occurred.

When radioactive substances are released into the environment outside of normal operating procedures, notifying State and local officials should not be a courtesy; it should be the law.

It is reasonable--and realistic--for nuclear power to remain on the table for consideration. Illinois has 11 nuclear power plants--the most of any state. The people of Illinois--and all residents who live near nuclear power plants--have a right to know when actions are taken that might affect their safety and well-being.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar; never came to a vote.

Source: Nuclear Release Notice Act (S.2348/H.R.4825) 06-S2348 on Mar 1, 2006

Sponsored bill raising CAFE by a 4% per year until 2018.

Obama sponsored raising CAFE by a 4% per year until 2018

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: A bill to increase fuel economy standards for automobiles.

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. OBAMA: At a time when the energy and security stakes couldn't be higher, CAFE standards have been stagnant. In fact, because of a long-standing deadlock in Washington, CAFE standards that initially increased so quickly have remained stagnant for the last 20 years.

Since 1985, efforts to raise the CAFE standard have been stymied by opponents who have argued that Congress does not possess the expertise to set specific benchmarks.

To attempt to break this two-decade-long deadlock and start the US on the path towards energy independence, we introduce the Fuel Economy Reform Act of 2006. This bill would set a new course by establishing regular, continual, and incremental progress in miles per gallon, targeting 4% annually, but preserving NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) expertise and flexibility on how to meet those targets.

Under this system, if the 4% annualized improvement occurs over ten years, this bill would save 20 billion gallons of gasoline per year. If gasoline is just $2.50 per gallon, consumers will save $50 billion at the pump in 2018. By 2018, we would be cutting global warming pollution by 220 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent gases.

In order to enable domestic manufacturers to develop advanced-technology vehicles, this legislation provides tax incentives to retool parts and assembly plants. This will strengthen the US auto industry by allowing it to compete with foreign hybrid and other fuel efficient vehicles. It is our expectation that NHTSA will use its enhanced authority to bring greater market-based flexibility into CAFE compliance by allowing the banking and trading of credits among all vehicle types and between manufacturers.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Finance; never came to a vote.

Source: Fuel Economy Reform Act (S.3694) 06-S3694 on Jul 19, 2006

Rated 100% by the CAF, indicating support for energy independence.

Obama scores 100% by CAF on energy issues

OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 CAF scores as follows:

About the CAF (from their website, www.ourfuture.org):

The Campaign for America's Future (CAF) is a center for ideas and action that works to build an enduring majority for progressive change. The Campaign advances a progressive economic agenda and a vision of the future that works for the many, not simply the few. The Campaign is leading the fight for America's priorities--against privatization of Social Security, for investment in energy independence, good jobs and a sustainable economy, for an ethical and accountable Congress and for high quality public education.

About the CAF report, "Energy Independence: Record vs. Rhetoric":

Energy independence has surfaced as a defining issue in the current elections. Are most candidates and both parties truly committed? To help distinguish the demonstrated level of support for homegrown, clean energy alternatives, we examined the voting records of current U.S. Representatives and Senators on bills vital to promoting those interests. Key pieces of legislation included goals for independence, and subsidies for the development of alternatives compared to subsidies for drilling and digging. We then compared votes on these issues with campaign contributions from major oil interests. The results show strong inverse correlations between political contributions from big oil and votes for energy independence.

Source: CAF "Energy Independence" Report 06n-CAF on Dec 31, 2006

Sign on to UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Obama co-sponsored signing on to UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

Source: S.RES.30/H.CON.RES.104 07-SR30 on Jan 16, 2007

Designate sensitive ANWR area as protected wilderness.

Obama co-sponsored designating sensitive ANWR area as protected wilderness

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, DESIGNATION OF PORTION OF ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE AS WILDERNESS.

The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 is amended by adding at the end the following:

Designation of Certain Land as Wilderness- Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska comprising approximately 1,559,538 acres, as generally depicted on a map entitled 'Arctic National Wildlife Refuge--1002 Area. Alternative E--Wilderness Designation, October 28, 1991' and available for inspection in the offices of the Secretary, is designated as a component of the National Wilderness Preservation System under the Wilderness Act'.

Source: ANWR Wilderness Act (S.2316 ) 2007-S2316 on Nov 7, 2007

Set goal of 25% renewable energy by 2025.

Obama co-sponsored setting goal of 25% renewable energy by 2025

A resolution that it is the goal of the United States that, not later than January 1, 2025, the agricultural, forestry, and working land of the US should provide from renewable resources not less than 25% of the total energy consumed and continue to produce safe, abundant, and affordable food, feed, and fiber. [Governors also signed letters of endorsement at www.25x25.org]

Rep. SALAZAR: "Our resolution establishes a national goal of producing 25% of America's energy from renewable sources--like solar, wind and biofuels--by 2025. The "25x'25" vision is widely endorsed, bold, and fully attainable. If implemented, it would dramatically improve our energy security, our economy, and our ability to protect the environment.

"I am pleased that more than 20 of my colleagues in the Senate, from both sides of the aisle, are cosponsoring this resolution. In addition, the "25x'25" vision has been endorsed by 22 current and former governors and several State legislatures across the country. The Big Three automobile manufacturers--Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors--are all behind "25x'25" So are many agricultural organizations, environmental groups, scientists, and businesses, ranging from the Natural Resources Defense Council to John Deere.

"These Americans understand that we cannot continue to import 60% of our oil from foreign countries, many of which are hostile to the US, if we aim to be strong and secure in the world. They know that we will have to build a clean energy economy if we are to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. It is time for Congress to take a more active role in our clean energy future. Establishing a national goal--"25x'25" is the first step."

Source: 25x'25 Act (S.CON.RES.3 / H.CON.RES.25) 2007-SC03 on Jan 17, 2007

Let states define stricter-than-federal emission standards.

Obama co-sponsored allowing states to define stricter emission standards

A bill to permit California and other States to effectively control greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles, and for other purposes. Amends the Clean Air Act to approve the application of the state of California for a waiver of federal preemption of its motor vehicle emission standards.

Source: Reducing Global Warming from Vehicles Act (S.2555&H.R.5560) 2008-S2555 on Jan 24, 2008

Other candidates on Energy & Oil: Barack Obama on other issues:
Incumbents:
Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
2016 Democratic Candidates:
Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
Gov.Andrew Cuomo(NY)
Mayor Rahm Emanuel(IL)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)
Gov.Deval Patrick(MA)
2016 GOP Candidates:
Amb.John Bolton(MD)
Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Jon Huntsman(UT)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Rep.Peter King(NY)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rob Portman(OH)
Secy.Condi Rice(CA)
Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
Rep.Paul Ryan(WI)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
Donald Trump(NY)
2016 Third Party Candidates:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg(I-NYC)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Gov.Jesse Ventura(I-MN)
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families/Children
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Infrastructure/Technology
Jobs
Principles/Values
Social Security
Tax Reform
War/Iraq/Mideast
Welfare/Poverty

Page last updated: Mar 19, 2014