Aggregator • Hyscience • ID=77062
Joel Gehrke, writing at The Examiner, apparently listened to at least most of Barack Obama's campaign speech at the University of Miami (Team Obama called it a speech on gas prices and energy policy), and counters some of Mr. Obama's campaign spin with the facts: Obama: Use 'algae' as substitute for oil:
President Obama admitted today that he does not have a "silver bullet" solution for skyrocketing gas prices, but he proposed alternative energy sources such as "a plant-like substance, algae" as a way of cutting dependence on oil by 17 percent.
investments in the development of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel that's actually made from a plant-like substance, algae -- you've got a bunch of algae out here," Obama said at the University of Miami today. "If we can figure out how to make energy out of that, we'll be doing alright. Believe it or not, we could replace up to 17 percent of the oil we import for transportation with this fuel that we can grow right here in America."
The Department of Energy (DOE) currently spends about $85 million on 30 research projects "to develop algal biofuels," according to the White House, which announced that Obama is committing another $14 million to the idea.
Obama did not say when he expected algae-based fuel to reach that level, but the federal government has a dodgy track record with respect to developing alternative vehicle fuels. Biodiesel, for example, accounted for less than 1 percent of the diesel fuel market as of 2008, according to the Energy Information Administration. And of course there's ethanol -- after four decades, tens of billions of dollars in subsidies, and draconian mandates that force it on unwilling consumers, ethanol was five percent of vehicle consumption (by volume) as of 2008. Although algae-to-gas is a very different idea, it is still in its early stages.
"We're not going to transition out of oil anytime soon," Obama added, before touting the record high domestic gas production right now and the agreement with Mexico to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, while still calling for expanded investment in alternative energy.
Oil industry leaders reject Obama's claim to have given significant support to oil production. "These have been the most difficult three years from a policy standpoint that I've ever seen in my career," Bruce Vincent, president of Swift Energy, an oil and gas company in Houston, said yesterday. "They've done nothing but restrict access and delay permitting."
Obama affirmed the need to protect the planet by developing clean energy alternatives, but The Washington Examiner's Michael Barone argues that he hasn't been consistent even on that front. "We've prohibited a pipeline, the safest way to transport oil, from Canada, but we're aiding Mexico in offshore drilling, which is riskier, and by a firm that lacks the experience of the U.S. firms we have been trying to prevent drilling in the same body of water," Barone wrote yesterday. "Does this make any sense at all?"As has become a trademark of Obama speeches, he began today's by a sarcastic attack on Republicans, this time using the lead of a story in the Obama shilling Politico to make his point:
"Last week, the lede of one news story said, 'Gasoline prices are on the rise, and Republicans are licking their chops,' Obama said, "That was the lede! Only in politics do people greet bad news so enthusiastically. You pay more, and they're licking their chops?"
that since it's an election year, they're already dusting off their three-point plans for $2 gas," Obama said, "I'll save you the suspense: Step one is drill, step two is drill, and step three is keep drilling. We heard the same thing in 2007, when I was running for President. We hear the same thing every year. We've heard the same thing for thirty years."Note that no where in the obviously anti-GOP Politico story is any Republican quoted as saying he's "licking his chops" ... that's merely the opinion of the author and given to make the Republicans sound overly political and only interested in gas prices as an excuse to attack Obama.... more