physicist and energy expert at University of Calgary | ??? Eli Kintisch Science magazine Remarks of President Barack Obama—As Prepared for DeliveryA Secure Energy FutureAs expected this policy announcement contains goodies for the oil industry and for those who want action on climate change On the downside one might complain that parts of this look like an incoherent hodgepodge of individual policies without strategy; on the upside one could argue that this is the beginning of serious action on energy policy that works deftly to triangulate between action on carbon emissions reduction and oil security concerns Thank you so much Thank you everybody (Applause) Everybody please have a seat Please have a seat It is wonderful to be back at Georgetown (Applause) We’ve got a number of acknowledgements First of all I just want to thank President DeGioia for his outstanding leadership here but also for his hospitality We also have here Secretary Steven Chu my Energy Secretary Where is Steven There he is over there (Applause) Secretary Ken Salazar of the Interior Department (Applause) Secretary Tom Vilsack our Agriculture Secretary (Applause) Ray LaHood our Transportation Secretary (Applause) Lisa Jackson our EPA Administrator (Applause) Nancy Sutley who is our Council on Environmental Quality director right here (Applause) A couple of great members of Congress — Congressman Jay Inslee of Washington Where’s Jay There he is over there (Applause) And Rush Holt of New Jersey is here (Applause) We’ve got — he didn’t bring the weather with him — but the mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa is in the house (Applause) Mayor Scott Smith of Mesa Arizona is here (Applause) And most importantly the students of Georgetown University are in the house (Applause) I want to start with a difficult subject: The Hoyas had a tough loss Coach (Laughter) Coach is here too and I love Coach Thompson I love his dad and the great tradition that they’ve had (Applause) And it turned out VCU was pretty good (Laughter) I had Georgetown winning that game in my bracket so we’re all hurting here (Laughter) But that’s what next year is for We meet here at a tumultuous time for the world In a matter of months we’ve seen regimes toppled We’ve seen democracy take root in North Africa and in the Middle East We’ve witnessed a terrible earthquake a catastrophic tsunami a nuclear emergency that has battered one of our strongest allies and closest friends in the world’s third-largest economy We’ve led an international effort in Libya to prevent a massacre and maintain stability throughout the broader region (Applause) And as Americans we’re heartbroken by the lives that have been lost as a result of these events We’re deeply moved by the thirst for freedom in so many nations and we’re moved by the strength and the perseverance of the Japanese people And it’s natural I think to feel anxious about what all of this means for us And one big area of concern has been the cost and security of our energy Obviously the situation in the Middle East implicates our energy security The situation in Japan leads us to ask questions about our energy sources In an economy that relies so heavily on oil rising prices at the pump affect everybody — workers farmers truck drivers restaurant owners students who are lucky enough to have a car (Laughter) Businesses see rising prices at the pump hurt their bottom line Families feel the pinch when they fill up their tank And for Americans that are already struggling to get by a hike in gas prices really makes their lives that much harder It hurts If you’re somebody who works in a relatively low-wage job and you’ve got to commute to work it takes up a big chunk of your income You may not be able to buy as many groceries You may have to cut back on medicines in order to fill up the gas tank So this is something that everybody is affected by Now here’s the thing — we have been down this road before Remember it was just three years ago that gas prices topped $4 a gallon I remember because I was in the middle of a presidential campaign Working folks certainly remember because it hit a lot of people pretty hard And because we were at the height of political season you had all kinds of slogans and gimmicks and outraged politicians — they were waving their three-point plans for $2 a gallon gas You remember that — “drill baby drill” And we were going through all that (Laughter) And none of it was really going to do anything to solve the problem There was a lot of hue and cry a lot of fulminating and hand-wringing but nothing actually happened Imagine that in Washington (Laughter) The truth is none of these gimmicks none of these slogans made a bit of difference When gas prices finally did fall it was mostly because the global recession had led to less demand for oil Companies were producing less; the demand for petroleum went down; prices went downThe price of a barrel of oil fell from about $130 to $40 over the course of 2008 It’s at $105 now Now that the economy is recovering demand is back up Add the turmoil in the Middle East and it’s not surprising that oil prices are higher And every time the price of a barrel of oil on the world market rises by $10 a gallon of gas goes up by about 25 cents The point is the ups and downs in gas prices historically have tended to be temporary But when you look at the long-term trends there are going to be more ups in gas prices than downs in gas pricesThe International Energy Agency thinks oil prices could double by 2035 to $200 a barrel And that’s because you’ve got countries like India and China that are growing at a rapid clip and as 2 billion more people start consuming more goods — they want cars just like we’ve got cars; they want to use energy to make their lives a little easier just like we’ve got — it is absolutely certain that demand will go up a lot faster than supply It’s just a factThis is a common turn of phrase that needs correction on two counts First it’s trivially wrong because supply and demand are balanced in a market with a freely floating price Of course consumers would like lower prices but that’s true at any level of supply Second it implies certainty about a resource-limited “peak oil” viewpoint There are good arguments to support this view but there are also good arguments on the other side that suggest that improved extraction technology will be able to keep supplying liquid hydrocarbons at roughly constant prices even as demand grows The owners of idled LNG terminals are all too painfully aware of the fact that a convergence of natural gas drilling technologies has brought shale gas to market at an extraordinary pace lowering gas prices even as demand grows Similar technologies may enable extraction of “tight” oil The unequal distribution of the remaining easy conventional oil—its concentration in the Mideast and Russia—raise profound security concerns Yet while oil grows scarcer the very abundance of fossil fuel resources poses a threat that is at least equally serious: the risk of climate change is rooted in the extraordinary abundance of fossil fuel resources and the growing ease with which our technology can exploit them The climate problem would look a lot easier if we were really going to run out of fossil fuels but we will not Worse without climate policy a shortage of easy oil will push us to heavy fuels and coal-to-liquids thus increasing emissions as oil supply gets tighter (See my essay “Dangerous Abundance” for a longer version of this argument) So here’s the bottom line: There are no quick fixes Anybody who tells you otherwise isn’t telling you the truth And we will keep on being a victim to shifts in the oil market until we finally get serious about a long-term policy for a secure affordable energy future We’re going to have to think long term which is why I came here to talk to young people here at Georgetown because you have more of a stake in us getting our energy policy right than just about anybody Now here’s a source of concern though We’ve known about the dangers of our oil dependence for decades Richard Nixon talked about freeing ourselves from dependence on foreign oil And every President since that time has talked about freeing ourselves from dependence on foreign oil Politicians of every stripe have promised energy independence but that promise has so far gone unmet I talked about reducing America’s dependence on oil when I was running for President and I’m proud of the historic progress that we’ve made over the last two years towards that goal and we’ll talk about that a little bit But I’ve got to be honest We’ve run into the same political gridlock the same inertia that has held us back for decades That has to change That has to change We cannot keep going from shock when gas prices go up to trance when they go back down — we go back to doing the same things we’ve been doing until the next time there’s a price spike and then we’re shocked again We can’t rush to propose action when gas prices are high and then hit the snooze button when they fall again We can’t keep on doing that The United States of America cannot afford to bet our long-term prosperity our long-term security on a resource that will eventually run out and even before it runs out will get more and more expensive to extract from the ground We can’t afford it when the costs to our economy our country and our planet are so high Not when your generation needs us to get this right It’s time to do what we can to secure our energy future And today I want to announce a new goal one that is reasonable one that is achievable and one that is necessary When I was elected to this office America imported 11 million barrels of oil a day By a little more than a decade from now we will have cut that by one-thirdFor some context: In 2006 President George W Bush declared that America was “addicted to oil” and set a goal of cutting Middle Easternoil imports by 75% by 2025 (Here was his plan to do so called the Advanced Energy Initiative) President Jimmy Carter had called for a massive cut in oil imports 35 years before But that call went unheeded as US imports have more than doubled since the early 1980s That is something that we can achieve (Applause) We can cut our oil dependence — we can cut our oil dependence by a thirdI am eager to see progress on electric vehicles and low-carbon alternative fuels It’s great to see an administration setting clear targets—though “a little more than a decade” gives much room to wiggle Meeting even this target will take fast work because there is a great deal of inertia in the energy system Change is slow because of inertia that arises from the coupling of long-lived refining and fuel distribution infrastructure with vehicles The average life span of a passenger car is ~13 years so even dramatic success in getting electric vehicles into showrooms by say 2015 will have little impact on fleet-average fuel consumption in a decade And passenger cars are only about 60% of transportation energy use; heavy-freight vehicles ships and aircraft turn over more slowly (See the Transportation Energy Data Book the best all-around source for such data) This is not an argument against action—change is necessary for many good reasons this speech describes—it’s just a cautionary note about speed Indeed the system’s inertia is an argument for early sustained action to meet climate and energy-security challenges My concern is that some of the things that could be done most quickly—conventional ethanol and increases in domestic oil supply—are the things with the least long-term benefit so that a narrow timetable approach could backfire The exception to this rule is probably fleet fuel-efficiency standards that can produce significant benefits quite quickly I set this goal knowing that we’re still going to have to import some oil It will remain an important part of our energy portfolio for quite some time until we’ve gotten alternative energy strategies fully in force And when it comes to the oil we import from other nations obviously we’ve got to look at neighbors like Canada and Mexico that are stable and steady and reliable sources We also have to look at other countries like BrazilRepublicans have fumed in recent days over Obama’s statement during his trip to Brazil this month that the United States intended to be a major customer of Brazilian oil They say the president is more supportive of Brazil’s domestic drilling agenda than his own nation’s Part of the reason I went down there is to talk about energy with the Brazilians They recently discovered significant new oil reservesSee here and we can share American technology and know-how with them as they develop these resourcesYesterday Energy Secretary Chu tried to clarify what the president meant Chu said that Obama "was in large part talking about partnering with Brazil in the development of their oil resources American companies have a lot of technical expertise in drilling oil especially deep-water oil" But our best opportunities to enhance our energy security can be found in our own backyard — because we boast one critical renewable resource that the rest of the world can’t match: American ingenuity American ingenuity American know-how To make ourselves more secure to control our energy future we’re going to have to harness all of that ingenuity It’s a task we won’t be finished with by the end of my presidency or even by the end of the next presidency But if we continue the work that we’ve already begun over the last two years we won’t just spark new jobs industries and innovations — we will leave your generation and future generations with a country that is safer that is healthier and that’s more prosperous So today my administration is releasing a Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future that outlines a comprehensive national energy policy one that we’ve been pursuing since the day I took office And cutting our oil dependence by a third is part of that plan Here at Georgetown I’d like to talk in broad strokes about how we can achieve these goals Now meeting the goal of cutting our oil dependence depends largely on two things: first finding and producing more oil at home; second reducing our overall dependence on oil with cleaner alternative fuels and greater efficiency This begins by continuing to increase America’s oil supply Even for those of you who are interested in seeing a reduction in our dependence on fossil fuels — and I know how passionate young people are about issues like climate change — the fact of the matter is is that for quite some time America is going to be still dependent on oil in making its economy work Now last year American oil production reached its highest level since 2003 And for the first time in more than a decade oil we imported accounted for less than half of the liquid fuel we consumed So that was a good trend To keep reducing that reliance on imports my administration is encouraging offshore oil exploration and production — as long as it’s safe and responsible I don’t think anybody here has forgotten what happened last year where we had to deal with the largest oil spill in [our] history I know some of the fishermen down in the Gulf Coast haven’t forgotten it And what we learned from that disaster helped us put in place smarter standards of safety and responsibility For example if you’re going to drill in deepwater you’ve got to prove before you start drilling that you can actually contain an underwater spill That’s just common sense And lately we’ve been hearing folks saying well the Obama administration they put restrictions on how oil companies operate offshore Well yes because we just spent all that time energy and money trying to clean up a big mess And I don’t know about you but I don’t have amnesia I remember these things (Laughter) And I think it was important for us to make sure that we prevent something like that from happening again (Applause) Now today we’re working to expedite new drilling permits for companies that meet these higher standards Since they were put in we’ve approved 39 new shallow-water permits; we’ve approved seven deepwater permits in recent weeks When it comes to drilling offshore my administration approved more than two permits last year for every new well that the industry started to drill So any claim that my administration is responsible for gas prices because we’ve “shut down” oil production any claim like that is simply untrue It might make for a useful sound bite but it doesn’t track with reality What is true is we’ve said if you’re going to drill offshore you’ve got to have a plan to make sure that we don’t have the kind of catastrophe that we had last year And I don’t think that there’s anybody who should dispute that that’s the right strategy to pursue Moreover we’re actually pushing the oil industry to take advantage of the opportunities that they’ve already got Right now the industry holds tens of millions of acres of leasesI don’t know enough about this to speak with confidence but with $100-a-barrel oil I am skeptical that the industry is sitting on many leases that represent good oil plays One can imagine many ways in which incentives to produce in places that are not now economic could be harmful where they’re not producing a single dropHere’s the report that lays out that case The industry says it plans to use the leases and that more lucrative areas in Alaska and the Gulf Coast should be made available They’re just sitting on supplies of American energy that are ready to be tapped That’s why part of our plan is to provide new and better incentives that promote rapid responsible development of these resources We’re also exploring and assessing new frontiers for oil and gas development from Alaska to the Mid- and South Atlantic statesObama’s emphasis on production in red states may seem like a new turn for him but he was mentioning domestic drilling even during the presidential campaign Still it was never this positive Plus many experts question the effect of domestic drilling on oil prices,brother of the Gengavelli MLA, create opportunities and impart skill sets so that we can be their catalysts for change and to help them build their brave new world. 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Onam became an occasion to recall the lost paradise and renew trust in an egalitarian utopia.but after water conservation in the mines, but a gulf of age-old conservatism separates it from villages like Fauzi Colony.Till yesterday, he says age may have affected his body but he is as fit as anyone to for wrestling. Middle class Indians complain loudly when Europeans and Americans do not give them the respect and honour they think they deserve.Express photo by : Subham Dutta. This kept him often away from Japan.
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