Meanwhile, it’s quite possible that the United States could be the Saudi Arabia of natural gas, with an estimated 100-year supply of the stuff, and more being discovered every day.
But what about global warming? Well, even if you agree that climate change is a real problem, the simple fact is that we’re stuck with fossil fuels for at least a generation longer, in part because “green energy” isn’t ready for prime time. Moreover, countries in the developing world will not significantly curb their emissions until they’re developed.
President Obama is fond of saying that we need to look to China’s example. They’re allegedly leading the way on solar and wind power. Maybe that’s true, though I think there’s a lot of hype there. But okay. What people leave out is that China is hardly curbing its fossil-fuel development.
Why can’t America have a similar do-it-all strategy?
As part of a grand bargain, the president could, in his State of the Union address, propose quintupling the amount of money we spend doing basic research on alternative fuels, the revocation of subsidies for the oil and gas industry, and a hike in the gas tax to pay for that infrastructure bank he wants. Throw in a ban on mountaintop-removal coal mining while he’s at it. All of this in exchange for creating good jobs here at home, lowering energy costs, reducing our reliance on foreign oil, and cutting the deficit.
Sure, the base of the Democratic party and the editorial board of the New York Times would scream bloody murder. But for a guy trying to get reelected, that’s a bonus.
— Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. © 2011 Tribune Media Services, Inc.