Carbon offensive shifts to oil but spares natural gas

Aug. 12, 2013
Oil is next in US President Barack Obama's carbon offensive.

Oil is next in US President Barack Obama's carbon offensive.

With a regulatory barrage under challenge in court and Congress, the administration has been trying to slash coal combustion in the generation of electric power. Now the president is pulling oil—without natural gas—into the line of fire.

In a July 30 speech in Chattanooga, Tenn., he supported "accelerating our clean energy and natural gas revolutions." Then he declared: "Now is the time to double down on renewable energy and biofuels and electric vehicles and to put money into the research that will shift our cars and trucks off oil for good."

A state-centered campaign against carbon thus descends to the chemical level. Obama is picking energy winners on the basis of the carbon-hydrogen ratio. And he's doing it in his characteristically moralistic, divisive way: Gaseous hydrocarbons are good; solid and liquid hydrocarbons are bad.

"We need to keep creating good jobs in energy—in wind and solar and natural gas," he said in Chattanooga, not mentioning demon oil. "Those new energy sources are reducing energy costs. They're reducing dangerous carbon pollution. They're reducing our dependence on foreign oil."

Nonsense. Utter nonsense.

Gas cuts energy costs because it's cheap; solar and wind are expensive and subsidized and do nothing of the sort.

And the three energy forms Obama laughably calls "new" don't lower dependence on oil, little of which burns under boilers.

Furthermore, as Europe unravels the pet-fuel treats with which governments there have overburdened economies, the president of the world's top energy-consuming country at least should think twice before suggesting the US "double down" on the same foolishness.

Obama seems to want to draw natural gas into the economic death spiral he calls an energy program. If this represents a political stratagem, it won't work. The industry that produces the gas Obama likes also produces the oil he disparages.

The US needs less worry about carbon in relation to hydrogen and more about dollars in relation to btus.