Obama Sets Energy Innovation as International Competition

I had the very good fortune to attend President Obama’s clean energy speech at MIT yesterday.  I was extremely excited to be in the room, yet left disappointed in the lack of new commitments and jingoistic tone set by President Obama.

The theme of the speech was innovation, geared toward the research oriented host, MIT.  Much was made of the pioneering identity of Americans, and our capacity for discovery and leadership.  The frontier for the 21st century is the transition to clean energy.  Obama expressed a certainty that the US has not lost its capacity to lead innovation, and that we can maintain world economic dominance by investing in clean energy.  He referred to clean energy as a “peaceful competition” that will determine the leaders of the global economy.  His belief that clean energy technology is the key to economic prosperity was inspiring and reassuring to me.

My concern is that the speech set Americans apart from the rest of the world in a competition, rather than affirming the need for global cooperation. Continue reading

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Fossil Fuel vs. Clean Energy Subsidies

Thanks to the folks at the Environmental Law Institute and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars for putting together a great graphic that shows the breakdown of Federal energy subsidies from 2002-2008 – and and props to David Roberts at Grist.org for drawing my attention to the report. The full report is titled “Estimating U.S. Government to Energy Sources: 2002-2008.” Read it if you want, but the graphic says it all:

Publicly Funding Climate Change