A Decade to End the Dependence

I just want to highlight the fact that Obama said this last night:

And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

The desire to truly repeat Kennedy’s call to reach the Moon within a decade has long been a dream of politicians, actual and fictional.

The end goal, in this case, is undeniably admirable (and politically savvy). It is somewhat broader than Gore’s call for clean electricity within the decade and more clearly beneficial to our economy and foreign policy than Bush’s call to reach Mars. As Obama says, it is securely at the nexus of economic, foreign policy, and environmental concerns. (I would also add humanitarian.) I’m sure I don’t need to rehash to this audience why such an action helps us reach major goals in each of these areas.

Only time will tell whether Obama will be able to do so. It is a major challenge. As Governor Schweitzer so entertainingly laid out on Tuesday, we currently consume 25 percent of the world’s oil output and only 3 percent of the reserves.

His strategy?

As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I’ll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I’ll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy — wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can’t ever be outsourced.

The $150 billion is a good start. Hopefully, in the near future, we’ll see more details.