Obama Will Continue Fueling the Fossil Fuel Addiction

It’s clear that President Obama will continue fueling our addiction to fossil fuels. While delivering a campaign speech in Cincinnati, Ohio on July 16, he proclaimed, “We’re going to invest in American energy…we want to continue to expand our production of oil and natural gas.” Obama touted the fact that oil production is “higher than it’s been in eight years” and natural gas production is “higher than it’s probably been in our lifetimes.”

Obama even went so far as to claim that “we’re moving in the right direction in terms of energy independence” and part of that is “this boom in natural gas.” We are “blessed with incredible natural gas resources that are now accessible because of new technologies,” he said. And Obama thinks that natural gas is an “ideal fuel” because it “burns cleaner than some other fossil fuels.” Ah Obama, natural gas is a fossil fuel, so it can never be an ideal fuel. An ideal fuel, after all, would not create greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Much of the natural gas we are now tapping in the U.S. is being drilled by a technique called hydraulic fracturing, or better known as fracking. Obama made it clear where he stood on fracking: “And the fact of the matter is that there are a lot of folks right now that are engaging in hydraulic fracking who are doing it safely.” But he pointed out that there are problems with fracking, and to him one of those problems is a lack of “clear guidelines for how to do it safely.” The other problem with fracking, according to Obama, is that the public needs to be informed about fracking so that “you can make sure that any industry that’s operating in your area, that they’re being responsible.”

There are other problems with fracking, and they pose big risks to the environment. The World Energy Outlook special report on unconventional gas by the International Energy Agency (IEA) published earlier this year found that unconventional gas operations like fracking have a “potentially larger environmental impact.” The reason being that unconventional resources such as shale are “less concentrated than conventional deposits and do not give themselves up easily.” That’s the reason why fracking is used.

The IEA cited several environmental concerns associated with fracking:

  • Depletion of freshwater resources
  • Possible contamination of surface water and aquifers
  • Local air pollution
  • Increase in GHG emissions, namely carbon and methane, which has a warming potential 23 times greater than carbon. Methane also contributes to smog formation

We need to get off our addiction to fossil fuels if we want to even have a chance to keep temperatures from rising above the 2 degrees Celsius rise climate experts recommend for maintaining life as we know it. Energy related carbon emissions, resulting from petroleum and natural gas, account for 82 percent of all the greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). If we greatly reduce the amount of fossil fuels we use to provide electricity to our houses and power our cars, we could greatly reduce our GHG emissions.

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Top 10 U.S. Species Threatened By Fossil Fuels

Photo credit: Flickr user, Jeremy Buckingham MLC


Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

federico bortoletto
federico b5 years ago

Grazie delle informazioni.

J.L. A.
j A5 years ago

What are the best strategies to get this administration to begin distancing themselves from the fossil fuel industry?

Roger M.
Past Member 5 years ago

Depressing, isn't it?

Still, the mind fairly boggles at what Mitt Romney has in store for the environment. So it's the lesser of two evils, I suppose.

Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 years ago

Thanks for sharing!

Deborah Vitek
Deborah Vitek5 years ago

First off, Steve R., if you vote for Romney you most certainly do not care at all for your children or their future.

The only worthwhile candidate for president is Jill Stein who is running for the Green Party, but not enough people will be brave and smart enough to vote for her. If things do not change vastly and quickly there will be no more quality of life in thirty years. If you are all happy being shut up inside with your electronic devices, bully for you, because that is all there will be. I thank goddess every morning and every night that I am old and will not live to see the completion of making humans nothing more than corporate slaves.

Steve R.
Steve R5 years ago

I guess it's because his naive promise of 500,000 new jobs (or was it 5 million?) from "clean energy" didn't materialize - in fact - it wasted billions of taxpayer dollars.

Of course, we have to remember that if he's re-elected, he'll have "more flexibility".

Know what that means? It means he can break any and all promises he's making now, just as he broke every promise he made in 2008!

And there are people out there that will actually vote for him!

Anastasiya James

One more thing: It doesn't matter who you vote for or what country you are in. It will always be the same - the corporations have power. The only thing that will work is boycott the companies - if this were possible. They have made it impossible with the structures that have been built - clue: long distance commuting is necessary. That is true in my country: Prime Minister Harper - owned by the corporations.

Monica D.
Monica D5 years ago

Use less fossil fuel ... we humans need to drive and fly much less. We must stop supporting the fossil fuel business.

Adam C.
Adam C5 years ago

Thank you for this article. Obama is a corporate shill, he works for Monsanto, BP, Citibank, Bank of America, Exxon Mobil, Chevron etc... not for us. Vote for Jill Stein.