Today in New Hampshire, Sen. Barack Obama announced a major policy initiative that he said would make the U.S. a global energy leader. His plan echoes those of the other Democratic candidates in the 2008 presidential election, all of whom push for an end to oil subsidies and a move toward alternative energies.
But the plan presents a problem for Obama (D., Ill.) because he voted for the controversial 2005 energy bill. The bill, which gave subsidies to oil firms, was described by Public Citizen as: "The best energy bill the corporations could buy." His support for this legislation -- and funding from energy companies in his campaigns -- calls into question his sincerity.
Energy advocates and candidates argue that U.S. dependence on oil has two negative effects. First, oil creates a security problem. Many nations with large oil reserves, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Venezuela, do not necessarily share our goals and interests. Second, a failure to diversify stymies scientific progress. Alternative energy could spur investment and create jobs, allowing America to take the lead in an important sector, as we have lead in information technology. Obama hopes to cure these problems. His plan would introduce a cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gases. He would invest $150 billion in energy over the next 10 years to make the U.S. a global energy leader. Finally, he wants to increase energy efficiency while reducing dependence on foreign oil.