Ecocentric

Why Romney’s Energy Independence Pledge Is Half-Baked

Mitt Romney promises to make the U.S. energy independent by 2020 by increasing domestic oil and gas production. But without dealing with consumption, he's only tackling half the problem.

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Evan Vucci / AP

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign event at Watson Truck and Supply in Hobbs, N.M. on Aug. 23, 2012.

Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations, as he often does, has a level-headed take on Mitt Romney’s new energy plan. Romney announced in a policy paper (PDF) and a speech in New Mexico on August 23 that he would make America energy independent by 2020—or at least only dependent on North American sources—chiefly through streamlining new oil and gas exploration in the U.S. and supporting further development in Canada and Mexico. “This is not some pie-in-the-sky kind of thing,” Romney said in Hobbs, New Mexico. “This is a real, achievable objective.”

Levi noted that some of Romney’s plans—like shifting power over drilling from the federal government to the states and generally streamlining environmental reviews—made sense, and indeed would continue the growth of domestic oil and gas production that has occurred under President Obama, if not always because of him. But there are a few things missing, as Levi identified:

But the Romney plan promises far too much as a result of these policy shifts. It extensively cites recent Citigroup research to back up its claims its contention that North America could eliminate all imports by 2020 as well as to support its claims about jobs and economic growth. Yet that study is not just about oil supplies — it assumes that the United States will continue with strict fuel economy standards that lower its oil demand. Romney, though, has argued that such standards are the wrong way to go, and proposes no alternative scheme in his energy plan.

I’ve said it before—you can’t be serious about reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil unless you’re also serious about reducing U.S. consumption through energy efficiency and the cultivation of alternative sources. Romney—and indeed just about the entire Republican party—sees energy and oil only through the lens of supply. President Obama, to his credit, has tried to tackle demand as well, pushing through a long overdue increase in the automobile fuel efficiency standards. Romney has some smart ideas about increasing the impressive growth in domestic energy production, but that alone won’t make the U.S. energy independent—and it won’t do much to reduce the price of gas as long as we remain tied to the global commodity that is oil.

MORE: The Future of Oil

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Church State
Church State

The state of Utah (state headquarters of the LDS/Mormon Church and host state of Romney's 2002 Winter Olympics), has an aspiration to become the next Energy Capital/Headquarters of the United States (oil, gas, coal, wind, etc.) - probably by 2020.  This will not be possible unless Utah Senator Orin Hatch, Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert and other LDS faithful lawmakers have the advantage of re-writting all the federal rules in favor of making this dream come true.  A sample of what this energy related future may bring is Utah house bill HB 148 passed by the legislature earlier this year and signed by Governor Gary R. Herbert.  HB 148 is Utah's latest attempt to take control of Utah's federal lands.  This and other similar future movements will all be made possible through the work of Utah Senator Orin Hatch (a pioneer of states rights) and other LDS faithful lawmakers, (also talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh, and Glen Beck), and their big never ending push for states rights.  I personally find the dream plan quite disturbing and I am not really sure Mitt Romney has mine or your best interests in mind.

Scotty_A
Scotty_A

It is unclear whether Romney is just lying or if he is incompetent. He may be both. I don't consider him to be any better than Obama. This election is not that significant because both political parties are not offering up anything that will change how Congress acts. America survives despite the stupidity and corruption in Washington.

JustZap
JustZap

Time magazine aritcal is only thing half baked, Jews don't want to see US energy independent, cause they use USA as their surrogate army controlling the dumb democates 

vstillwell
vstillwell

Who cares about the truth? The sheep don't. 

JimPauley
JimPauley

Bryan, it’s encouraging to see the candidates addressing energy. However, as your article suggests, we're missing the boat if energy efficiency isn't part of the equation. A strong investment in energy efficiency needs to be part of our National Energy Policy, it's the world's quickest, cheapest and cleanest energy resource, will create jobs and make our nation more competitive. There are ways to do this today that all parties can agree to -- requiring no taxpayer dollars or appropriated funds. Energy savings performance contracts (ESPCS) are one of the best examples of how government and industry can come together to create jobs, upgrade our infrastructure and save energy. This simple strategy has a long history of success and every $1 billion worth of performance contracts leads to 11,000 jobs, according to the National Association of Energy Services Companies. We keep saying it’s a no-brainer, but we do in fact need the collective brains of government, industry, academia and the media to get this moving. Thanks for pointing out this important issue. -- Jim Pauley, Sr VP, External Affairs and Government Relations, Schneider Electric

Diana D. Hampton
Diana D. Hampton

Brazil vast oil discoveries are 4-5 times greater than the Saudi's. Colombia's oil prduction is close to that of Algeria or Lybia and A new find in Argentina moves your prediction out about 100 Years. http://Special4Projects.blogsp...

Guest
Guest

Brian, it’s encouraging to see the candidates addressing energy. However, as your article suggests, we're missing the boat if energy efficiency isn't part of the equation. A strong investment in energy efficiency needs to be part of our National Energy Policy, it's the world's quickest, cheapest and cleanest energy resource, will create jobs and make our nation more competitive. There are ways to do this today that all parties can agree to -- requiring no taxpayer dollars or appropriated funds. Energy savings performance contracts (ESPCS) are one of the best examples of how government and industry can come together to create jobs, upgrade our infrastructure and save energy. This simple strategy has a long history of success and every $1 billion worth of performance contracts leads to 11,000 jobs, according to the National Association of Energy Services Companies. We keep saying it’s a no-brainer, but we do in fact need the collective brains of government, industry, academia and the media to get this moving. Thanks for pointing out this important issue.

bdcstrong1
bdcstrong1

Don't forget "Climate Change" as we don't refer to the Al Gore; I invented the internet, Global Warming phrase anymore. Let's see, the climate has been changing for millions of years! What is wrong with giving the states back some of the power that has been taken from than by Washington? Ever heard of the Civil War, caused primarily by a struggle with states’ rights!

happydayfortennis
happydayfortennis

You should really think about starting a GOP bumper sticker company.

Steve Cowan
Steve Cowan

Energy independence can be achieved rapidly without drilling... just raise the taxes on gasoline amp; diesel fuel to match those in Europe.  Part of our troubles in the US has always been cheap fuel, and that led to large vehicles and lots of smog. And while you're at it, dedicate the tax revenues to infrastructure needs, ie road repair, bridge replacement, railroad lines, bus service, etc, etc, etc.

radeckd
radeckd

After reading Rana Foroohar's article in newest Time and Joe Klein's article from last week i finally canceled my Time subscritpion after 6 years. What a liberal Bs! See ya Time!!!

rokinsteve
rokinsteve

Great logic radeckd, If I don't like the Special of the Day at KFC does that mean it's liberal?  If I read the weather and don't like it is that liberal too?

ERenger
ERenger

The fact that the success of Romney's energy proposal would rely on Democratic policies that Romney does not support and most likely would work to undermine is not surprising. He does the same thing with Medicare and healthcare in general. He vows to repeal certain measures taken by the Obama administration, but his own plans rely on those measures remaining in place for his proposals to work. 

Cmdr_Casey_Ryback
Cmdr_Casey_Ryback

OWE-BAMA (D): FULLY-BAKED JOB-KILLER

OweBama (D) ATTACKS coal and oil for 3.5 years -- then suddenly has his picture taken in Okla.?

Who's the bigger PHONY? OweBama (D), of course.

At least Mitt is doing SOMETHING. Versus "community organizing" (i.e., ATTACKING workers).

Marcus Taylor
Marcus Taylor

Calm down "Cmdr", here are the FACTS;  As of December 2011, the number one EXPORT of the United States was, not Weapons or Machines of War.  No, our number one export was FUEL.  That's right, America's number one export is Gasoline, Fuel Oil, etc.  When China and Europe will pay $9-to-10 Dollars for a Gallon of Gas it makes sense to "Ship It Overseas".  Why do you think that CANADIAN PIPELINE fiaso happened?  They wanted to ship it across America, Refine it in the Gulf; and then Ship it Out.

I believe they call it CAPITALISM. 

I also believe that the FREE MARKET, isn't free.

Someone always PAYS!

How's that working out for ya and that $5 Dollar a gallon gas?

Shelbster
Shelbster

Kinda like Mitt wanted a photo op with the struggling farmers and he chose one who has 52 farms, is a multi millionaire, and owns his on carwash?

Oh and its President Obama. You don't have to like the man but you need to respect the office. 

Cmdr_Casey_Ryback
Cmdr_Casey_Ryback

BILLY 'BOMBER' AYERS

TONY REZKO

BLAG-O

DALEY MOB

BUNCH OF CROOKS AND BUMS (D)

charlie468
charlie468

Another great GOP bumper sticker strategy. Increase the supply, do nothing about consumption but somehow come to a balance. Sounds like the budget cut spending, keep all the services, do not increase taxes but magically come to a balance. This is all pure political BS

Cmdr_Casey_Ryback
Cmdr_Casey_Ryback

OWE-BAMA (D) IS B.S.

Why'd he go to Okla. to have his picture taken? Because he's a FRAUD.

SAVE YOUR JOB - VOTE MITT

Shelbster
Shelbster

oh and FYI.. Mitt is currently outsourcing Illinois jobs to China. 

MILAN
MILAN

“Nation that lead in Clean - Energy economy , will be Nation that lead in 21. Century Global  Economy”.

We have to care / worry what kind of world we will leave to our children and next generations...

 

Q: How many more years is estimate for extractable world's oil supply under current population  explosion and economic growth/ demand for oil...?

A: Maybe around 40 more years, and on  long term, it's sure that oil and natural gas supply will continue to diminish and price will  continue to increase, what can cause more world conflicts... 

 

The most important goal for Clean Energy is our FOREIGN oil independence !(  In 2011. our dependance on foreign oil was 45%,  for the first time in over decade).Other than that: to cut tax brakes for oil companies and  to stop oil market fraud;  Unfortunately, we have delay in Congress to pass a new energy tax  creditis ( some companies call this “ double taxations”)...

USA have 2% of oil world reserve, and we consume around 20% of it...probable 40% increase demand by 2030; “ We need  strategy that relies less on foreign oil and more on American-made energy – solar, wind, natural gas, biofuels, and more”.- Pr. Obama.

USA import 9,2 million barrel crude oil/day and produce  5,4 million barrel /day

( WP on  02.16.12.); I believe, it's important for our National security, to import this oil  from our friendly neighbor- Canada ( 24,4% is import right now and I gave my full support  to Keystone Pipeline...), from Brazil by 2015,  from Artic, with Mexico in Gulf...., than from  ex: Venezuela or Iran !

Conclusion: “ SMART MIX” of  CLEAN  E ( renewable, natural gas , nuclear power…)  and Energy STORAGE  technology( like Vycon ) are the best options

 for our future. 

 

StuartY
StuartY

You are woefully misinformed. The new updated energy estimates for fossil fuels are more like 100-200 years. 

Jürgen Hubert
Jürgen Hubert

That won't help a lot if extracting those fossil fuels will become increasingly expensive as time goes by - we would have to use up more and more energy to extract fossil fuels in the first place.

Better start looking for alternatives quickly - that will be much cheaper in the long run.

LarryK1964
LarryK1964

Lets see, you say we will run out in 40 years? Brazil vast oil discoveries are 4-5 times greater than the Saudi's. Colombia's oil prduction is close to that of Algeria or Lybia and A new find in Argentina moves your prediction out about 100 Years. "Peak Oil" was just a scare tactic put out by the same environmentalists that can't get thier facts straight about global warming.

I guess if you say it enough, it must be true.

Byst1nder
Byst1nder

Oil does not regenerate like forest or can be farmed like food. It is limited resource like Helium, which will vanish as time goes by.

We are focusing on energy independence and you've just mentioned ccountries outside of the us influence and control. What do you want to do, invade those countries so you can have their oil? Sheesh....

LarryK1964
LarryK1964

I'm all for renewables, I just don't think we need to wreak the world economy and the many advancements we've made by short changing oil.

I used to think we could do some type of "Manhattan" project for solar. Spend a couple billion dollars and perfect solar.  BUT instead of getting the country behind this type of effort, Obama gave his pals the money. They got rich, we got bubkis

TheUnrested
TheUnrested

Don't get all lost in the forest rambling on about peak oil and global warming.  Just focus on the fact that whenever you burn oil and other petrochemicals it produces toxic cancer causing substances that are extremely harmful to human beings.  Debunking "peak oil" will not magically make exhaust fumes less toxic, I promise.

Fatesrider
Fatesrider

 Saudi Arabia has no verifiable reserves.  They don't allow anyone to check what they say they have.  It's estimated they have 265 billion barrels left, and produce about 11 million barrels per DAY - a total of about 4 billion barrels a year.  That means they have about 66 years worth of oil left AT PRESENT CONSUMPTION.  The world consumes far more than Saudi Arabia is able to produce or supply (a total of about 88 million barrels per day or about 32 billion barrels a year).  If we went to the oil consumption level we had before the economic collapse (110 million barrels/day), the world's known supply of oil will be depleted by 2065.

Your figures are for U.S. consumption only at today's level - a common tactic used by the oil industry to dissuade people from conserving (which cuts into their profits) or advocating for alternative energy sources (which also cuts into their profits).

But the very bottom line here is that it's a LIMITED RESOURCE.  WE WON'T HAVE ANY MORE once it runs out.  Whether sooner or later, it's going to stop.  The sooner we get ourselves off of an oil-based form of energy and onto something far more sustainable, the less the economic impact will be later.

I don't understand why people think oil is such a good thing.  We can create a far more sustainable economy making and servicing the things that supply better forms of energy and employ a hell of a lot more people than the oil-based energy industry does.  From an economic point of view, it's a slam-dunk winner.  And the right-wing fights it tooth and nail - mostly because, IMHO, they're bought and paid for by the fossil fuel energy conglomerates.  We need to get off the oil merry-go-round because it's running our of grease.

Unless, of course, you like the idea of having your grand-kids living in caves.

Partha Deb
Partha Deb

That is the other side of the coin .