Much of Barack Obama’s penultimate State of the Union address was about — and often made up of — hot air. But a facet of climate change, green energy, also figured largely in the speech. Which is not to say that the president was shy about taking credit for low gasoline prices. He was anything but, boasting that he was responsible for the booming oil and natural gas production that occurred last year:
We believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet. And today, America is number one in oil and gas. And thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards, the typical family this year should save $750 at the pump.
Gas prices have fallen more than $1.20 from one year ago, from $3.28 per gallon to $2.05 as of Tuesday, according to AAA Fuel Gauge. But they have fallen due to plummeting oil prices from high production levels and weaker demand. Much of the increase in global oil supplies, moreover, has come from hydraulic fracturing operations in the U.S., which Obama opposes and has fought against tooth and nail.
Since 2009, domestic oil production has gone from only 5 million barrels a day to more than 9 million barrels per day thanks to fracking and horizontal drilling. The U.S. is now set to overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer — the country has already beaten out Russia as the world’s top natural gas producer.
But virtually all of the increased oil and natural gas production has come from private and state lands, where Obama has no jurisdiction over approving drilling permits. Meanwhile, oil production on federal lands has floundered under Obama. From 2009 to 2013, oil production on federal lands fell by 11% and natural gas production fell by 28%. During that time, oil and gas production on state and private lands surged. Oil production on non-federal lands rose 61% and natural gas production jumped up 33%.
Obama has in the past bashed Republicans for arguing that drilling for more oil will lower gas prices — which is exactly what happened. Here is what he said in 2012:
And you can bet that since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their three-point plans for $2 gas, I’ll save you the suspense: Step one is drill, step two is drill, and step three is keep drilling. We heard the same thing in 2007, when I was running for president. We hear the same thing every year. We’ve heard the same thing for 30 years.
Well the American people aren’t stupid. You know that’s not a plan — especially since we’re already drilling.… You know there are no quick fixes to this problem, and you know we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.
But Obama didn’t just stop at taking credit for low gas prices: He also urged Republicans to drop their push to pass the Keystone XL pipeline — a pipeline that would bring oil sands from Canada to the Gulf Coast:
21st century businesses need 21st century infrastructure — modern ports, stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest internet. Democrats and Republicans used to agree on this. So let’s set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline.
Republicans are on the verge of passing a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which Obama has threatened to veto.
“Let’s pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more than thirty times as many jobs per year, and make this country stronger for decades to come,” Obama said.
Obama also took time during his speech to tout green energy production during his tenure.
“America is number one in wind power. Every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008,” Obama said.
But the truth of the matter is that 25% of wind turbine companies went bust in last two years. In North America alone, 18 suppliers failed or left the wind market as part of a “prolonged market contraction.”
As for solar energy, check the lengthy list of solar energy companies funded with billions in taxpayer dollars that went belly-up.
In a related theme, Obama said last night that global warming — not Islamic jihad — is the most compelling national security threat the nation is facing:
The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe.
The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.
Obama’s remarks come after a recent CNN poll saying that 57% of Americans don’t see global warming as a significant threat to their lives. Despite this, the Obama administration has been trying to tie global warming to national security for years.
Secretary of State John Kerry has sounded the alarm on global warming in many speeches around the world. Kerry has said that global warming is the “biggest long term threat” to the U.S.
National security experts have criticized claims that global warming will make the world a more dangerous place by increasing violent conflict and crime. A paper by the Marshall Institute found that environmental factors rarely incite conflict, but more often breed cooperation.
“2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record,” Obama told Congress Tuesday. “Now, one year doesn’t make a trend, but this does — 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century.”
Last year was declared the warmest on record, but only by 0.05 degrees Celsius.
There has also been no spike in climate-related disasters like hurricanes, typhoons and tornadoes that was predicted by climate scientists.
Environmentalists were encouraged by Obama’s remarks on global warming, while Republicans said his policies would raise energy prices and cause unemployment.
“President Obama made it clear that he intends to solidify the nation’s leadership on climate change,” said Dr. Andrew Steer, president of the World Resources Institute. “The Obama administration is primed to build on the progress over the past six years and bring countries together around a strong international climate agreement.”
“The President’s War on Fossil Fuels and nuclear energy is most evident in his unbridled mandates being issued by the EPA,” said Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe in a rebuttal to Obama’s speech. “The President’s climate agenda would only reduce CO2 concentration by less than one-half of a percent; it would only reduce the average global temperature by less than 2/100th of a degree; and it would only reduce the rise of sea levels by 1/100th of an inch – or the thickness of three sheets of paper.”
“In the meantime, the President’s agenda will cost our economy $479-billion dollars; we will experience a double-digit electricity price increase; and tens of thousands of Americans will lose access to well-paying jobs over the course of the next decade,” Inhofe said.
This report, by Michael Bastasch, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.