In President Obama's speech from his desk the Oval Office on June 15, he tried to buck up an American public beleaguered by BP's oil disaster in the Gulf. He blamed BP for the debacle, called their safety practices "reckless" and promised to make company pay for the damage their activities have caused. While Obama blamed the right people, he should be aiming for a higher goal. He needs to push American citizens to embark on an entirely new approach to energy. Obama has frequently spoken of introducing new energy policies. He has mentioned the subject in close to a third of his speeches, but when discussing it he chooses well-known, vague, poll-tested rhetoric. In his June 15 speech, for example, he failed to promote a carbon dioxide tax, propose solid goals for the percentage of renewable energies used in the U.S., or provide details about any potential climate legislation. He avoids using the phrase "climate change" because he knows many citizens have a problem with it. But the real reason why BP and other companies are drilling at such fantastic ocean depths is that they are servicing America's greed for cheap energy to fuel 250 million cars, keep our air conditioners running and create fantasy cities in the middle of deserts. Shortly before BP's catastrophe in the Gulf, Obama even loosened regulations for coastal drilling. Americans constitute about five percent of the world's population, but consume 25 percent of the world's oil. Obama's speech was a lost an opportunity to push Americans to rethink their approach to oil. Instead, he preferred to stay vague and avoid charting a clear course to guide America out of its energy problem.
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