'

Obama doubles down on renewables, energy independence

U.S. President Barack Obama today outlined a plan to reduce imports of foreign oil, ramp up domestic oil production, invest in renewable energy, and create a national energy standard.

The Republican Senate leadership is opposed to President Obama's call for investments in renewable energy.

U.S. President Barack Obama has refocused his administration’s efforts on achieving energy independence and made increasing low-carbon energy sources a top political priority.

The President outlined his agenda speaking at Georgetown University today , renewing the call for 80 percent of the nation’s electricity to be generated from renewable sources by 2035.

The White House is soliciting opinions on a national energy standard. To accomplish this, the administration is eying the creation of regional energy mixes in lieu of a one-size fits all style approach, according to reports.

Some elements of the strategy would include:

  • Discovering and producing cleaner, renewable sources of energy.
  • Making vehicles more efficient.
  • Increasing domestic oil production.
  • Reducing oil imports by one third within a decade.
  • More nuclear energy - keeping in safety in mind.

Pundits are observing that the President could be making support for clean energy development part of his platform for reelection.

"We cannot keep going from shock to trance on the issue of energy security, rushing to propose action when gas prices rise, then hitting the snooze button when they fall again," Obama said today.

In January, Obama pronounced that the United States was facing a “ Sputnik moment ” -- in green technology -- during his State of the Union address. China and Europe are gaining a foothold in the market, he stated.

Obama has neglected to mention climate change on several occasion - perhaps out of political posturing. Last month, several studies showed a link between human activity and extreme weather events.

Meanwhile, the political winds may not be at the administration’s back - despite the President’s call to action and appeals to national pride.

Senate Democrats have indicated that they would be willing to trade the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases for a budget compromise with Republicans. Republicans are seeking to prevent the EPA from implementing rules that were initiated by a Supreme Court ruling.

The Republican leadership is hardened against investing in future technologies, and is focused solely on the here and now – gas prices.

“The guy who's trying to make ends meet wants to know what you're going to do for him today, not 24 years from now," Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell told the Associated Press.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com