As we head into the general election, Barack Obama will have to address rising energy costs, at the pump and at the outlet. His campaign has already begun making the case that Obama has an “all of the above” energy policy, remaining open to all sources of energy in order to fuel the American economy. Team Obama even has a page on their website titled “All of the Above”:
Let’s take a closer look at that graphic, though. Notice anything missing from this “all of the above” representation?
Let me give you a hint. It’s dark, hard, comes out of the ground, and creates jobs for hundreds of thousands of Americans. That’s right — coal. But hey, that’s no big deal, right? We don’t rely much on coal in the US. Why, it only accounts for, er … 46% of all electricity produced in the US:
Coal provides 46 percent of U.S. electric power generation, providing power for more than 60 million homes and 3.4 million businesses. The U.S. uses 979.6 million short tons of coal to generate 1,850.8 billion kilowatt hours of electricity.
Direct and indirect employment generated by U.S. coal mining accounts for 555,270 jobs, for a combined payroll of $36.3 billion.
In fact, that Team Obama graphic is terribly misleading. According to EIA statistics for 2010, 88.3% of all electrical production came from coal, natural gas, and nuclear power. Wind only accounted for 2.3%, while solar power didn’t even account for enough for one decimal place, amounting to just 0.0294% of all electricity produced in the US for the year. Biofuels added 1.4%.
What this graphic says is that Obama sees no role for coal in America’s energy future. What will replace it, and when? Obama and his administration have already been conducting a war on coal for the last three years. If they drive coal out of business, there isn’t anything ready to replace it except perhaps natural gas — which the Obama administration has been blocking with new rules and restrictions on fracking. That means energy prices will necessarily skyrocket, with shortages, brownouts, and rationing the rule rather than the exception across the US. And let’s not forget the half-million people employed by the coal industry who will find themselves out of work, too.
The Obama idea of “all of the above” comes up significantly short of all. It’s why his energy policy doesn’t add up.