The central idea in Mr. Obama's speech is that we will reduce our oil imports by one-third in a decade. This is a gross distortion of reality. The truth is that our oil imports will be reduced automatically, whether we like it or not.
I used to read Jim Kunstler's blog religiously every week, along with many of the reader comments. I recently stopped, because a lot of his columns read the same, and the reader discourse veers wildly off-topic, into subjects of race, and well, race. It also took up too much time. But I found his latest blog via a link, and it's a great summation of the mistaken assumptions that many of us have about alternative fuels or so-called "green energy." The problem isn't so much that they don't work, but do they scale? What's meant by that is that while it may work well as a "science project" (to steal from Mr. Kunstler), would it work as well on a larger scale, like with millions of consumers using the fuel? That's where it gets muddy. The fact is all the alt-fuels that people usually think of just do not pack the punch that a barrel of oil does. They might work to provide energy, but not on the scale that we're used to. Anyone thinking that we can have Walmart and Disney World in a green energy economy will likely be sorely disappointed.
He also brings up what is known as the "export land model". What that means is that the countries that export oil to us are using much more of their own supply, even as their production is peaking and entering depletion. As the lowering production rate becomes more clear to these nations, do you think they'll still export oil to us and tell their own populace to go screw off? I doubt it.