“Go green” and “Drill, baby, drill” are conflicting slogans for environmentalists who want the United States to develop clean energy technologies and climate change skeptics who think increased domestic oil and gas production is the key to energy independence and economic growth. The truth is, both groups are right.
The U.S. needs to invest in clean energy, but these technologies will take time to develop, and the transition to clean power, whether it is wind, solar, or some new source, will be gradual.
As an intermediate measure, the U.S. needs to exploit our vast natural gas resources. Natural gas is not a permanent solution—it is not a “clean” fuel, but it is cleaner than oil and much cleaner than coal. And in the short run, we need to drill for as much domestic oil as possible. This needs to be done in a safe and environmentally responsible manner, but it should be done. As long as we are using petroleum, we should be ones profiting from it.
We should exploit our domestic energy resources even as we subsidize the development of new energy technology with a goal of phasing out coal, then oil, and finally natural gas over several decades. Of course, doing this would require a far-sighted national energy policy and cooperation between Democrats and Republicans—two resources that are truly scarce.