In his State of the Union speech to Congress on January 30th, President Donald Trump devoted only two sentences to energy issues: “We have ended the war on American Energy—and we have ended the war on beautiful clean coal. We are now an exporter of energy to the world.”
This is slightly disappointing, but what was more notable about the speech is that the President didn’t once mention global warming or climate change or renewable energy or wind and solar power. According to Michael Bastasch in the Daily Caller, this is the first state of the Union speech in eight years that didn’t mention global warming or climate change.
It’s also the first State of the Union in fourteen years that contained not a single word about renewable or alternative energy, according to the Washington Post. We have come a long way since President George W. Bush announced in 2006 that “America is addicted to oil.”
The Trump administration is dismantling nearly all of President Obama’s climate agenda, but it is worth noting that the policies advocated by President Bush are still with us. Here is the full passage from Bush’s state of the Union speech in 2006:
Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper and more reliable alternative energy sources. And we are on the threshold of incredible advances.
So tonight I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative—a 22 percent increase in clean-energy research at the Department of Energy to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants; revolutionary solar and wind technologies; and clean, safe nuclear energy.
We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We will also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn but from wood chips and stalks or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years.
Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.
The only things that President George W. Bush got right in this remarkably wrong-headed look into the future are that technology would solve the alleged problem and that oil imports from the Middle East could be reduced. The shale oil and gas revolution has achieved all that the idiotic polices promoted by the Bush administration and passed by the Congress have failed to achieve.
Unfortunately, many of those failed policies are still in effect. The biggest and worst is the Renewable Fuels Standard. Although President Trump supported the corn ethanol mandate in the campaign and continues to support it, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt this week acknowledged that the RFS was responsible for the recent bankruptcy of a Pennsylvania oil refiner and that the policy needs to be reformed.