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Global energy superpower versus inward-focused fortress. It’s hard to believe these are the energy visions of Canada and the United States, and that it’s Canada that is going big, while the U.S. is going home.
But there you have it. After nixing the Keystone XL pipeline that would have imported lots of secure oil-sands oil from Canada, U.S. President Barack Obama made it abundantly clear in his State of the Union address that he wants a future based on U.S.-made energy, even if it takes subsidies to get there.
But not just green energy, which has been central to his energy vision in the past. He’s now embracing natural gas from shale, a fossil fuel deplored by his green constituents, but whose supplies are surging globally without his support, thanks to advancements made and funded by Big Oil, including Canadian companies and entrepreneurs.
“This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy,” Mr. Obama said in his Tuesday evening speech.
“A strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs. We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years.
“And my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy. Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade … The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don’t have to choose between our environment and our economy.”
Meanwhile, he made no mention of the just-as-significant technological revolution in the even-more-profitable tight oil side of the business, even though it’s also creating jobs, while reversing the decline of U.S. oil production and reducing oil imports. It seems oil, in Mr. Obama’s world, remains a Republican fuel.
“We’ve subsidized oil companies for a century,” he complained. “That’s long enough. It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that rarely has been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that never has been more promising.”
Canada, on the other hand, is embracing its inner oil and going global with it. Under the leadership of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, it is brashly branding itself “a global energy superpower.”
Joe Oliver, Canada’s natural resources minister, says people “raise their eyebrows when they hear that uncharacteristic Canadian assertiveness,” but he argues the facts speak for themselves.
“Energy is a big part of Canada’s advantage” he said in a recent speech. “Energy now accounts for close to 7% of the GDP. Its importance as an economic driver will only increase in the future — because this country is an energy superpower in every sense of the word.”
For the rest of this article, please go to the National Post website: http://business.financialpost.com/2012/01/25/obama-adopts-gas-for-future/?__lsa=5efa1d7b