Host Tom Brokaw asked Gore why we should not have offshore drilling. Gore answered, “Well, we, we already have offshore drilling in the areas where it does make sense, and there are already leased lots and lots of other offshore sites that could be drilled in. There’s a shortage of drill rigs and engineers, and they’re, they’re, they’re going full out now. But the areas that are protected now are protected for a reason. The coastal economy has been hurt in the past by oil spills, and I think states like California should have the right to protect the, the areas that they know are in danger.
Brokaw followed up by asking if Florida approves it should they be allowed to drill. “I think that the areas that have environmental values and economic values connected to the environment at stake should be protected. And the larger reason why is even if they went in that direction, everybody acknowledges, it would have zero impact on gasoline prices or oil prices. It’s a drop in the bucket that would pose high risk of very important values. It wouldn’t even start until 10 or 15 years from now and would likely to be–likely be sold to China anyway. And going back over and over and over again to the old ways of the past just puts off the reckoning with the, the opportunity that we need to seize now to shift over to renewable sources of energy,” Gore said.
Gore is right. The oil probably will be sold to China or somewhere else, because I really don’t see the Republicans in Congress allowing a clause in any new offshore drilling contracts that states that the oil must be sold in the United States. In their eyes, that would an example of the government regulating a free market.
The truth is that offshore drilling is a campaign gimmick that no one on both sides of the aisle is serious about. Everyone knows that any large scale offshore drilling program would not impact the market for 10-15 years. Even Bush and McCain talk about the value of offshore drilling being psychological. As we have seen with the falling price of oil over this past week, gimmicks and mind tricks don’t help, but lowering demand does. The best way to get out of this crisis is to continue to lower our demand, and switch to alternative sources. That is Econ 101.