This is a response to this post.


I had the pleasure of appearing on PBS’ Charlie Rose last week for a wide-ranging conversation about climate change and how we can reinvent our energy economy with cap-and-trade. As Grist readers know, EDF has been pushing hard for a strong cap on greenhouse gases to fight global warming and help break our addiction to oil.

The headlines last week were dominated by a renewed debate over offshore drilling in response to skyrocketing gas prices, so it’s no surprise that our conversation turned to questions about domestic oil production. Charlie asked: Do we need to be drilling for oil in the short-term until we can get alternatives up-to-speed? My answer to Charlie: Yes, we will be drilling. That’s simply a recognition of current reality — oil companies have land under lease that they will exploit, both here and abroad.

But we reject the suggestion from the White House that we can drill our way out of our energy problems. Should we drill in ANWR and other environmentally sensitive areas? No, as I clearly stated on the show. Is lifting the ban on offshore drilling the right way to address rising gas prices? No. America holds about three percent of the world’s oil reserves. Bringing it to market would scarcely make a dent in the price of oil, and likely not for decades, according to the Energy Information Administration. What we need now are policies that reduce our oil dependence and create incentives for new energy sources that protect the climate. That’s precisely what a cap on global warming pollution will do: Cut our oil imports (by as much as $490 billion over the next two decades) and kick start the development of alternatives.