The Climate Action Plan that President Obama announced last year is full of good ideas, and his administration has already done more to address carbon pollution than any other has. Unfortunately, a hard look at the numbers shows that all this progress could be undermined by one bad choice -- expanding fossil fuel production.
President Obama isn't alone believing that the U.S. must have an all-of-the-above energy policy; slowly reducing our use of coal while heavily relying on natural gas and ramping up renewables. The Washington conventional wisdom argues the U.S. can't meet its energy needs, and reduce carbon emissions, without using natural gas as our primary energy source. This perspective has become one of the few points of agreement between Democrats and Republicans. (Although every time there's any disruption in the international oil market, Republicans reprise their "drill, baby, drill" refrain.) But there are problems with this perspective. History teaches that the conventional wisdom is often wrong and dogmatically clinging to it reduces opportunity, in the long run.