Drill Baby Drill!

Ah, the memories of Sarah Palin. Still so painful.

And yet, despite what I had hoped were just memories, I've been seeing this a lot lately. It started with a few bumberstickers scattered around the US southwest - though, technically, they were "Drill Here, Drill Now" - and I didn't think much of 'em, since hey, I still see Gore/Lieberman bumberstickers.

But then I watched an hour of CNN and saw ads by BP, among others, talking about drilling in the continental shelf by way of energy independence. And then I heard Michael Steele (this guy, man, this guy) reiterating the catchphrase that he (apparently) coined.

So is it a good idea?

Well, it depends on what sort of idea you're looking for. If you're just looking for a way to get off foreign (especially Saudi) oil, then continental shelf drilling is a way, sure.

But given everything we know (and considering what this blog stands for), off-shore drilling doesn't really take care of anything else. Off-shore drilling goes beyond just reinforcing an old, bad habit - it actively delays the actions that we can and must take to prevent further climate change. The primary problem is that it moves us away from developing the kind of transportation that's going to make the difference - plug-in electric and hybrids - but I think there's a deeper problem, too.

Going for off-shore drilling sends a message that we aren't interested in something new. And that's the key issue.

Because Obama's not about to sanction off-shore drilling. As far as I've heard, it's not even on the table - it's just a grudge that oil companies and Republicans are holding on to.

But it's important because it keeps coming up, and public-relations people for oil companies are trying to get it into the minds of people. And if it sticks, then that may be a sign that there's still a ways to travel in terms of starting to tackle climate change.

That said, I haven't necessarily seen any evidence that anyone beside the die-hards and oil companies are interested in such a thing. But with ads running, it's something to keep an eye on.

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