Because he told the plain truth.
For a start he said "oil is a finite resource". Code for "oil supplies will run down quite soon, which means that the price is going to head rapidly upwards. "For decades, we have known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered. For decades, we have talked and talked about the need to end America's century-long addiction to fossil fuels. And for decades, we have failed to act with the sense of urgency that this challenge requires. Time and again, the path forward has been blocked not only by oil industry lobbyists, but also by a lack of political courage and candour."
That is definitely fighting talk. And he said:
"As we speak, old factories are reopening to produce wind turbines, people are going back to work installing energy-efficient windows, and small businesses are making solar panels. Consumers are buying more efficient cars and trucks, and families are making their homes more energy-efficient."
He is sounding like Caroline Lucas MP. He is talking here about the Green New Deal, a concept that is as deeply rooted in US as in UK forward thinking politics. He makes seven references to clean energy in this short speech.
Let's be clear. There are six excellent reasons to make the transition away from oil and towards clean, renewable energy.
- The BP Oil Spill. Future oil is going to come from these deepwater sites, some in even more hostile waters, near the Malvinas. (So hostile in fact, that the UK Government cannot get round to building the harbour to service that field).
- Man-made climate change.
- Peak Oil.
- Energy security. Obama mentions that the US pays an eye-watering $1billion every day for its oil imports.
- The race for expertise in the field of renewable energy manufacture. And last but not least,
- Energy conservation will create much worthwhile employment, which will help the world to clamber out of recession.
So no wonder the pundits are dissing Obama's White House speech. He is signalling the end of the Oil Age, and the beginning of the Solar Age. The corporate overlords are looking at a change that they have been resisting for more than three decades.