Regardless of their views on the scientific consensus, almost all agree that dependency on foreign oil bought from unstable countries is unwise.
No matter how Americans feel about the use of fossil fuels, many believe America must seek alternative, cleaner forms of energy for reasons of cost, supply and environmental responsibility. Solar, wind and nuclear top that list.
No matter how much Americans might want to jump from relying on finite fossil fuels to more infinite energy sources, logic follows that such a cosmic shift can't happen in a single leap. There must be a bridge from one to the other.
That is what the Obama administration is attempting to create with its proposal to open vast offshore tracks to oil and natural-gas exploration and drilling.
Many environmental groups are outraged, claiming President Obama has gone too far. Members of the "drill, baby, drill" wing of the Republican Party are outraged, claiming the president has not gone far enough.
From this page's perspective — and with the two extremes so upset — it is likely that the president's plan has struck a palatable compromise.
Environmentalists are right to be concerned about drilling. That is a serious matter, regardless of the location. The president has made it clear that exploration will be undertaken only after extensive study of the places where platforms will be put.
Moreover, most of the newly opened area has natural gas reserves, natural gas does not "spill," and it is the cleanest burning of the fossil fuels. Although drilling platforms were damaged in the last decade by hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast, there were no major spills.
The greater danger today is of an environmental disaster from the wreck of a tanker carrying foreign oil than from domestic off-shore drilling.
Two distinct parts of reasoning are behind Obama's plan: The nation will get new domestic energy supplies, and it will not be lulled into a false sense of energy security. The nation can't believe its energy needs are met and fail to seek new, non-fossil-fuel sources.
By opening up new tracts, oil companies and their supporters get something.
By requiring extensive studies before drilling, and by taking environmentally sensitive spots like Alaska's Bristol Bay off the list, environmentalists get something.
And by establishing a bridge between dependence on foreign oil and having domestic energy under our own control, Americans get something.
It looks like a good plan.