President Obama’s announcement this that he’s banning offshore oil and gas drilling in 125 million acres of federal waters in the Arctic Ocean and 3.8 million acres in the Atlantic came as good news on the eve of the “drill everywhere” ethos of the Trump administration. But Obama’s proclamation didn’t go far enough – he should have followed the requests of West Coast elected officials and ruled the Pacific out of bounds as well. And he should have curtailed new wells in federal Gulf of Mexico waters too. It’s unclear why Obama limited his action, significant as it is, to the Chukchi Sea and a large portion of the Beaufort Sea, and to submerged canyons between Virginia and New England. A White House spokesman declined to discuss why the Pacific wasn’t included, and environmental activists say they haven’t received clear word from the administration. There is some speculation that because Big Oil hasn’t had its eyes on the West Coast recently (there have been no new leases in three decades, and no leases are available in the federal 2017-2022 drilling plan), there was little risk to protect it from, and that Obama chose to invoke the rarely used 1953 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act in as limited a way as possible. If so, as a strategy, closing off the Arctic and portions of the Atlantic could lead the oil-and-gas industry to look more closely at new operations off the West Coast. So, thanks, Obama. But even if the oil industry remains uninterested in the Pacific for the time being, sealing those federal waters off from future drilling would have amplified for the incoming administration that West Coast states don’t want offshore wells. It’s unclear how permanent Obama’s permanent ban can be. The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act allows a president to withdraw land from leasing consideration, but doesn’t define how a president may restore withdrawn lands, setting the stage for legal battles should the Trump administration try to undo Obama’s action. And that seems likely, given the climate change skeptics in the president-elect’s still-forming administration, and his own pronouncements about wanting to open more federal land to fossil fuel exploitation. To be sure, the steps Obama took were good ones. He spoke of the unusual and fragile natures of the Arctic ecosystem and the bio-rich Atlantic canyons, the latter adjacent to his recently designated 4,913-square-mile Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument southeast of Cape Cod. But California’s coast is no slouch of a natural resource either, and the 1969 Santa Barbara spill showed the nation how disastrous – and difficult – an offshore leak can be. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico reinforced the message. Beyond the environmental risk of spills, though, the nation – the world – needs to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources as quickly as possible if it is to stave off the worst of climate change repercussions from global warming. Despite the scoffing from Trump appointees, it is a real phenomenon and we are already experiencing some of the effects, from the shrinking Arctic ice cap and glaciers to shifting and more intense weather patterns to changes in species ranges, habitats, life cycles and accelerated extinctions. Obviously, we still are reliant on oil and shutting off the tap now would be disastrous economically. But if we’re to move away from petroleum in significant measures and at sufficient speed, we need to rely in part on market forces. If we buy the argument that costs affect consumption, making fossil fuels more expensive and renewables less expensive will hasten the transition and, with perseverance, perhaps stave off an epochal catastrophe.