The year is 2020. The United States is on the cusp of a golden age, there's peace in the Middle East, and the Texas oil tycoon is suddenly back in the saddle.

For many, this was the takeaway from the International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook, released last month. In its annual report, the Paris-based IEA predicted that the US will lead the world in both oil and natural gas production by the end of the decade, overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia, respectively. By 2035, the report says, the US should be "all but self-sufficient" in meeting its energy needs.

The news sent shockwaves across some corners of the media, prompting the Wall Street Journal to run an enthusiastic editorial titled "Saudi America." Using the IEA's projections as a springboard, the paper boldly declared that the world's next energy revolution will be powered not by solar, wind, or other renewables, but by fossil fuels.

"Historians will one day marvel that so much political and financial capital was invested in a green-energy revolution at the very moment a fossil fuel revolution was aborning," the article reads.

But in extolling the virtues of big oil and gas, the Journal appears to have overlooked the report's larger narrative. Because beneath the catchy headlines and snappy sound bites lies a more nuanced vision of America's long-term energy future — one that doesn't equate self-sufficiency with energy independence, and one that raises important questions about President Obama's agenda going forward. And at a time when economic competitors like China are surging ahead with renewable energy initiatives, some worry that a suddenly rejuvenated fossil fuel industry may quash the clean energy movement in the US.