A Wasted Moment on Climate

February 13.  I guess we’re supposed to be happy because in his State of the Union speech the president said the phrases “climate change” and “act before its too late”, but the measures he proposed are pitiful compared to the scope of the crisis.   His “All of the Above” energy/climate strategy calls for an impossible contradiction, modest measures to prevent wasting energy, cheerleading for wind and solar, but at the same time tearing the earth without limit in the hunt for fossil fuels.

It would have been a great moment to educate about the dangers of extracting the high carbon Canadian tar sands.  It would have been a great moment to announce permanent cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline.  He didn’t mention them at all.

He boasted about the drop in U.S. carbon pollution, but didn’t mention that it’s because companies have frakked the earth (without understanding how much methane we’re polluting) and brought out lots of new natural gas and made it cheaper to use than ultra carbon containing coal.  They didn’t cut back fossil fuel use.

Obama won’t even think about leaving fossil fuels in the ground. He boasts about how much oil we’re producing, how much natural gas.  “My Administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits,” he says.

Bold new ideas?  He mentions “market-based” solutions that he worked on years ago with Lieberman and McCain.  It’s the old “cap and trade” scam where the comapanies can merrily go on burning as much fossil fuels as they want as long as they have “offsets”, like supposedly preserving a forest in the Amazon, effects that NASA climate scientist James Hansen has said are “imaginary or ineffective “.  Watch Hansen explain the problem here in 2009.

The obvious capitalist way to get companies to reduce carbon is to put a tax on it, but Obama wouldn’t even mention it.

Stopping disastrous climate change means leaving $20 trillon dollars of fossil fuel in the ground and that’s not going to happen unless we realize we’re in an international climate emergency.

On to DC for the Demonstration to Stop the Keystone XL Climate Killing Pipeline.  For transport see www.350.org

What President Obama said about Climate Last Night

“After years of talking about it, we are finally poised to control our own energy future. We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years. We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas, and the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar – with tens of thousands of good, American jobs to show for it. We produce more natural gas than ever before – and nearly everyone’s energy bill is lower because of it. And over the last four years, our emissions of the dangerous carbon pollution that threatens our planet have actually fallen
But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Yes, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods – all are now more frequent and intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act before it’s too late.

The good news is, we can make meaningful progress on this issue while driving strong economic growth. I urge this Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.

Four years ago, other countries dominated the clean energy market and the jobs that came with it. We’ve begun to change that. Last year, wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let’s generate even more. Solar energy gets cheaper by the year – so let’s drive costs down even further. As long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy, so must we.

In the meantime, the natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. That’s why my Administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits. But I also want to work with this Congress to encourage the research and technology that helps natural gas burn even cleaner and protects our air and water.

Indeed, much of our new-found energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together. So tonight, I propose we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an Energy Security Trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good. If a non-partisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals can get behind this idea, then so can we. Let’s take their advice and free our families and businesses from the painful spikes in gas prices we’ve put up with for far too long. I’m also issuing a new goal for America: let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years. The states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make it happen.”

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