Archive for February 17th, 2013

by lizard

In both his inauguration speech and state of the union speech, President Obama talked about addressing climate change. He prodded Congress to find a “bipartisan, market-based solution” and indicated quite clearly that if Congress is not capable of doing it, then he would take executive action. What kind of action? This Politico piece highlights the hint dropped by Obama:

Obama said in his State of the Union address that he is prepared to take action if Congress doesn’t act, but he didn’t detail what that action might look like. He hinted during the chat Thursday that it could resemble what his administration did to require higher fuel efficiency standards in automobiles.

“The same steps that we took with respect to energy efficiency on cars, we can take on buildings, we can take on appliances, we can make sure that new power plants that are being built are more efficient than the old ones, and we can continue to put research and our support behind clean energy that is going to continue to help us transition away from dirtier fuels,” he said.

The recent flashpoint for climate change has been the opposition to the Keystone pipeline. The high profile arrests that happened last Wednesday included Montana writer Rick Bass.

Montana writer Rick Bass was in distinguished company Wednesday when he was arrested in front of the White House along with nearly 50 high-profile activists who demonstrated in opposition to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

Civil rights leaders and environmental activists like Robert F. Kennedy Jr., actress Daryl Hannah, writer Bill McKibben, social activist Julian Bond, former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass, and Sierra Club executive director Mike Brune were among the notable leaders who attended the peaceful demonstration. All were arrested for their display of civil disobedience.

After his arrest, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. had this to say:

ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR.: I think President Obama is going to kill the pipeline.

INTERVIEWER: Why do you say that?

ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR.: Because I think it’s the right thing to do, and I think he knows that. And I think he—you know, I think he has a strong moral core, and I think John Kerry does, too. And I think, ultimately, he would not do something that is—that is this catastrophic and irresponsible and reckless.

Obama’s appointment for Secretary of State, John Kerry, said recently a decision on the Keystone pipeline will be coming in the “near term”.

Pressure for action is building. Even the Government Accountability Office recently included climate change in its annual update of its High Risk Series report. That should inspire Congress to act, right?

As celebrities and professional climate activists generate headlines and momentum to kill the Keystone pipeline deal to transport tar sand gunk across America, there are those who remain critical of the allegedly corporate co-opted approach to climate change activism. One of those critics, Michael Donnelly, recently wrote an article titled Tweeting as the World Burns. This is how Donnelly concludes his article:

Before the astroturf Climate Movement was paid to never mention Consumption and to always tout fantasy energy solutions as the answer – said wind, solar, etc. fantasy energy being a tax swindle bubble that benefits the very corporations that fund this distraction, Bill McKibben wrote a great piece on Consumption. We’ve wasted crucial decades by not addressing and finding solutions to the real underlying cause – Consumption and Population. You have to go back to February 1985 to find a full month that was not warmer than the long-time norm. These corporate-sponsored diversions have cost us precious time; of which we have little.

I’ll predict right now that Obama will end up approving the pipeline with a slightly different “more ecologically-sensitive” route. It will be coupled with a Carbon Tax which will dedicate a large amount of the income to the “renewable” swindle. This package will be called a “major victory” by Big Green Central and the foundations’ billion dollar Climate Campaign. (Canada will succeed in getting any tax at the Tar Sands source tossed as an unfair restraint of trade – thank you neolib Free Trade agreements.)

A fellow activist notes, “That we’ve wasted time even talking about the pipeline is EXACTLY what the corporate masters who bought the environmental movement had hoped for. The pipeline has zero to do with what happens next, and they know it. They have to just wonder at the stupidity of so-called environmentalists — dumber than they even thought.”

Too harsh? Time will tell. And with patterns of warming happening faster than many scientists first predicted, we have less time than previously anticipated.

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