Jun 26 2013

CounterPunch: The Vacant Climate Plan

Yesterday, President Obama announced his new Climate Action Plan in a nationally televised speech.

He described the emerging climate crisis and its impacts–both past, present and future, while be suffered the heat of an abnormally warm June day in Washington, DC. His arguments for climate action were compelling and hard to argue with. Unfortunately his actions do not match his words.

Unlike Bill McKibben, I do not believe that “the solutions agenda [Obama has] begun to advance moves the country in a sane direction.” (Did you read the actual Climate Action Plan, Bill?!?) No, what I read in Obama’s Action Plan was a rehashing of the same old dangerous false solutions that many of us have been fighting for years and years. But what’s really criminal is that even though Obama clearly understands both the science and implications of climate change, he still pushes an agenda that will drive us all over the climate cliff.

First the plan’s “Case for Action” reiterates Obama’s pledge to decrease carbon emissions by a paltry 17% below 2005 levels by 2020–but only if all other major economies agree to do so as well. Climate scientists are not calling for 17% reductions by 2020. In fact, countries like the US need to reduce our emissions by 80-90%. And not in seven years, but immediately. Last year preferably.

The main takeaway from Obama’s horrific bit of greenwashed nonsense? We can continue our unsustainable way of life indefinitely with just a few key tweaks.

“Deploy clean energy.” Ain’t nothin’ clean about this. Obama’s “clean energy” plan includes more fracking, more oil, more nukes, more biofuels and “clean coal.” Yes, Obama wants to stop climate change by screwing over rural communities through promotion of more hydrofracking and increased natural gas exports; expanding domestic oil production–including the hellish Bakken shale oil fields (but don’t worry, it will be clean Bakken oil­–no really, that’s in there); devoting more land to growing feedstocks for plant-based liquid fuels (i.e. less land for biodiversity, growing food or for peasant communities to survive on); protecting forests that store carbon while cutting down trees to burn for electricity production; building more nuclear power plants (apparently never heard of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl or Fukushima); and maintaining the fantasy of that wonderful oxymoron “clean coal.” Sane direction?

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One response so far

One Response to “CounterPunch: The Vacant Climate Plan”

  1. Steve Hopkinson 27 Jun 2013 at 11:11 am

    You’re one of the few people not drinking the administration’s Kool-Aid. This is just another load of pretty B.S. thrown up to cover Obama’s real agenda in all this, which is to hand over the keys of America’s energy program to people like Dick Cheney, whose hands might as well be guiding the marionette strings coming out of his back. The “president” really doesn’t have a choice about pushing natural gas; he sold out to the oiligarchs while still a do-nothing Senator. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t scream at him about it and do everything in our dwindling power to make him and the rest of the gasoholic cabal wish they’d never been born. Indeed, part of what the moribund U.S. environmental movement needs — and in particular the fractured and chronically outclassed anti-fracking movement — is a significantly angrier soundtrack, not bogged down with insipid musical baggage from old, hippy-dippy environmental campaigns. Pete Seeger and his sweet, smiling ilk don’t cut through all the background noise any more. With that in mind, here’s a new American anthem guaranteed to stir the soul of any red-blooded environmentalist, as well as lure a few emotionally sensitive people over from the dark side. Feel free to use it. Scream your anger!