August 19, 2015


Obama has decided that addressing climate change is one of his top three goals of his second term. To his credit, he has put forward an "historic" plan to reduce carbon emissions. It's "historic" because it goes further than other presidents. At least he's addressing it--the GOP can't even admit that climate change exists because as long as the problem doesn't exist, no solution is required. So if Obama is leading on climate change, and most scientists agree that 75% of fossil fuels need to stay in the ground to avoid the worst effects of climate change , why did he pair this slashing of carbon emissions with green lighting drilling in the Arctic? He's talking out of both sides of his mouth. The Department of Interiors has concluded that there's a 75% chance of a spill if drilling in the Arctic. And unlike the BP spill in the Gulf, there's no base of land nearby to even launch a clean-up effort from. And the same oil company, Royal Dutch Shell, had their drilling permit revoked in 2012 after a series of screw-ups in the Arctic. So Obama approves drilling for a company with a bad record in an area with a 75% chance of a spill and very limited ways to clean up the seemingly imminent spill? What a climate change champ!

I am sick of the narrative that the press has been handing us--that Obama is trying his best to overcome an obstructionist, racist Congress full of Republicans who hate him. Well, Republicans don't hate him on this drilling permit. And they gladly joined the president they swore to defeat on everything on his secret, job-killing TPP trade deal which he's still trying to ram through Congress. Obama is reaching across the aisle to join with Republicans despite all Democratic presidential candidates rejecting Arctic drilling. Even Hillary! Obama has also approved the 1st ever drilling in the Atlantic on an enormous corridor of the eastern seaboard from Florida all the way to Virginia. This is not a man concerned about the environment in any way.

Check out this exchange from the video embedded below. A representative from the Sierra Club is desperately, politely trying to understand why Obama, who is concerned about climate change, would do such a thing in the Arctic. I'm not affiliated with any organization so I can cut through the bullshit and tell you exactly why Obama is touting a reduction of carbon emissions while green lighting dangerous drilling. Someone's paid him to push policies which contradict his stated goals. Policies which are bad for the environment. The press has picked up on this dichotomy a little bit, and soon Obama will head to the Arctic for a press release. Rachel Maddow mentioned last night that this is a very awkward time for Obama to be visiting the Arctic for a climate change announcement, after giving his blessing to what may well destroy parts of the region. But for most, we'll just see a photo-op. and get this message. "Oh, there's Obama in Arctic. Oh, he's the first president to ever visit there. He must really care about climate change." And protesters seeking to protest his hypocrisy probably won't even be covered by the mainstream news media.

AMY GOODMAN: Why has the Obama administration given approval to Shell?
ATHAN MANUEL: Well, we can’t really figure that out. There’s no logical reason why this kind of president, one who cares about climate, one who inherited this problem from a Republican president, wouldn’t step in and say this is a terrible idea. It’s bad for our climate. It’s bad for the ecosystem there. It’s bad for marine mammals and fish. It’s bad for Alaskan natives who depend on the Arctic Ocean for their way of life and for subsistence. So it’s really a head scratcher. We can’t understand it. It’s completely inconsistent with what he’s done recently, when you look at the clean power plant rule, when you look—you talked about the methane regs that are going to come out today. This president has clearly attacked climate change and has made it a signature issue of his. And this decision to just not reconsider Shell’s drilling record and not consider how this drilling would impact the climate negatively really makes no sense. We can’t figure it out.