By Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project
In Obama’s State of the Union Address yesterday he made mention of the need to “do more to combat climate change.” Unfortunately, as usual, no actual solutions were offered – just empty platitudes, dangerous false solutions and some downright bizarre logic.
Obama’s big idea to “combat climate change” is to use “market-based solution[s].” After all, there is a lot of money to be made from climate change, so why shouldn’t corporations profit from it? And besides, haven’t the markets been just great lately?
At the same time that he wants to combat climate change, however, he wants more “investments in American energy” – like fracking and offshore drilling.
“We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years…We produce more natural gas than ever before – and nearly everyone’s energy bill is lower because of it … my Administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits … much of our new-found energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together.”
In other words, Obama’s plan to deal with climate change is to exploit our public lands and waters for energy production–coal mining, fracking, oil drilling–fantastic!
And it gets better! “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.”
He wants to develop more oil and gas to fund ways to stop using oil and gas. And you thought Newspeak was dead…
Because after all, “Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer’s… Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race. And today, no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy.”
Unfortunately, many of the “renewable energies” being subsidized by the federal government are wreaking havoc around the world. Biofuel crops are leveling primeval rainforests, pushing Indigenous Peoples and peasants off of their lands, driving species to extinction and putting huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. Wood-based electricity production is also levelling forests, while driving development of genetically engineered trees to replace them–oh, and putting out more pollution than coal. And the list goes on and on.
So what is the real solution? Consumption reduction. In countries like the US where 5% of the global population uses 25% of the energy, there is clearly some room (lots and lots of room) for massive reductions in energy consumption.
For more on the dangers of so-called bioenergy, visit Biofuelwatch, the bioenergy section of this blog, the ETC Group or the Energy Justice Network. Just for a taste of what I’m referring to. Please get involved with groups doing the hard work of finding the REAL solutions to climate change. They’re out there and they need your help.
Obama is NOT going to do it for you.
But check it out for yourself:
Obama’s State of the Union Remarks on Climate Change and Energy:
Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer’s; developing drugs to regenerate damaged organs; devising new material to make batteries ten times more powerful. Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation. Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race. And today, no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy.
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.