by Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project
During Obama’s State of the Union address last night the presence of the star of the reality TV show Duck Dynasty might have been the most real part of a very surreal evening.
Of particular note were Obama’s comments on energy and climate change.
While the US Southeast was being hammered by a highly unusual winter storm which stranded thousands in the metro Atlanta area, (no, this does not disprove climate change you nitwits, climate scientists have warned for years that a warming globe means extreme and unpredictable weather) Obama was proclaiming a desire to address climate change so that “when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, [we can say] yes we did.”
This sounds wonderful until we consider the “all of the above” energy strategy Obama touted earlier in the speech, which gives a nod to some of the dirtiest, most polluting and destructive energy sources. It includes shale oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota–the gas flares of which can be seen from space. This shale oil is so extremely volatile that in the past year two trains carrying bakken oil have exploded. It means more coal; it means more deep water offshore drilling of the type that caused the BP oil spill disaster. It means more nukes, even in the shadow of the ongoing catastrophe at Fukushima. And it means more fracking. Obama made a big show of his support for natural gas “if extracted safely,” which it is not.
Obama spent exactly one paragraph on climate change. He declared it a fact. That anyone even needs to do that in this day and age, decades after global warming was identified as a problem, after the Northeast US was smashed by not one but two hurricanes in two consecutive years, after Super-Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, after the record droughts in Australia, Africa and the US Midwest–to name just a few climate-related catastrophes of the past 8 years–is astounding. However, climate change is not only a fact. In my opinion it is the single greatest threat to future generations of humans and most other species. Yet it merited only a passing mention. One paragraph out of a 13 page speech.