May 14, 2015

The bipolarism of Obama on #climatechange

On the one hand, he decries the House GOP, in committee, for cutting the budget for both NASA and the National Science Foundation, specifically, for cutting the earth sciences portion of that budget. If passed, of course, that would make it harder to study the effects of climate change.

On the other hand, he approves Shell drilling in the Arctic, he approves new Atlantic Ocean offshore drilling, and (though I have a somewhat different take from some enviros on Keystone XL), he hasn't indicated he'll deny that, at least.

As Bill McKibben notes:
This is not climate denial of the Republican sort, where people simply pretend the science isn’t real. This is climate denial of the status quo sort, where people accept the science, and indeed make long speeches about the immorality of passing on a ruined world to our children. They just deny the meaning of the science, which is that we must keep carbon in the ground.

It's arguably that, in some ways, Obama is less of an environmentalist than Shrub Bush. Certainly, if one sets aside golf, he's less of an outdoorsman.

But, climate change is more than "just" environmentalism and certainly more than "just" outdoors recreation. Besides feedback loops of warmer air holding more water vapor, itself a greenhouse gas, the global warming of climate change means more people using more air conditioning for more hours. If that AC isn't powered by renewable energy, then of course, there's yet more GHGs. In developing countries, it means using more AC powered by coolant gases that are themselves GHGs if they escape their tubing. 

And, with just one planet and one atmosphere, this is a globalization that trumps any free trade treaties.

If we're lucky, on Shell, maybe a federal court will find a way to block this, like courts are starting to do on coal mining permits in the West.

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