Day in, day out, for two weeks dedicated and impassioned Americans of all creeds, races, (adult) ages, have made a choice that likely would have been thought unthinkable just less then three-years ago when President-Elect Barack Obama stated that climate change mitigation would be the top agenda item for his Administration: they have chosen to have themselves arrested and carted off to jail in the face of the President’s seeming weakening resolve to take climate change seriously in policy decision-making.
Despite many laudable steps — such as incorporating clean energy in the Stimulus Package, appointment of stellar people like Secretary of Energy Chu, and issuance of a Presidential Directive calling for sustainability planning in the Departments and Agencies — the President’s record relative to energy and climate change might most accurately be recorded as “Unsatisfactory” or, perhaps generously, “Incomplete”. (As Joe Romm concluded, inadequate energy and climate policies underpin the failed presidency of Barack Obama …) To emphasize that President Obama has been far better than George W. Bush is true but, well, does not begin to suggest that it is anything close to adequate in the face of our combined economic, energy, and environmental challenges.
To date, 706 people have been arrested outside the White House to seek to draw President Obama’s attention to the dire implications of Canadian Tar Sands and the need to start reining in Alberta’s environmentally disastrous fossil-foolish ways to have hope of checking climate chaos. As environmental journalist, activist, and 350.org founder Bill McKibben has phrased Tar Sands Action …
We have to find another currency to work in. Our currency is our bodies, our creativity, our spirit …
There are many arguments “for” the Keystone XL pipeline. In what should not be surprising, many of these to turn out to be hollow. For example, any argue that the pipeline will provide secure oil supplies for Americans. Oops, the plan is for the Keystone XL-derived oil to be shipped to foreign markets. In a related fashion, others argue about the importance for national security without addressing the very serious issue of oil pipelines becoming an ever-more tempting target for insurgents (including, well, armed militias) and terrorists around the globe. When it comes to environmental risks, the State Department’s examination essentially said that if the company does what it supposed to, then the environmental risks aren’t too serious. Hmmm … if the various involved parties had done what they were supposed to, then the risks of a Deepwater Horizon blowout wouldn’t have been too serious.
The arguments ‘for’, even more importantly, simply don’t stand up to the risks. As the nation’s leading climate scientist, Jim Hansen, who chose to have himself arrested, put it,
Exploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts.
Almost uniformly, those concerned about climate change and seeing the need to move forward aggressive with a clean energy agenda supported Barack Obama’s candidacy. With anti-science syndrome suffering rejection of climate change science a necessary qualification (or lack of qualification?) for any ‘serious’ candidate for the Republican nomination, it is hard pressed to see how any of these 2008 voters will turn out in droves for the Republican candidate come 2012. On the other hand, one has to wonder how hard people seeing the necessity of getting arrested outside the White House will work to assure President Obama’s election. One might ask if they will begin to conclude Presidentt Obama’s reelection campaign will get
MVANE – My Vote And Nothing Else
And the feeling inspired by action: joyful.