Oil Change International

Exposing the true costs of fossil fuels

State of our climate: Obama can’t have it both ways

“Climate change is a fact. And 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, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.”

-Barack Obama, January 28, 2014, State of the Union address

These words by President Obama could have been historic. They could have been words that signaled to the nation that he was going to lead it in a new direction, a direction that boldly brought us from the brink and into a safer climate future.

But unfortunately they won’t be seen as such. And here’s why:

“The “all the above” energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today America is closer to energy independence than we have been in decades.”

-Barack Obama, January 28, 2014, State of the Union address

That’s right. Just moments before uttering a rousing call to action on climate change, the President trumpeted his “All of the Above” energy policy. He went on in detail to promote the continued expansion of drilling for oil and gas using dangerous extraction procedures such as hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking)…all while ignoring the science that says we must leave more than two-thirds of existing fossil fuel reserves in the ground if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Headlines from reports directly after the speech painted the picture: Obama, in Speech, Defends ‘All Of The Above’ Energy PlanEnvironmentalists cringe as Obama touts oil and gasObama Praises ‘All-Of-The-Above’ Energy Strategy In 2014 State Of The Union…and the list goes on.

SOTU actionInstead of the rousing call to action on the greatest challenge of our generation that it could have been, what this speech will be remembered for is the President’s defense of disastrous energy policy that is doomed to fail.

The simple truth is that promoting All of the Above energy policy (nee “Drill, Baby, Drill”) is the latest form of climate denial. You simply cannot  believe the science of climate change and promote expanded fossil fuel extraction at the same time.

President Obama has a decision coming up that can help him change course. The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is a project that the President must reject if he is to live up to his climate action rhetoric.

As the activists who rallied outside the Capitol ahead of the  speech on Tuesday said, President Obama can be a pipeline President, or a climate champion. But he can’t be both.

Comments (11)

  1. Karen Graham says:

    We have to stop drilling for oil and gas using dangerous extraction procedures such as hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking)…all while ignoring the science that says we must leave more than two-thirds of existing fossil fuel reserves in the ground if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.Otherwise we leave our children with a wasteland with no water.

  2. Lynn Styles says:

    OH NO…Mr President…STOP ALL DRILLING AND FRACKING for the health of the planet and all living beings.

  3. I am a huge supporter of Pres. Obama, but I want to see more of a sense of urgency when it comes to decisions that will further affect climate change.

  4. Alison Halm says:

    Your policies will destroy our children’s environment! Have you SEEN Gasland??! If not, you should. Wind, solar, hydro, geothermal are where it’s at!

  5. Henry Schwan says:

    I am a big fan of the idea of Obama, but his real policies on energy, war, international trade and the environment leave very much to be desired.

  6. stephen sivonda says:

    After going to DC for two “Stop the KeystoneXL pipeline ” marches the last one being Feb 2013, the fact that he has not yet announced that he wouldn’t sign off on the Northern leg of the pipeline is truly a disappointment to me and thousands of other environmentalists.

  7. Bettina Zwerdling says:

    Obama will be remembered for exactly what he says he doesn’t want – that he DID NOT do anything significant about energy in his Presidency except for SAY that climate change is real. HE DOESN”T GET IT – for political reasons. He lacks leadership. To say he can’t get anything done with this Congress is not enough. In many key areas his ACTIONS are identical to GWBush and those that came before.He’s a tool of Wall Street and the system – not REAL Change and Hope. He truly doesn’t get it or is just playing in an ego trance. No Roosevelt who welcomes ‘their’ disdain & do what needs to get done, friend of the People.. He is either being personally threatened or he doesn’t care.

  8. Cynthia Lebuda says:

    As long as we have trash and decay we have to pump oil. The problem is getting it safely from point A to point B. Climate change is caused by more people moving closer to the North Pole than the South Pole, because there is no land at the South Pole. Maybe we need more condoms and less alcohol, and stop fussing about abortion. That way those ladies that think it’s a good idea for them selves to get an abortion, don’t wait so long, that the choice turns into an illegal action.

  9. Gloria says:

    I’m sick to death of our country only being led by corporate whores. We need to get OFF fossil fuels period, and tell the oil & gas industry to go suck off!

  10. Elaine Kurpiel says:

    Much as the gas companies want to make us believe that is it safer…in fact, it is not. It still requires fracking and all the chemicals and dangers and effects on water, health, people and their towns. We do not have a lot of time left but if we were to put a moratorium on fracking immediately, offer tax incentives for alternate energy and include only real energy in building offices or remodeling buildings..well we might be able to slow it down long enough to preserve a somewhat healthy planet for the future. If the future generations are your priority, you must also stop the XL Pipeline and stop TPP. Thank you.

  11. Pam says:

    It’s heartbreaking to see President Obama’s apparent indifference to our planet and our and it’s future. His energy policies have felt like a true betrayal (as has his lack of a spine on GMOs, Monsanto, net neutrality, the list goes on….) Please don’t allow more time to go by without establishing real policies to start growing alternative energy initiatives and to stop old oil travesties, beginning with the XL pipeline.