Obama’s climate legacy

2017-01-11

in Economics, Politics, The environment

The New York Times reports this as a section from President Obama’s farewell address:

Take the challenge of climate change. In just eight years we’ve halved our dependence on foreign oil, we’ve doubled our renewable energy, we’ve led the world to an agreement that (at) the promise to save this planet.

(APPLAUSE)

But without bolder action, our children won’t have time to debate the existence of climate change. They’ll be busy dealing with its effects. More environmental disasters, more economic disruptions, waves of climate refugees seeking sanctuary. Now we can and should argue about the best approach to solve the problem. But to simply deny the problem not only betrays future generations, it betrays the essential spirit of this country, the essential spirit of innovation and practical problem-solving that guided our founders.

Going right from “the challenge of climate change” to “halved our dependence on foreign oil” draws our attention to the weird dynamics of climate change politics.

U.S. oil and gas production has exploded because of fracking during the Obama years, but it’s dubious to claim that this is good from a climate change perspective. Huge new fossil fuel production is not good news.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

arche January 12, 2017 at 12:46 am

He mentions “peaceful protest” t0o.

Oleh January 17, 2017 at 1:01 pm

Obama seems to be the president that cared for and acted in improving the environment more than the nine presidents in my memory

Milan January 17, 2017 at 6:13 pm

He certainly adopted a lot of that rhetoric.

At the same time, he governed during the time when the threat from climate change has been clearest and the need to take action most pressing. He chose not to prioritize domestic carbon pricing legislation and encouraged a massive increase in U.S. oil and gas production.

I don’t think the future will remember any leaders from this era well. Collectively they will be seen as the people who could have acted to avoid enormous suffering in future generations but who chose not to do so. The other priorities which seemed more important to them will take on a different character when the massive and irreversible damage from climate change is being constantly experienced around the world.

. July 2, 2019 at 12:53 pm

OTTAWA — The Global Energy Monitor says an international boom in liquefied natural gas exports is undermining global efforts to stop climate change and Canada is one of the industry’s biggest players.

The report, released on Canada Day, says there are projects in development globally that by 2030 would increase natural gas supply to 806 million tonnes above what they are now.

Just over one-third of that development, 35 per cent, is in Canada. Only the United States, at 39 per cent, has more new natural gas exports in the works, the report says.

The Global Energy Monitor is an international non-governmental organization that catalogues fossil-fuel infrastructure.

The report says the increase in natural gas is driven largely by the North American fracking boom, which changed the industry about 11 years ago.

But it also says the investments are “on a collision course” with the goals of the Paris climate change accord.

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