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Climate Change and Barack Obama's Legacy

By       Message Gaius Publius       (Page 1 of 5 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   17 comments

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Reprinted from Smirking Chimp


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"The question now is whether we will have the courage to act before it's too late." -- Barack Obama, 2013

This is another piece with not many pieces to remember. Unfortunately, though, the connections between the pieces I want to show you are actively obscured. My goals is to put all three pieces in front of you and let you see what they add to. It's not pretty.

My take-off point is something written by Farron Cousins at the excellent DeSmogBlog. But I want to use the version published at Naked Capitalism, including Jerri-Lynn Scofield's brief introduction. Please click through for the whole thing. I'm going to be selective so you can see what matters most with one glance.

Scofield's intro makes three points in succession:

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"[T]he US rise to the position of the world's third largest fossil fuel producer, [is] in part as a result of the fracking boom. While Obama and company have squawked about climate change, administration policy has actually fuelled that particular trend in fossil fuel extraction.

"The underlying New York Times article that sparked the author's post ... comprise part of the ceaseless drumbeat of legacy journalism as the Obama administration stumbles toward its finish line. Am I alone in being absolutely sick of these assessments, which serve to whitewash what has been a very sorry presidency for progressives, featuring a long litany of disappointments?"

That section contains the gist, the three pieces that I mentioned at the start.

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  • Under Obama, the U.S. has become a fossil fuel-producing giant.
  • Obama is making pro-climate noise and doing anti-climate deeds.
  • Obama current legacy quest requires he do both -- make the noise while doing the deeds.

What you see coupled in public are the legacy quest and the legacy words. What you see separately -- never connected to the others -- is the first point, fast-growing U.S. fossil fuel production, always touted as a plus. For example, Hillary Clinton put it this way in 2013, before she declared her candidacy, but after she left the State Department (emphasis added):

"In Oneida County, Hillary Clinton touts U.S. oil-and-gas production

"... Late into the lecture portion of Clinton's Oneida County appearance, she referenced a report that the U.S. in on track to surpass Russia in domestic oil-and-gas production.

"That's good news, Clinton said.

"'What that means for viable manufacturing and industrialization in this country is enormous,' she said to the crowd of 5,800 in Hamilton's athletic field house."

The sellers of oil and gas, companies richer than god, usually sell increased U.S. fracking and oil production as providing "energy independence," an appeal to patriotism bereft of real love of country (similar to the way Budweiser beer, owned by a Belgian company, is now marketed as "American").

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In the same sense that Budweiser is "American," support for increased U.S. carbon extraction is "patriotic." Budweiser is Belgian, and fossil fuel extraction will destroy us.

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A writer who contributes to a number of publications, including digby's Hullabaloo, Down With Tyranny, Naked Capitalism, Truthout and Alternet.

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