Obama: ‘Climate change sceptics = Flat Earth Society’

This did not make the news today in the UK but clearly should have done. Analysis by Brenden DeMelle is re-posted here from the DeSmog Blog: President Obama Pegs Fate of Keystone XL On Climate Change Impact; Slams Climate Denial Flat Earth Society “I refuse to condemn your generation, and future generations, to a planet that is beyond fixing. And that’s why today I’m announcing a new national climate action plan, and I’m here to enlist your generation’s help in keeping the United States of America a global leader in the fight against climate change.” President Obama stepped up his game today on the issue of climate change, committing to several strong actions to curb dangerous climate pollution from coal power plants, build resilient communities to deal with extreme weather events, and foster clean energy investments around the world. The speech was peppered with notable nods to the movement-building work undertaken by the environmental community, especially the clear shout-out to Bill McKibben and 350.org with the “invest and divest” line towards the end. And it was a rough day for climate deniers, who again took multiple shots to the chin from the commander in chief, who said he doesn’t have the “patience for anyone who denies that this problem is real. We don’t have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth society. Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer, but it’s not going to protect you from the coming storm.” [Salon.com notes the president of the actual Flat Earth Society accepts climate science, adding insult to injury for climate deniers.] But perhaps the most important thing the president did today was to confirm that the fate of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will be determined chiefly based on its climate impact – whether the pipeline will produce a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions – firmly cementing the issue of climate change as the central determining factor in the president’s mind. Here is what the president said:

I know there’s been, for example, a lot of controversy surrounding the proposal to build a pipeline — the Keystone pipeline, that would carry oil from Canadian tar sands down to refineries in the Gulf. The State Department is going through the final stages of evaluating the proposal. That’s how it’s always been done. But I do want to be clear. Allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation’s interest. And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.The net effects of the pipeline’s impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward. It’s relevant.

Powerful words from a powerful leader. Now let’s see how that all shakes out in reality. It’s too bad that the president pivoted from this great point on Keystone XL to bizarre and unfortunate cheerleading of natural gas fracking. But that’sanother story. What is clear from this moment forward is that if President Obama intends to hold true to his word, both today and in his prior climate change commitments, there is no way that he can approve Keystone XL. There will certainly be attempts by TransCanada and the State Department to waffle and pull technical backflips to claim that Keystone XL will not increase GHG emissions. But those would be extremely awkward public relations moves, with no basis in logic or fact. Of course Keystone XL will increase carbon emissions. Its sole purpose for existence is to connect Canada’s filthy tar sands with export markets in Asia, Europe, and South America, leaving behind a hefty dose of pollution to impact American communities along the Gulf coast’s refinery row. And this doesn’t even account for inevitable pipeline spills like the one in Mayflower, Arkansas that has created the first U.S. tar sands refugees who will never return to their homes thanks to toxic diluted bitumen flooding their neighborhood. The climate action community will surely remind the president of these facts repeatedly – you can’t be a leader on climate action if you’re a willing accomplice in accelerating the expansion of one of the largest carbon bombs on the planet. If President Obama’s words today are sincere, Keystone XL is doomed, as it should be.


About Rick Altman

Possibly just another 'Climate Cassandra' crying 'Wolf' in cyberspace. However, the moral of the old children's story is that the Wolf eventually turned up!
This entry was posted in Climate Science, Environment, Fossil Fuels, Politics, Scepticism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Obama: ‘Climate change sceptics = Flat Earth Society’

  1. “What is clear from this moment forward is that if President Obama intends to hold true to his word, both today and in his prior climate change commitments, there is no way that he can approve Keystone XL” Golly, I do hope you are correct in that prediction ….. but don’t hold your breath on that one! 😦


    • Rick Altman says:

      These are not my words, Paul; they are those of Brendan DeMelle. However, I agree with both of you – in that it should not be possible to conclude that the KXL can be built. Sadly, however, I think we are all probably right to be somewhat sceptical that the US State Department will find some way to justify KXL (probably by further reliance on CCS). Therefore, since Obama’s words raise expectations of his rejecting KXL, we must hope that this is neither naive nor cynical; we must hope that it is a ray of hope in the very myopic domain of modern politics.


  2. Patrice Ayme says:

    The non construction of XL will pretty much shut down the expansion of tar sands. As Quebec and british Columbia are blocking pipes… Obambi is finally doing something about so weakly called “climate change” the way I told him to do everything, namely, through executive orders. That would have had more impact 52 months ago, though! The problem in this world is that the USA has an impact incommensurate to its real power. That’s what leadership is all about, and that’s why all anti-Europeans call to be governed by washington (the DC, not the general). PA


  3. klem says:

    “If President Obama’s words today are sincere, Keystone XL is doomed, as it should be.” Um, you realize of course Marty that Keystone has been delivering oil to Illinois (Obama’s home state) for two years now right? I’d say his words are not sincere in any way really, but at least he threw you greenies a bone. Lol!


    • Rick Altman says:

      Thanks Klem. We are agreed about one thing then at very least. It’s just a shame that your position requires the vast majority of climate scientists to be either stupid, mistaken, or willfully deceitful …AND… that you appear to be trying to defend an obscurantist Establishment (i.e. the fossil fuel industry – the modern day equivalent of the medieval Catholic Church) from being challenged by the weight of scientific evidence that suggests it is misguided…


  4. Pingback: Another Week of GW News, June 30, 2013 – A Few Things Ill Considered

  5. Pingback: Another Week of GW News, June 30, 2013 [A Few Things Ill Considered] | Blog Submit

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s