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President Obama addresses crowd at the University of Miami  
(Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)
President Barack Obama got Republicans dead to rights Thursday afternoon when he said they are "licking their chops" over rising gasoline prices. Rather than sympathy for consumers scraping by paycheck-to-paycheck, Republicans are gleeful at the pinched pocketbooks because they present a double-pronged political opportunity to blast the Democrats, Obama especially, and to pummel the public with yet another round of their standard "drill, drill, drill" approach to U.S. energy needs.
We heard the same thing in 2007, when I was running for President.  We hear the same thing every year. We’ve heard the same thing for thirty years.  

Well the American people aren’t stupid. You know that’s not a plan—especially since we’re already drilling. It’s a bumper sticker. It’s not a strategy to solve our energy challenge. It’s a strategy to get politicians through an election.

In the speech at the University of Miami, Obama credited his administration with a real strategy, one that focuses on increasing production of oil and natural gas, which has grown significantly in the past three years, but also a commitment to a diversified approach that includes a heavy commitment to the development and expansion of clean energy. He pointed to the requirement to greatly increase the fuel efficiency of automobiles and heavy trucks. He could also have spoken of other important steps in the right direction, too. Indeed, the administration has done more to promote the alternative energy than any president since Jimmy Carter more than three decades ago.

And there's more of it in the proposed 2013 budget. The Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would see an increase of $700 million to a total of $2.3 billion, if that budget had a chance of passing. It can be argued that the president's push for clean energy is the closest thing to an industrial plan the nation has had since World War II.

What was missing from the president's speech, however, was any mention of climate change.

(Continue reading below the fold)

That is no doubt an election-year strategy, too. Instead of muddying the message, the administration wants to stick to the clean-energy-as-jobs theme. It's a safe approach and accurate to be sure. Just as is reminding everyone, as Obama did, that oil and gas production is up.

But when the majority of GOP newcomers in the House of Representatives are climate-change deniers and even presidential candidates who once accepted climate change as real now take positions essentially no different than the one among them who openly calls it a hoax, the president should be using his masterful speech-making skills to explain how out of whack these stances are in the face of scientific evidence. How, in fact, the most important energy crisis we face is not $4- or $5- or $6-a-gallon gasoline, but rather the devastating atmospheric impact of continuing to burn fossil fuels. He could point to the irony that we are extracting more oil and gas from an Arctic that is melting as a partial consequence of burning those very fuels.  

Saying so would, of course, expose a weakness. Because the administration itself has thrown open vast new areas to exploration off-shore and in the fragile Arctic. Because the administration has opened up other lands to drilling of the fossil fuels that are adding, every year, year after year, more CO2 to an atmosphere already overburdened with such emissions. It has even opened up 7,400 acres of Wyoming’s Powder River Basin to the mining of more coal, the burning of which is not only a major contributor to our carbon emissions but lethal to thousands of people annually.

Building a clean-energy infrastructure, as Obama has been pushing for his entire term of office, would be a smart thing to do under any circumstances. Improving energy efficiency by requiring proper design of new and the retrofitting of old buildings makes economic sense. As does building vehicles—cars, trucks, locomotives, ships, airplanes—that burn less fuel and are capable of using alternative fuels, including cleanly-generated electricity. We should be doing these things anyway.

But given climate change, we must do them. We are already seeing the effect of climate change around the planet. We don't know how bad things will get, but we do know how to make them worse: staying on the path we're on.

We know that this is exactly what the Republicans (and some Democratic enablers) have in mind for us. Indeed, they would double-down. You would think they have no children or grandchildren.

Back in early 1981, when climate change was on scarcely anyone's radar, I was at the DOE's Solar Energy Research Center working for Denis Hayes. A report we had been eagerly awaiting for a year to see came out. The bottom line: By 2000, the report said, non-hydro renewables could provide 28 percent of the nation's electricity and fuel needs. Some government-funded research, some subsidies and a legal framework would jump-start the industry, providing a model for the rest of the world.

Ronald Reagan's Energy Secretary put that study in the circular file. And SERI's budget was cut from $341 million (in today's dollars) to $162 million in 1982. From there, things went from bad to worse.

Today, as a consequence of that malicious foolhardiness, the non-hydro renewables provide just 5 percent of the nation's electricity.

The switchover is more imperative now than ever, the consequences of failing to change far greater. President Obama may not be willing to make that case this campaign season. But he should take note that delay in dealing with climate change is just another form of denial.

•••

Text of the speech:

Hello, Miami!  (Applause.)  The U!  (Applause.) It is good to see all of you here today.  (Applause.)  

I want to thank Erica for that outstanding introduction. She said her parents were tweeting.  (Laughter.)  We’re so proud of you, Erica.

I also want to thank your president, this country’s former Secretary of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala.  (Applause.)  Senator Bill Nelson is here. Give him a big round of applause. (Applause.)  Former astronaut -- that’s too cool.  (Laughter.)  And my outstanding friend, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is in the house.  (Applause.)

It is good to be back in sunny Florida. (Applause.)  I must say I don’t know how you guys go to class.(Laughter.)  I’m assuming you do go to class.  (Laughter.)  It’s just too nice outside. But in another life, I would be staying for the Knicks-Heat game tonight -- (applause) -- then go up to Orlando for NBA All-Star Weekend.  (Applause.) But these days, I’ve got a few other things on my plate.  (Laughter.) Just a few.

I just got a fascinating demonstration of the work that some of you are doing at the College of Engineering.  (Applause.)And let me say at the outset, we need more engineers. So I could not be prouder of those of you who are studying engineering.

It was fascinating stuff.  I understood about 10 percent of what they told me.  (Laughter.)  But it was very impressive.  (Laughter.)  And the work couldn’t be more important, because what they were doing was figuring out how our buildings, our manufacturers, our businesses can waste less energy.  And that’s one of the fastest, easiest ways to reduce our dependence on oil, and save a lot of money in the process and make our economy stronger.

So some cutting-edge stuff is being done right here at the U.  (Applause.)  Now, that’s what I’m here to talk about today.  In the State of the Union, I laid out three areas where we need to focus if we want to build an economy that lasts and is good for the next generation, all of you.  (Applause.)  We need new American manufacturing.  We’ve got to have new skills and education for America’s workers, and we need new sources of American-made energy.

Now, right now we are experiencing just another painful reminder of why developing new energy is so critical to our future.  Just like last year, gas prices are climbing across the country.  This time, it’s happening even earlier.  And when gas prices go up, it hurts everybody -- everybody who owns a car, everybody who owns a business.  It means you’ve got to stretch a paycheck even further.  It means you’ve got to find even more room in a budget that was already really tight.  And some folks have no choice but to drive a long way to work, and high gas prices are like a tax straight out of your paycheck.

I got a letter last night -- I get these letters, 10 letters every night that I read out of the 40,000 that are sent to me.  And at least two of them said, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to keep my job if gas prices keep on going up so high, because it’s just hard to manage the budget and fill up the tank.  A lot of folks are going through tough times as a consequence.

Now, some politicians they see this as a political opportunity.  I know you’re shocked by that.  (Laughter.)  Last week, the lead story in one newspaper said, “Gasoline prices are on the rise and Republicans are licking their chops.”  (Laughter.)  That’s a quote.  That was the lead.  "Licking their chops."  Only in politics do people root for bad news, do they greet bad news so enthusiastically.  You pay more; they’re licking their chops.

You can bet that since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their 3-point plan for $2 gas.  And I’ll save you the suspense.  Step one is to drill and step two is to drill. And then step three is to keep drilling.  (Laughter.)  We heard the same line in 2007 when I was running for President.  We hear the same thing every year.  We’ve heard the same thing for 30 years.

Well, the American people aren’t stupid.  They know that’s not a plan, especially since we’re already drilling.  That’s a bumper sticker.  It’s not a strategy to solve our energy challenge.  (Applause.)  That’s a strategy to get politicians through an election.

You know there are no quick fixes to this problem.  You know we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.  If we’re going to take control of our energy future and can start avoiding these annual gas price spikes that happen every year -- when the economy starts getting better, world demand starts increasing, turmoil in the Middle East or some other parts of the world -- if we’re going to avoid being at the mercy of these world events, we’ve got to have a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy.  Yes, oil and gas, but also wind and solar and nuclear and biofuels, and more. (Applause.)

We need to keep developing the technology that allows us to use less oil in our cars and trucks, less energy for our buildings and our plants and our factories -- that’s the strategy we’re pursuing.  And that’s the only real solution to this challenge.

Now, it starts with the need for safe, responsible oil production here in America.  We’re not going to transition out of oil anytime soon.  And that’s why under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.  That’s why we have a record number of oilrigs operating right now -- more working oil and gas rigs than the rest of the world combined.

Over the last three years my administration has approved dozens of new pipelines, including from Canada.  And we’ve opened millions of acres for oil and gas exploration.  All told we plan to make available more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico.

Last week, we announced the next steps towards further energy exploration in the Arctic.  Earlier this week, we joined Mexico in an agreement that will make more than 1.5 million acres in the Gulf available for exploration and production, which contains an estimated 172 million barrels of oil and 304 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

So we’re focused on production.  That's not the issue.  And we’ll keep on producing more homegrown energy.  But here’s the thing -- it’s not enough.  The amount of oil that we drill at home doesn’t set the price of gas by itself.  The oil market is global; oil is bought and sold in a world market.  And just like last year, the single biggest thing that’s causing the price of oil to spike right now is instability in the Middle East -– this time around Iran.  When uncertainty increases, speculative trading on Wall Street increases, and that drives prices up even more.

So those are the biggest short-term factors at work here.
Over the long term, the biggest reason oil prices will probably keep going up is growing demand in countries like China and India and Brazil.  I want you to all think about this.  In five years, the number of cars on the road in China more than tripled -- just in the last five years.  Nearly 10 million cars were added in China in 2010 alone -- 10 million cars in one year in one country.  Think about how much oil that requires.  And as folks in China and India and Brazil, they aspire to buy a car just like Americans do, those numbers are only going to get bigger.

So what does this mean for us?  It means that anybody who tells you that we can drill our way out of this problem doesn’t know what they’re talking about, or just isn’t telling you the truth.  (Applause.)

And young people especially understand this, because I think -- it's interesting, when I talk to Malia and Sasha -- you guys are so much more aware than I was of conserving our natural resources and thinking about the planet.  The United States consumes more than a fifth of the world’s oil -- more than 20 percent of the world's oil -- just us.  We only have 2 percent of the world's oil reserves.  We consume 20; we've got 2.

And that means we can’t just rely on fossil fuels from the last century.  We can’t just allow ourselves to be held hostage to the ups and downs of the world oil market.  We've got to keep developing new sources of energy.  We've got to develop new technology that helps us use less energy, and use energy smarter. We've got to rely on American know-how and young engineers right here at the U who are focused on energy.  (Applause.)  That is our future.  And that’s exactly the path that my administration has been trying to take these past three years.

And we’re making progress.  That's the good news.  In 2010, our dependence on foreign oil was under 50 percent for the first time in over a decade.  We were less reliant on foreign oil than we had been.  In 2011, the United States relied less on foreign oil than in any of the last 16 years.  That's the good news.  And because of the investments we’ve made, the use of clean, renewable energy in this country has nearly doubled -– and thousands of American jobs have been created as a consequence.

We’re taking every possible action to develop, safely, a near hundred-year supply of natural gas in this country -- something that experts believe will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade.  We supported the first new nuclear power plant in three decades.  Our cooperation with the private sector has positioned this country to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries that will power the next generation of American cars -- that use less oil; maybe don't use any oil at all.

And after three decades of inaction, we put in place the toughest fuel economy standards in history for our cars and pickup trucks -– and the first standards ever for heavy-duty trucks.  And because we did this, our cars will average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade.  That's nearly double what they get today.  (Applause.)

Now, I remember what it was like being a student.  You guys probably have one of those old beaters.  Who knows what kind of mileage you guys get.  (Laughter.)  I can tell you some stories about the cars I had.  I bought one for $500.  (Applause.)  But by the middle of the next decade, you guys are going to be buying some new cars -- hopefully sooner than that.  And that means you’ll be able to fill up your car every two weeks instead of every week -– something that, over time, will save the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump.

And it means this country will reduce our oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day.  That's not only good for your pocketbook, that's good for the environment.  (Applause.)

All right, but here's the thing -- we've got to do more.  We've got to act even faster.  We have to keep investing in the development of every available source of American-made energy.  And this is a question of where our priorities are.  This is a choice that we face.

First of all, while there are no silver bullets short term when it comes to gas prices -- and anybody who says otherwise isn't telling the truth -- I have directed my administration to look for every single area where we can make an impact and help consumers in the months ahead, from permitting to delivery bottlenecks to what’s going on in the oil markets.  We're going to look at every single aspect of gas prices, because we know the burden that it's putting on consumers.  And we will keep taking as many steps as we can in the coming weeks.

That's short term.  But over the long term, an all-of-the-above energy strategy requires us having the right priorities.  We've got to have the right incentives in place.  I'll give you an example.  Right now, $4 billion of your tax dollars subsidize the oil industry every year -- $4 billion.  They don't need a subsidy.  They're making near-record profits.  These are the same oil companies that have been making record profits off the money you spend at the pump for several years now.  How do they deserve another $4 billion from taxpayers and subsidies?

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Preach it, Mr. President!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s outrageous.  It’s inexcusable.  (Applause.)  And every politician who’s been fighting to keep those subsidies in place should explain to the American people why the oil industry needs more of their money -- especially at a time like this.  (Applause.)  

I said this at the State of the Union -- a century of subsidies to the oil companies is long enough.  (Applause.)  It’s time to end taxpayer giveaways to an industry that has never been more profitable; double down on clean energy industries that have never been more promising -- that's what we need to do.  (Applause.)  This Congress needs to renew the clean energy tax credits that will lead to more jobs and less dependence on foreign oil.

The potential of a sustained, all-of-the-above energy strategy is all around us.  Here in Miami, 2008, Miami became the first major American city to power its city hall entirely with solar and renewable energy.  Right here in Miami.  (Applause.)  The modernization of your power grid so that it wastes less energy is one of the largest projects of its kind in the country. On a typical day, the wind turbine at the Miami-Dade Museum can meet about 10 percent of the energy needs in a South Florida home, and the largest wind producer in the country is over at Juno Beach.  Right here at this university, your work is helping manufacturers save millions of dollars in energy bills by making their facilities more energy efficient.  (Applause.)

So a lot of work is already being done right here, just in this area.  And the role of the federal government isn’t to supplant this work, take over this work, direct this research.  It is to support these discoveries.  Our job is to help outstanding work that’s being done in universities, in labs, and to help businesses get new energy ideas off the ground -- because it was public dollars, public research dollars, that over the years helped develop the technologies that companies are right now using to extract all this natural gas out of shale rock.

The payoff on these public investments, they don’t always come right away, and some technologies don’t pan out, and some companies will fail.  But as long as I’m President, I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy.  Your future is too important.  I will not -- (applause) -- I will not cede, I will not give up, I will not cede the wind or the solar or the battery industry to China or Germany because some politicians in Washington have refused to make the same commitment here in America.

With or without this Congress, I will continue to do whatever I can to develop every source of American energy so our future isn’t controlled by events on the other side of the world. (Applause.)

Today we’re taking a step that will make it easier for companies to save money by investing in energy solutions that have been proven here in the University of Miami -- new lighting systems, advanced heating and cooling systems that can lower a company's energy bills and make them more competitive.

We’re launching a program that will bring together the nation’s best scientists and engineers and entrepreneurs to figure out how more cars can be powered by natural gas, a fuel that’s cleaner and cheaper and more abundant than oil.  We’ve got more of that.  We don’t have to import it.  We may be exporting it soon.

We’re making new investments in the development of gasoline and diesel and jet fuel that’s actually made from a plant-like substance -- algae.  You’ve got a bunch of algae out here, right? (Laughter.)  If we can figure out how to make energy out of that, we’ll be doing all right.

Believe it or not, we could replace up to 17 percent of the oil we import for transportation with this fuel that we can grow right here in the United States.  And that means greater energy security.  That means lower costs.  It means more jobs.  It means a stronger economy.

Now, none of the steps that I’ve talked about today is going to be a silver bullet.  It’s not going to bring down gas prices tomorrow.  Remember, if anybody says they got a plan for that -- what?

AUDIENCE:  They're lying.

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m just saying.  (Applause.)  We’re not going to, overnight, solve the problem of world oil markets.  There is no silver bullet.  There never has been.

And part of the problem is, is when politicians pretend that there is, then we put off making the tough choices to develop new energy sources and become more energy efficient.  We got to stop doing that.  We don't have the luxury of pretending.  We got to look at the facts, look at the science, figure out what we need to do.

We may not have a silver bullet, but we do have in this country limitless sources of energy, a boundless supply of ingenuity, huge imagination, amazing young people like you -- (applause) -- all of which can put -- all of which we can put to work to develop this new energy source.

Now, it’s the easiest thing in the world to make phony election-year promises about lower gas prices.  What’s harder is to make a serious, sustained commitment to tackle a problem.  (Applause.)  And it won’t be solved in one year; it won’t be solved in one term; it may not be completely solved in one decade.  But that’s the kind of commitment we need right now.  That’s what this moment requires.

So I need all of you to keep at it.  I need you guys to work hard.  I need you guys to dream big.  I need those of you who are a lot smarter than me to figure out how we’re going to be able to tap into new energy sources.  We’ve got to summon the spirit of optimism and that willingness to tackle tough problems that led previous generations to meet the challenges of their times -– to power a nation from coast to coast, to send a man to the moon, to connect an entire world with our own science and our own imagination.

That’s what America is capable of.  That's what this country is about.  And that history teaches us that whatever our challenges -– all of them -– whatever, whatever we face, we always have the power to solve them.

This is going to be one of the major challenges for your generation.  Solving it is going to take time; it’s going to take effort.  It’s going to require our brightest scientists, our most creative companies.  But it’s going to also require all of us as citizens -- Democrats, Republicans, everybody in between –- all of us are going to have to do our part.

If we do, the solution is within our reach.  And I know we can do it.  We have done it before.  And when we do, we will remind the world once again just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest country on Earth.  (Applause.)  

Thank you, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless America.   (Applause.)

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 01:43 PM PST.

Also republished by Progressive Policy Zone and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I really wish we could focus on what IS said (28+ / 0-)

    and not what ISN'T said.

    Looks like a great speech to me, so let's celebrate what's in it.

  •  To me, that's just the nature of politics. (22+ / 0-)

    You can make the case for clean energy without invoking climate change, and then if the president is reelected and manages to get an energy bill passed, then reduced greenhouse gas emissions will certainly be a consequence.  Framing it in the context of job creation is, as you say, a better election year strategy.

    It's really the braindead media's fault that even science-savvy politicians can't bring up climate change, because you almost always hear the word "controversial" in any sentence with "climate change" in it.  It's the whole "both sides" paradigm that treats everything Republicans say as a legitimate viewpoint, despite the reams of science to the contrary.

    •  We need the Congress as well (5+ / 0-)

      Climate Change doesn't sell with this Congress, we need to regain control and then whip the caucus. Waiting on D.C. to do things isn't serving us well. We see from the Occupy movement what needs to be done.

      "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

      by sebastianguy99 on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 02:16:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're right, we do. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fcvaguy, elwior, MrSandman, sebastianguy99

        If we manage to regain the House this November and re-elect the president, we'll have more moderate/conservative Dems from swing districts, and it will be easier for them to vote for a clean energy package in the jobs context than in the climate change context.  Same thing with moderate Republicans like Snowe and Collins in the Senate.  It's not logical, but I think this is definitely the path of least resistance.

    •  the decision to talk only about clean energy (12+ / 0-)

      and not about climate has been made by the White House, not by the media. That's been confirmed to me by a progressive member of Congress, and is pretty obvious to me on WH conf calls.

      The world is on pace for 11 degrees F warming. Nothing else in politics matters. @RL_Miller

      by RLMiller on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 02:30:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe I did not articulate (6+ / 0-)

        my point clearly enough.

        It's very much the media's fault that voters do not view the topic of "climate change" as positively as they do "clean and renewable energy."  The former is viewed as "controversial" by the media, and the latter is not.  Politicians react to this environment by choosing to campaign on the latter rather than the former.  No doubt the White House chose to use this kind of language, but in a raw political sense, they are doing what they think will earn them the most votes.

        On the bright side, a focus on "clean energy" rather than "climate change" has a similar consequence:  a reduction in greenhouse gas emission.  So even while the language used is overtly political, the end result is mostly the same.

    •  Since the GOP has politicized (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jdsnebraska, Radical def, Witgren, nicteis

      global warming, I like asking rednecks how they feel about pollution. Do they enjoy it? Is sulfur a decent substance to have in our air and water? Is carbon monoxide healthy for our lungs? I hope to see a continuance of this tactic. Why allow his energy agenda to be derailed by people calling global warming a trick? Just don't mention it. Instead, push for clean air, land and water. The object is to cut emissions. Poison isn't appealing to anyone of any political bent.

      Santorum 2012 - Life Begins At Erection

      by kitebro on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 05:10:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I do this, too. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Radical def, fcvaguy, Witgren

        I ask those who think it's a scam to forget climate change.  Do we really want to continue to pollute our air by burning lots of coal and gasoline?  We're going to run out of oil eventually, so we might as well try to stop using it.  It's a much easier argument to make than trying to step him/her through the scientific literature and trying to explain radiation absorption.  (N.B.: I'm a meteorology grad student, and while my specialty is not climate, I have read much of the literature.)

    •  Exactly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jdsnebraska

      Had Obama specifically used the words "Climate Change", the media would immediately have gone into "balanced reporting" mode and trotted out the deniers to spout their fossil fuel-funded talking points.

  •  A Theme emerges (15+ / 0-)
    So what does this mean for us?  It means that anybody who tells you that we can drill our way out of this problem doesn’t know what they’re talking about, or just isn’t telling you the truth.

    When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day? George Carlin

    by msmacgyver on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 02:05:22 PM PST

  •  Trouble is no matter what he says nothing (18+ / 0-)

    can be done now..not in this political climate.  We have to work like hell for his reelection and to regain house and keep senate...only then will there be a chance for some comprehensive climate policy.

    •  but that's part of the point (8+ / 0-)

      he is in a unique position to change the political climate, and he should use every opportunity and create opportunities to do so.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 03:02:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I completely agree bb. (6+ / 0-)

       We know where the president stands vis-a-vis climate change.
         When he took office, his first priorities were the stimulus, health care, and then climate change legislation. Sadly, the tide turned on the cap-and-trade legislation the president was pushing, even as McCain ran on cap and trade in the 2008 election.
         The House passed it, but the Senate ran to the 60 votes needed to pass, and we had several true crapbags in the Democratic Caucus at the time.
          Re-electing the President, winning the House, keeping the Senate, and I might add doing something about the filibuster rule are what we need to have happen.
         Whether Obama talks about now or not doesn't mean shit. What happens in this election, and then, what we do after that to force the issue are what's critical.
          And it really is critical because time will pass us by if we don't, and two generations from now, people will likely see us as insane, and rightly so for not doing more.

      "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

      by elwior on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 04:04:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  that's exactly it elwior.. (6+ / 0-)
        Whether Obama talks about now or not doesn't mean shit. What happens in this election, and then, what we do after that to force the issue are what's critical.
        Reelection is what's important and then we have to force the issue because really if he's not reelected you can just kiss this planet goodby..  The issue will not help him get reelected.   Environmentalists will not vote for romney/or not romney just because O did not say CC
  •  Climate Can't Be Addressed By the American System. (9+ / 0-)

    No adequately, not in time.

    It's got to be handled some other way.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 02:06:37 PM PST

    •  It has to be a global initiative (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pgm 01, Matt Z
      •  But even the countries that are working to do (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fcvaguy, KenBee, Matt Z

        something to combat climate change are not even close to doing enough.  The last climate change meeting was dominated by selfishness making it seem more and more likely that we are heading toward a "every country for themselves" future instead of one built on cooperation to fix the mess we all helped create.

        •  Nothing is going to be done (4+ / 0-)

          Isn't it obvious by now?

          Humanity has failed the test of whether we could rise above our ordinary concerns and act in the interest of our planet as a whole. Clearly we have proved incapable of it. The time to be acting is right now, and we are still procrastinating as we did 20 years ago, as though we have all the time in the world.

          We will try as best we can to cope with the consequences when they can no longer be ignored. That is going to be our only strategy.

          We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

          by denise b on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 07:54:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Yep. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fcvaguy

      And that way most likely has nothing to do with global agreements to reduce emissions, since there's no basis for assuming that such agreements are even possible, let alone that they would be honored strictly enough to matter.

      Technogoical solutions are the only things that can work, if anything can.

      Naomi Klein's article in The Nation was exactly correct in laying out the kinds of structures that will be required to implement the emissions-side solutions that have dominated the discussion so far. She was utterly wrong in thinking that it would ever be possible to create and enforce such structures.

      Supra-national government is impossible in a world with nuclear weapons.

      --Shannon

      "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
      "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

      by Leftie Gunner on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 05:46:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not sure I see the problem. (22+ / 0-)

    Given the knee jerk reaction on the part of the right when ever climate change is brought up I think approaching the issue from an energy security and conservation angle may be smart.

    Republican Family Values: Using the daughters from your first wife to convince everybody that your second wife is lying about your third wife.

    by jsfox on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 02:08:53 PM PST

  •  I do not want a Republican President (10+ / 0-)

    taking the oath of office in 2013.

    So I agree it is a wise election year strategy to ignore climate change using those exact words right now.

    But after January 2013, when Obama takes the oath of office a second time, it needs to be drumbeat from the left bombarding his office and the offices of congressional democrats.   He will nibble at the edges, support some good policies, but he won't bring up climate change again without a lot of pressure.

    •  on the term "climate change" (10+ / 0-)
      President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday was a prime example of this shift. The president said “climate change” just once — compared with zero mentions in the 2011 address and two in 2010. When he did utter the phrase, it was merely to acknowledge the polarized atmosphere in Washington, saying, “The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change.” By contrast, Obama used the terms “energy” and “clean energy” nearly two dozen times.

      That tally reflects a broader change in how the president talks about the planet. A recent Brown University study looked specifically at the Obama administration’s language and found that mentions of “climate change” have been replaced by calls for “clean energy” and “energy independence.” Graciela Kincaid, a co-author of the study, wrote: “The phrases ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’ have become all but taboo on Capitol Hill. These terms are stunningly absent from the political arena.”

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

      •  Nice link. (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fcvaguy, elwior, doroma, zizi, SaintC, Radical def

        No doubt the White House has polled this issue, Frank Luntz-style.  If this is what it takes to finally get a clean energy bill passed, I'll take it.

      •  As I noted: (9+ / 0-)
        That is no doubt an election-year strategy, too. Instead of muddying the message, the administration wants to stick to the clean-energy-as-jobs theme. It's a safe approach and accurate to be sure. Just as is reminding everyone, as Obama did, that oil and gas production is up.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 02:40:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So we both agree that the term "climate change" (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fcvaguy, doroma, SaintC

          has been erased be the White House and replaced by a discussion of an energy policy committed to less dependence on fossil fuels and oil imports.  

          •  Yes. The difference is, if I am not mistaken... (13+ / 0-)

            ...that you think this is a good thing and I think this is not a good thing. Part of my point here is that Obama rarely misses an opportunity on any number of issues to "school" people on issues he thinks are important. I think climate change is massively important, the issue of our time. I believe that some schooling by somebody who is the best presidential speaker since JFK, perhaps better, would make a difference in the overall discussion of this issue. An energy speech is the perfect venue. Yet not even a sentence, not even a phrase devoted to it. A missed opportunity, in my opinion.

            Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

            by Meteor Blades on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 03:26:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  And we disagree on his use of a specific term (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              fcvaguy, SaintC

              In my opinion, this is a superb, forward thinking speech about the direction that his administration is heading in the energy debate. I'm not going spin my wheels and quote specific highlights from a speech that you and I have both read, but his energy policy will improve the environment and, by extension, address global warming / climate change / climate chaos / or whatever else we all decide to call it.  

              Our disagreement here is, it seems, not at all about policy. I think we both agree that the speech itself is a good one.

              Our disagreement is on messaging.  I think that when President Obama delivers a knockout speech we should embrace it and view it in the context of winning the 2012 election. You feel a need to use the speech as a reminder of what he is NOT advocating (at least not in so many words) and what he should, progressively speaking, be advocating from his bully pulpit. I accept that, I just disagree.

    •  This shouldn't be a "left" vs. "right" issue (7+ / 0-)

      Damnit.  Science is not "how you feel about it".  And things have only gotten worse...

      http://insideclimatenews.org/...

      •  woulda, shoulda, coulda (0+ / 0-)

        master propagandists from the corporate world have spent millions, hundreds of millions maybe, on making 'climate change' a hot button issue in a negative way.

        Every freaking person is talking about wierd weather, but that is it.  They look uncomfortable because it is like they know they are participating in a massive lie, but they are 'feeling' things that keep them from addressing the problem.

        So, yes it is science.  And you better believe I use that approach down here in redneckville, but not directly.  I merely point out that there are almost two hundred years of accurate temperature readings, longer in some places,  typical plant blooming dates, measurements of sea ice for decades, and every single measurement, not an opinion, not a statement of cause,  points to a rapidly warming world that will affect our water supply negatively, our ability to raise crops and feed ourselves, and that the US military is already going 'green' self sustaining power from solar, alternative fuels, because fuel has already become a limitation on how they perform in battle, and they have drawn the battle plans for the resource wars they know are coming.

        In the face of that reality,  regardless of what they may think of the causes, we need to treat the symptoms, use less energy, look for ways to lessen carbon outputs, become conscious of threats to fresh water supplies and do our best to protect them.  Until people feel the threat, they will never believe the cause, science or not.  Most people are wired for science, they all have feelings.

  •  "climate change" is not much better than (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dannyinla, elwior, joe wobblie

    "global warming." Both are inaccurate and purposed to raise concerns that many people don't share, even if they were accurate.

    Some people don't like change, especially change they do not themselves initiate.
    Other people head south looking for a better climate in the winter and north in the summer.  Warmer weather is not bad news.
    Some people are tickled pink at the idea that man (one of them) might be capable of affecting the weather on a permanent basis.  Talk about "exceptional'!

    "Pumping carbon into the air" might have a better chance 'cause nobody wants black lungs.  But that phrase is too long, I guess.
    "Pollution" prevention has lost a lot of credibility because we've been at it so long with no positive results.
    The electric power industry does not want to hear about reducing consumption because that's already smarting. Instead of the predicted growth in energy use of 7% a year that was projected, what they've actually seen is 2.5% and in 2011 there was no growth at all.  Getting investments into a no-growth industry is really tough.

    Our intellectual giants on Wall Street seem to have been shooting themselves in the foot right and left.  That probably accounts for one of the largest oil refineries in the Western hemisphere being shuttered in St. Croix, the Virgin Islands and the Kochs buying Georgia Pacific alternative fuel plants only to shut them down. It isn't just Republicans who have made a mess.  Our industrialists and financiers aren't too swift, either.  And now one of them wants to be President.

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 02:17:52 PM PST

  •  And nothing about oil speculators either (6+ / 0-)

    but other than that and the lack of any mention of climate change, it was a decent speech.  Whacked the Republicans pretty good.  

    "In the long run, Americans will always do the right thing — after exploring all other alternatives." - Winston Churchill

    by puakev on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 02:22:04 PM PST

  •  Watch what is happening in Germany (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vicky, bmcphail

    and the UK.  Obama's team understands that there is huge political risk with rapidly rising fuel and electricity prices.  Any concerted effort to quickly reduce CO2 emissions will just make the ramp steeper.  Unless the economic impacts can be managed better this will put enormous strain on the lower middle class.

    Or maybe his advisers have a different view of the physical risks?

  •  And he's beginning to nudge thinking when it (6+ / 0-)

    comes to fossil fuels.  He basically said "We're running out, and we'll run out sooner rather than later, so let's do something about it."

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 02:23:32 PM PST

  •  During the primaries in 2008, Obama excoriated (4+ / 0-)

    Hillary by saying that Republicans have become the party of ideas (meaning Bill Clinton squandered leadership). That time I naively thought that he is going to take the party in a new direction. But I am shocked that he is embracing the idiocies  of Republicans - call it the self-fulfilling prophecy.  By the way, congrats to him for the tax payer boondoggles for nuclear power plants in 30 years or so. Predator state is alive and well. And I have to believe he is going to claw back welfare from oil companies ? Gimme a break!

    "The word bipartisan means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out”. - George Carlin

    by Funkygal on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 02:33:37 PM PST

  •  Climate change/chaos is off the table as an (9+ / 0-)

    election issue and yet it is the most important issue that humanity faces. The economy, the stock market, health, jobs, even wars will be affected by it.

    We can ignore climate change but it will make its existence known to us. According to scientists, we have five years, then it will be too late. None of our efforts after that will matter.

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 02:40:55 PM PST

    •  Just doesn't make any sense. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades, Agathena, hester, PhilJD, wonmug

      How do people deny that taking fossil fuels- literally millions of years of organic material, aka solar energy- and burning them causes problems?

      We're taking fossilized solar energy and shooting it into the atmosphere. Who can say that isn't going to cause changes? Millions of years worth of ancient solar energy thrown into the atmosphere is going to change things.

      Anyone who says otherwise is too stupid to comprehend the basic science.

      We have so little time left to affect change.

      We want jobs. We want the economy to recover. But to what end? What does the sum of our activities accomplish? Are we too far into an era of individualism that we cannot ask ourselves what kind of society we want to live in?

      Republicans have a vision for society. Democrats? Can't even get on the same page to agree with the science: our current industrial culture is destroying the one and only biosphere we have. That means we must find a way out so that human needs are met, not just the wants.

      Deciding that it is a taboo to talk about climate change isn't going to stop it from happening. We can't keep lying to ourselves.

    •  After five years (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Agathena

      More precisely, we have five years, then it will be too late to avoid calamity. Our efforts after that will still matter - in preventing calamity from proceeding to catastrophe and from there to apocalypse.

      A billion lives might be at risk from the three degrees C of warming guaranteed by a five year delay (more than three being of course possible...). Civilization itself would probably survive. But seven degrees?

      Later efforts will still matter, however loudly our descendants will curse our names for waiting that long to undertake them. And the too-little efforts that can be made today by individuals, local governments, small institutions, engineers and entrepeneurs can lay the foundations for those all-important, too little too late, efforts five years down the line.

      Otherwise, a rec and a hearty amen to your comment.

  •  The US government's decision on climate change, (4+ / 0-)

    as I reported on a little-read diary of last weekend, revolves around carbon capture and storage.  Since the whole idea is itself an embarrassment, and will please nobody but professional environmentalists, no doubt the White House is saving it for the last minute, when people start dying in south Texas in August or something like that.

    "I think the Obama campaign would be taking this populist-sounding tack even if Occupy had never happened." -- Paul Street

    by Cassiodorus on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 02:41:03 PM PST

    •  Carbon capture is liquifying the carbon, putting (5+ / 0-)

      it in drums and burying the drums in the earth. Where? where on earth are they going to put billions of drums of liquid carbon. You are so right, it is an embarrassment.

      ❧To thine ownself be true

      by Agathena on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 03:05:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, it's a fantasy (6+ / 0-)

        I feel like such large-scale geoengineering projects are just a way of telling ourselves that we won't really have to make any big, substantial changes in the face of climate change -- we can just add some new technology to the mix, and we're golden!

        The most kind word I can think of to describe this is "naive."

        "As the madmen play on words, and make us all dance to their song / to the tune of starving millions, to make a better kind of gun..." -- Iron Maiden

        by Lost Left Coaster on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 03:08:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Or it's an acknoweldgement (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lost Left Coaster

          that the kinds of massive, global economic and ways-of-living changes required to deal with the problem from the emissions side will not happen by agreement, and cannot be made to happen by force.

          --Shannon

          "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
          "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

          by Leftie Gunner on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 05:50:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  When you put it that way... (0+ / 0-)

            Makes me even more of a pessimist! But it's hard to argue with what you said.

            "As the madmen play on words, and make us all dance to their song / to the tune of starving millions, to make a better kind of gun..." -- Iron Maiden

            by Lost Left Coaster on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 09:04:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Heard something interesting recently (0+ / 0-)

          About new concrete mixes under development that would actually be carbon-negative and capture carbon as it's made or cured.  If it can be done, it would be a big change from the current situation, where concrete is among the larger generators of carbon dioxide (depending on what source you consult, we get from 5 to 7% of the world's carbon emissions from it).

          •  That would be awesome (0+ / 0-)

            I think that things like that could definitely have their place. I'm just nervous about people sitting back and thinking that we'll find the technology to fix this by taking carbon out of the air. I think that we still need to focus on keeping the carbon out of the air in the first place. But I do agree that technologies like what you speak of do show promise.

            "As the madmen play on words, and make us all dance to their song / to the tune of starving millions, to make a better kind of gun..." -- Iron Maiden

            by Lost Left Coaster on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 09:03:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  WTF?? Plants are Much Cheaper (0+ / 0-)

        Plants are Nature's own carbon-capturers.
        Plant a whole mess'o plants, plow them under, rinse and repeat.

        Granted, the plow emits CO2 while plowing the plants under-- grow big plants...?

        "...we humans have the largest (cerebral) cortex, followed by bank executives, dolphins, and our cousins the apes." -Nassim Taleb

        by Dean Nut on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 05:40:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Fracking didn't get any applause (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilJD, skyounkin, denise b, priceman
    because it was public dollars, public research dollars, that over the years helped develop the technologies that companies are right now using to extract all this natural gas out of shale rock.
    The US can't frack its way out of the energy crisis without damaging its ground water, rivers and streams and ultimately its drinking water. And don't look to Canada, that country is #9 on the list of the 10 most polluting countries. The US is second only to China as one of the most polluting countries in the world. How does that make it the 'greatest country on earth?'

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 03:00:29 PM PST

  •  Not saying you are wrong... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fcvaguy, Radical def

    But, as language, "incentivizing clean renewable energy" probably polls a lot better than "cap and trade" among those on the fence... even though it's really two sides of the same coin as far as the policies Obama has promoted targeting greenhouse gas redcution.  I just think he wants to play energy more as a jobs issue than a climate change issue, given the state of the economy.

    It's an election year, and I think we should give Obama the political latitude he needs to win on stuff like this.  

  •  He's not going to lead on controversial issues (8+ / 0-)

    ...even though being very moderate won't stop or even reduce the GOP's portrayal of him as some sort of eco-commie, etc.   He's not going to lead, at least not in a progressive way.  We're supposed to somehow do the work for him, and "hold his feet to the fire" as he put it.  

    I've given up on expecting bold initiatives or leadership.  We aren't going to meaningfully address any of the most pressing issues in the next four years (and of course it would be worse with a Republicon president.)

    "Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells." J. Paul Getty

    by Celtic Pugilist on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 03:22:04 PM PST

  •  I read it. It's a lousy, short-sighted speech. (8+ / 0-)

    The gist is that we face an energy crisis because we're running out of fossil fuels and gas prices are through the roof... as though, if we just could find more petroleum, or figure out how to make it, our problems would go away. Drill baby drill.

    The President indeed talks a lot about green energy and sustainable fuels, for geopolitical reasons. As MB noted, not a word about the real crux: If climate chaos reaches the tipping point, civilization as we understand the term will become unsustainable. 50 cents a gallon gas and infinite reserves won't save us.

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 04:08:33 PM PST

    •  Obama and his energy and environment team (7+ / 0-)

      do not accept the premise.  They are not seen standing with Jim Hansen and Al Gore because they do not believe in the concept of a tipping point or positive feedback driven runaway warming.  At least that is how I interpret the situation.

    •  How do you read "drill baby drill" into his speech (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jan4insight, fcvaguy, Radical def, SaintC
      You can bet that since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their 3-point plan for $2 gas.  And I’ll save you the suspense.  Step one is to drill and step two is to drill. And then step three is to keep drilling.  (Laughter.)  We heard the same line in 2007 when I was running for President.  We hear the same thing every year.  We’ve heard the same thing for 30 years.

      Well, the American people aren’t stupid.  They know that’s not a plan, especially since we’re already drilling.  That’s a bumper sticker.  It’s not a strategy to solve our energy challenge.  (Applause.)  That’s a strategy to get politicians through an election.

      You know there are no quick fixes to this problem.  You know we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.

      •  So what is the plan? Fracking which this WH has (7+ / 0-)

        embraced along with all the threats to ground water? More nuclear energy, which this WH has also embraced? This was a geopolitical speech, of that there can be no doubt. For those of us truly concerned about life as we know it continuing, it hit far off the mark.

        Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day. Harry Truman

        by temptxan on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 04:36:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, many of them are. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilJD, skyounkin, priceman, joe shikspack
        Well, the American people aren’t stupid.
        But not really.  They're misinformed and disinformed which makes them appear to be stupid.  And that's very sad and hurts us all, at least the 99%.

        We delivered. They failed us. We have moved on. (h/t to my good friend)

        by gooderservice on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 04:41:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No. They're stupid. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kitebro, squarewheel

          'Low-information voters.'  Yeah, you could say that.  

          Andrew Mellon & GOP: 'In a Depression, assets return to their rightful owners'

          by Tuffie on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 05:19:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  They are willfully misinformed (1+ / 0-)

          which makes them willfully stupid and ignorant.

          Then could learn the truth but choose not too because it's easier to call the president a socialist while turning on the latest episode of jersey shore.

          "I'm not scared of anyone or anything, Angie. Isn't that the way life should be?" Jack Hawksmoor

          by skyounkin on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 05:37:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Public not so ill-informed... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dannyinla, denise b, bmcphail

          Photobucket

          And I would point out that this is from '09, and opinion has probly evolved in the positive, moar, since then.

          I would also point out that these views are Despite generations of full-on propaganda blitz, 24/7, on all channels of monopoly corporate fascist commercial mass media...which was ratcheted up to hysterical and draconian proportions for '08.

          And yet the masses stepped up and elected Obama and Democratic Majorities (such as they were, with all those remnant Blue Dog ilk in there), in response to an explicit rhetoric for justice and peace, to save the planet.

          Contempt for the masses will get us nowhere.

          It's all on us, to bring the better Democrats.

          All Out for the Primaries and November!

          Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

          by Radical def on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 07:29:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The implication of this speech is that we have (7+ / 0-)

        an energy problem because gas is too expensive and we're running out of it. That's a rightwing way to describe it; the Thugs' solution is "Drill baby drill."

        That was a throwaway line though, maybe unduly hyperbolic. I won't insist on it.

        The point of my comment was different: that nothing in this speech indicates that the President understands the nature of what is in store for America. I expected better from the man who vowed his administration would never let politics undermine science.

        When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

        by PhilJD on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 04:41:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe this is just a social experiment (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fcvaguy

          in the way different people read a speech. You and MB and I probably all agree about the energy policy basics, but you read this Obama is implying that the energy problem is due to high gas prices.  I simply don't see that. Which means one of us is an idiot with poor reading skills (I'm sure that's not me and I'll trust it's not you) or that we read things differently based on our feelings about the president and his energy policy.

          I simply cannot infer that the a) the President "doesn't understand" the issue, mainly because I think he's a pretty smart guy. And b) I can't see where it's implicit that this is all because of high gas prices when he says that lower gas prices are "not a strategy to solve our energy challenge. That’s a strategy to get politicians through an election."

          As for your slip into hyperbole, I of course agree.

          •  Mr. Obama touched several times on high gas prices (4+ / 0-)

            I don't think it's unfair to deduce that he wishes gas prices were lower and that petroleum remained plentiful.

            Now, there's no question that high gas prices impact the 99% disproportionately, or that that is an enormous social problem. I get that. Nor am I a saint; I drive a car, though not much. Here's the thing though:

            Ultimately, it doesn't matter. As Rich in PA said somewhere in these comments, we, humanity, face an existential problem. That, the impending tipping point of climate chaos, is why energy use is the most important issue any of us face.

            Nothing in this speech indicates that the President also understands that reality.

            Hopefully, he does, and he sees speeches like this merely as an election-year inevitability. We shall see.

            When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

            by PhilJD on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 05:14:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree - we'll see (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              fcvaguy, Radical def, bmcphail

              There's an informative article on gas prices at McClatchy today which is worth sharing:

              U.S. demand for oil and refined products — including gasoline — is down sharply from last year, so much that United States has actually become a net exporter of gasoline, unable to consume all that it makes.

              Yet oil and gasoline prices are surging.

              On Tuesday, oil rose past $106 a barrel and gasoline averaged $3.57 a gallon — thanks again in no small part to rampant financial speculation on top of fears of supply disruptions.

              http://www.mcclatchydc.com/...

              I'm betting that Obama understands what's happening.
            •  Great comment, PhilJD! (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              PhilJD, joanneleon, joe shikspack

              We are not saints, we are all compromised but that shouldn't stop us from wanting reform away from a fossil fuel economy.

              ❧To thine ownself be true

              by Agathena on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 05:56:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I suspect it was purely a political decision (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joe shikspack

              ..to omit impending climate chaos from the speech. It might affect polling numbers. And that's what's really important.

              The misinformation campaign by the deniers has been successful beyond belief.

              If liberals really "hated America" - We'd vote Republican

              by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 09:06:56 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Drill baby drill? (5+ / 0-)

          what's this?

          And we’ve opened millions of acres for oil and gas exploration.  All told we plan to make available more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico.

          Last week, we announced the next steps towards further energy exploration in the Arctic.  Earlier this week, we joined Mexico in an agreement that will make more than 1.5 million acres in the Gulf available for exploration and production, which contains an estimated 172 million barrels of oil and 304 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

          ❧To thine ownself be true

          by Agathena on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 05:58:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  We can drill the speculators out to attain (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe shikspack

        lower gas prices.

        We delivered. They failed us. We have moved on. (h/t to my good friend)

        by gooderservice on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 04:42:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Phil, this line: (0+ / 0-)

      'Civilization as we understand the term will become unsustainable' ... cannot and will never be uttered in a Presidential campaign.  Maybe it should be.  But simply never in a country where 70 million people thought McCain-Palin should be in the White House.

      Andrew Mellon & GOP: 'In a Depression, assets return to their rightful owners'

      by Tuffie on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 05:22:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Astounding, I thought what we heard in (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilJD, joanneleon, joe shikspack

      the SOTU speech would be corrected by now. That scientists, environmentalists would have penetrated the WH bubble and stated that nuclear energy and fracking for natural gas were not clean energy. But today we hear it reiterated. No one got through the bubble.

      ❧To thine ownself be true

      by Agathena on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 06:02:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think what you describe will occur... (0+ / 0-)

        ...Once EPA, Energy, FDA, et al are fully funded and staffed, and the Chamber of Commerce hacks that the Republicans have relentlessly stacked virtually all facets of government with over these many years, are substantially purged or marginalized.

        Then, I think it's likely that the appropriate agencies will put reports on Obama's desk, informing him that there's no such thing as "safe" nukes or "clean" coal, and that we must go green, all the way, immediately, to save the planet...and he will say "OK, let's do it".

        Because, in order for that to happen, we'll have sufficient progressive plurality in the House and Senate to crush Republican (and Blue Dog ilk) opposition, sabotage and treason, and to give the Prez the backup, or the jack up that he needs, to get 'er done.

        Meanwhile, as long as we are hostage to right wing majorities, the whole world is screwed.

        Bring the Better Democrats!

        All Out for the Primaries!

        Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

        by Radical def on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 07:44:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The Man Has Got This Shit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vicky, Radical def

    My only questions are how long will his coat tails be and what will crawl out of the smoking ruin of the Repub party.

    This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: [http://www.myspace.com/beetwasher]

    by Beetwasher on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 05:08:46 PM PST

    •  It's on us, to make those coatails looong, heh (0+ / 0-)

      Right Now, the Democratic primaries will determine the quality of the field going into November.

      It's all on us, to bring forward the most viable better Democrats, and mobilize the electorate to rise up and seize the power, explicitly to purge the right and suppress their jive ass, legislatively and judicially.

      I think the closer we get to real democracy, the more likely the prospect of right wing reactionary conservative and fundamentalist attempts to precipitate anti-democratic counter-revolutionary civil war against the popular democratic mandate.

      It could get ugly.

      Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

      by Radical def on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 07:51:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obama bypasses Congress again on climate change (5+ / 0-)

    Obama bypasses Congress again on climate change
    http://content.usatoday.com/...

    Kerry Statement on New Global Climate Initiative

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, today applauded the Obama Administration for launching an initiative with key countries to strengthen energy independence, increase agriculture production, and protect the health of millions by reducing emissions of so-called “short-lived climate pollutants” including methane, soot, and hydrofluorocarbons.

    “It’s no secret that since ideologues took over the House, even the most serious and bipartisan Senate efforts to deal with climate change have been slowed. That’s why continued leadership from the Administration is so vital to make clear America is still in the game. Our coastline communities and farmers are battling extreme weather events occurring at unprecedented rates. This initiative by Secretary Clinton, Administrator Jackson, and our partner countries will help deal with harmful pollutants, protect public health, and strengthen the global partnerships needed to address climate change.”

    Senator Kerry was a lead sponsor of climate change legislation in the 111th Congress. His bi-partisan legislation, the American Power Act, included a title addressing these specific short-lived climate pollutants: methane, black carbon, and hydrofluorocarbons.

    The Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants
    http://www.state.gov/...
  •  He brushed against it slightly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RussTC3

    talking about young people being more aware of conservation & taking care of the planet. I think he should be more direct about the dangers the planet is facing, but I think he did touch on the subject today.

    Who cares what banks may fail in Yonkers. Long as you've got a kiss that conquers.

    by rasbobbo on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 05:16:56 PM PST

  •  Stipulated, Meteor ... but: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dannyinla, zizi, Radical def, SaintC

    Politically -- and it IS an election season -- haven't the Democrats always been rightfully slammed for laundry-listing when they should be boiling down?  The speech was strong.  Yes, he might have included climate change and had some fear, rightly or wrongly, about annoying non-believers; I don't know.  But you can't cram 20 things into a speech.  He drew sharp lines between himself and the GOP on energy; I'll take it.  

    Andrew Mellon & GOP: 'In a Depression, assets return to their rightful owners'

    by Tuffie on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 05:17:05 PM PST

    •  He could have deleted the destructive, unclean (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilJD

      energy.

      1. Nuclear power

      We supported the first new nuclear power plant in three decades.
      2. Fracking
      Our job is to help outstanding work that’s being done in universities, in labs, and to help businesses get new energy ideas off the ground -- because it was public dollars, public research dollars, that over the years helped develop the technologies that companies are right now using to extract all this natural gas out of shale rock.
      That would have given him plenty of time/space to discuss the #1 issue in the world: climate change.

      ❧To thine ownself be true

      by Agathena on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 05:45:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  THE man, THE plan (0+ / 0-)

    and instagram.

    turn, turn, turn ...

    Addington's perpwalk is the trailhead of accountability for this wound to our national psyche.
    Donate: * NETROOTS FOR THE TROOPS 2012 * JOIN: OBAMA'S TRUTH TEAM

    by greenbird on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 05:17:30 PM PST

  •  Everyone knows climate change is a hoax (1+ / 0-)

    Why do anything about it?

    NOW SHOWING
    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 05:17:35 PM PST

  •  Not relevant, but Satan made me do it (0+ / 0-)
  •  Eh, it's a losing issue. (0+ / 0-)

    I don't blame him.

    If Obama doesn't deserve credit for getting Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger, Bin Laden doesn't deserve the blame for 9-11 because he didn't fly the planes.

    by Bush Bites on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 05:22:39 PM PST

  •  Why do you think Gore waited... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zizi

    ...until he got out of office before he made a big deal out of it?

    If Obama doesn't deserve credit for getting Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger, Bin Laden doesn't deserve the blame for 9-11 because he didn't fly the planes.

    by Bush Bites on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 05:24:05 PM PST

  •  Your headline got me thinking. (0+ / 0-)

    Given how uneducationed the American people seem on so many levels mixing the message as you and many others often do (including myself),  bringing up climate change while explaining to the public the energy problems only confuses the ultimate message. When you're assaulted for everything you say and do it gets hard to move certain agenda items.

  •  Climate Change, Terraforming the Great White North (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Agathena

    Marsiforming the tropics.

    He could point to the irony that we are extracting more oil and gas from an Arctic that is melting as a partial consequence of burning those very fuels.  
    The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson imagines a 200 year span in which mankind, largely through the introduction of huge quantities of greenhouse gases, terraforms Mars from its present, dessicated state with an atmosphere of about 15 millibars, into a planet where people can survive in the open as on many parts of Earth.  In many ways, the story is about unintended consequences.  Mankind electrified and motorized human life, throughout much of the World, looking for efficiency and profit. As K said in Men in Black, "Bugs thrive on carnage."

    As the World sinks into the chaos of massive population dislocations from the newly uninhabitable parts of the World to the newly habitable parts, the same sorts who put us in this mess to begin with with their uniformed and short sighted pursuit of profit above all will again find their ways to profits. They have probably already bought up the melting lands of the tundra and steppe.  

    Bumpersticker: GOP. Cheering Death. Booing Soldiers. Join Us.

    by LeftOfYou on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 05:26:45 PM PST

  •  STOP BASHING OBAMA!!!!! (4+ / 0-)

    Don't you know you need 60 Senate votes to talk about climate change!?!

    [/snark]

    Tunis...Cairo...Tripoli...Wall Street

    by GreenSooner on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 05:27:49 PM PST

  •  Meh. Solve energy problem you solve climate change (0+ / 0-)

    The two are inexorably linked.  If he backs off clean energy, we've got a major problem.  He'll be able to tackle/talk about climate change when the polar ice cap melts sometime in the next four years.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR. Obama Nation. -6.13 -6.15

    by ecostar on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 05:30:08 PM PST

  •  How many people are aware that we export gas? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fcvaguy, wonmug

    I'm betting that 99% of the public has no idea why gas prices are so high and would shit themselves if they knew we were exporting gas while the GOP complains we don't have enough drilling in America.

    Exports of petroleum products -- mostly diesel and gasoline -- have increased sharply in the last two years, to about a million barrels in 2011. For the first time, the U.S. is exporting considerably more finished products (though not crude) than it's importing.

    Around 3,000 barrels of petroleum products are sent abroad each day. For some perspective, consider that all U.S. motorists combined use around 8,000 barrels of gasoline a day.

    The top countries receiving the exports are Mexico, Canada, the Netherlands, Brazil, Singapore, Chile, Panama, Japan and China.

    Most of the ongoing increases in gas prices can be traced to geopolitical concerns and rampant financial speculation that have run up the cost of crude oil. And yet, if U.S. refiners limited themselves to domestic sales, there would be a glut on the market, and diesel and gasoline prices would inevitably drop.

    "The other countries are willing to pay more than we would," said James Hamilton, an economics professor and blogger at the University of California, San Diego. "And that's the price we pay, too, what they're willing to pay."

    Hamilton said that's how things work in a global market. "If you are a refiner and you've got gasoline to sell, you want to sell it where you can get the highest price," he said. "If Mexico is willing to pay a higher price to Americans, you're going to want to sell it to them instead of Americans."
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

    I'm also betting that Obama knows this, too.
  •  The speech was actually pretty good IMO (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fcvaguy, Radical def

    Yes, President Obama didn't mention the twin elephants in the room by name ("Climate Change" and "Peak Oil"), but I did think he expressed support for a lot of the things we will need to do to lessen the impact of these. He essentially walked an elephant-shaped profile around these issues without explicitly saying that was what he was doing.

    I suspect that Obama is also being a politician by accentuating "can-do" versus "we-are-in-danger". Remember, the last time a President pointed out that we were sprinting towards a brick wall without a helmet, the American public turned away en masse when a more "cheery" candidate presented himself. It was as if the American public couldn't face the bigger picture, of a post-abundant-petroleum future. However, in these same times, due to being spurred in the pocketbook by higher fuel prices, Americans got a lot done in terms of advancing energy efficiency. Hence, Obama emphasizes energy efficiency and diversification as a pocketbook issue as a means of keeping the people engaged and not scaring them into cramming their heads back in the sand.

    Agreed, there are no silver bullets. But there are a lot of pellets we can put into a silver shotgun shell, and we should get moving on those.

    Apparently Obama mentioned the word "fracking" in the actual broadcast speech. I walked into the break room (where the TV is) to find my coworker commenting unhappily about it. My coworker is an evangelical from West Virginia who moved out here to California in the '80's, and he told me that energy companies were fracking even back then when he left. He had neighbors who could light their tapwater on fire. He is no fan of fracking.

    "...we humans have the largest (cerebral) cortex, followed by bank executives, dolphins, and our cousins the apes." -Nassim Taleb

    by Dean Nut on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 05:36:48 PM PST

  •  Simple math and algorithm for climate change (0+ / 0-)

    ACTIONS >>> words

    words != anything useful

    if(electionyear()) words++;

    For the disinclined, words are nice to listen to. Actions are better. Primary season is most important. Get rid of bad democrats.

  •  2013 will see more than this consumption side (0+ / 0-)

    speech, necessary after the focus on rust-belt Michigan and its primary

    Building a clean-energy infrastructure, as Obama has been pushing for his entire term of office, would be a smart thing to do under any circumstances. Improving energy efficiency by requiring proper design of new and the retrofitting of old buildings makes economic sense. As does building vehicles—cars, trucks, locomotives, ships, airplanes—that burn less fuel and are capable of using alternative fuels, including cleanly-generated electricity. We should be doing these things anyway.

    dangerous voter for a "dangerous president"; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare."

    by annieli on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 06:02:05 PM PST

  •  The Environment was long ago run over (0+ / 0-)

    by the big O bus.

    The Environment cried for help but was easily drowned out by the Thunderous Applause.

    It isn't that Obama hasn't Changed anything; It's that his actions advance the 1%'s interests.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 06:10:23 PM PST

  •  I know anecdotal information…………. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radical def

    has no scientific value. However, it was 65 degrees here in Louisville today, February 23rd, and it looks like we are on track for one of the mildest winters in history.

    Let the Rethugs rant and rave on the invalidity of “climate change” and “global warming” while the voters see a mild winter and a hot summer showing themto be the liars that they are.  Obama doesn’t need to say anything.

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation--HDT

    by cazcee on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 06:17:07 PM PST

  •  Probably politically wise not to metion GW (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bagger, Radical def

    when gas prices are sure to be a campaign concern.

  •  Once upon a time... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radical def

    An army of ants was out to gather provisions to stock up their anthill. On their way they came upon a broken branch blocking their usual path. The advance party kept butting hard against the branch to force their way through. After a few tries the ants changed course to trek along a new path AROUND the tree branch. It took a while longer than the direct path before the obstacle necessitated a change of plans.

    President Obama would rather survive and plot an alternate route around an obstacle in order to get his hands on the ultimate prize, than debate the finer points of challenging the tree branch.

    'Nuff said...

    When you are battling a global powerful cabal backed by competitor countries and their allies within and without this country, you first concentrate on KEEPING political power in order to make decisions.

    Glorious loserdom begets nothing.

    "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them." -- Pres. Obama (1/20/2009)

    by zizi on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 06:43:15 PM PST

  •  MB, please stop criticizing the President (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tommy Allen

    How can you possibly think that exerting pressure on a politician seeking office during an election year might actually advance your cause, you big pony-wisher you!

    What's wrong under Republicans is still wrong under Democrats.

    by gila on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 08:41:42 PM PST

  •  On one hand/on the other hand (0+ / 0-)

    On one hand

     a policy of expanded domestic drilling is politically expedient since it knocks that weapon out of our opponents hands

    the reality is that in the short term we must depend on nonrenewables...an economy based on renewables will never happen without a substantial initial subsidy from nonrenewables, economic stability demands that we keep energy costs at a reasonable rate

    on the other hand

    this must be a short term policy only and it must be accompanied by a many times more agressive policy of both pollution control and transition to renewables. I think it's fair to say that while the Obama administration is doing what they think they can, that what they are doing is not enough.

    On a more contrarian note, despite everything I said above, gaming principles would suggest a counterintuitive approach:

    when sharing a critical, limited,and diminishing resource, you should use everyone else's supplies first no matter what the cost. Later, when the resource is much scarcer and more costly you will be the one with the largest reserves.

    But this is an endgame strategy for an ultimately dead end game. If we don't use our still relatively abundant nonrenewables to transition swiftly we will all be in a world of hurt.

    Baz  

    We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

    by bmcphail on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 01:16:14 AM PST

  •  Disappointing...again (0+ / 0-)

    Republicans take care of big money, for big money takes care of them ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 10:05:52 AM PST

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