Skip to main content

Thomas Friedman uses his column in the New York Times today to call for activists to "go crazy" about the Keystone XL pipeline.

So I hope that Bill McKibben and his coalition go crazy. I’m talking chain-themselves-to-the-White-House-fence-stop-traffic-at-the-Capitol kind of crazy, because I think if we all make enough noise about this, we might be able to trade a lousy Keystone pipeline for some really good systemic responses to climate change.
It is hard to argue with his reasoning. The more people make noise in opposition to the pipeline, which he assumes President Obama will approve, the better the chances for some grand bargain on climate. Without vocal opposition from his base, there is no leverage.
We need the president to be able to say to the G.O.P. oil lobby, “I’m going to approve this, but it will kill me with my base. Sasha and Malia won’t even be talking to me, so I’ve got to get something really big in return.”

Friedman goes on to give voice to the discontent of many climate activists.

Face it: The last four years have been a net setback for the green movement. While President Obama deserves real praise for passing a historic increase in vehicle mileage efficiency and limits on the emissions of new coal-fired power plants, the president also chose to remove the term “climate change” from his public discourse and kept his talented team of environmentalists in a witness-protection program, banning them from the climate debate. This silence coincided with record numbers of extreme weather events — droughts and floods — and with a huge structural change in the energy marketplace.  
Friedman suggests two major items that should be part of some grand bargain to approve the pipeline to pump up profits for the oil industry. The first is a carbon tax, something NASA's Dr. James Hansen has been advocating for years. Without pricing carbon, there is no way to speed the transition to low carbon energy sources.

The $64,000,000,000 question is what to do with the money, if by some miracle pigs sprout wings and Republicans agree to it. Dividends to tax payers would lessen the regressive nature of downstream effects. Funding research, development, and deployment of clean energy is another possibility. Funneling money to pay down the deficit might give the president breathing room to protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

I see little hope the current crop of House Republicans will ever allow a carbon tax. This collection of dinosaurs does not believe in science, much less taxes.

The second major proposal is to treat nature and communities as infrastructure. Nature supplies cost-effective carbon sinks, barriers to rising seas, and drinking water stocks. Investment in communities can make them more resistant to climate effects and more resilient. Infrastructure investments could generate a great deal of job growth and protect vital natural resources. All are good ideas that Republicans will reject out of hand.

While we can debate whether there are enough sane Republicans in Congress to do anything, Friedman has touched on something important. Unless we make a lot of noise about the Keystone XL pipeline and other destructive projects, nothing positive will occur. Judging from the administration's choice of consultants to produce the environmental impact statement for the Keystone XL pipeline (see posts by Brad Johnson and Lisa Song), there is every reason to make a lot of noise. And just in time for the cherry blossoms to bloom in DC

Help Us Spread the Word About Climate Change

For those of you on Facebook and Twitter: Please help to spread the word by hitting the FB and Tweet links at the top of this diary and if you have time, join the discussion with comments.  Share such postings with friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances.

Thanks, as all of this helps build the Climate Change movement as well as introducing critically important ideas about renewable sources of energy.

Originally posted to Climate Hawks on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 06:19 AM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site