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Exxon ad touting "all of the above"

Test your BS meter with this one question quiz:

Which part of Obama's State of the Union was written by the oil industry?

a) “America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades”
b) “natural gas – if extracted safely, it’s the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change.”
c) fracking for oil and gas can be "sustainable"
d) all of the above

The answer is literally, "all of the above."

During his State of The Union speech, President Obama said:

"The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today, America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades."
The phrase “all of the above,” which the president used in his 2012 State of the Union address as well, is the creation of the oil industry’s most powerful lobbying and public relations arm, the American Petroleum Institute (API). According to the New York Times, the phrase was introduced in 2000 by API to advocate for oil drilling. API’s position at the time was “that an effective national energy policy must, at a minimum, allow for all of the above.” API, proud of the hegemony of their ideas, actually predicted the president would champion the pro-fossil fuel message in this most recent State of the Union address, the day before the speech was given.

After The American Petroleum Institute debuted the phrase in 2000, it was quickly picked up by republicans with wells to drill. John Mccain made it a central part of his 2008 campaign for president. Republicans in the house and senate used it to promote offshore drilling. The former governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, now under federal indictment for corruption, listed the phrase on his campaign website.

ExxonMobil, the most profitable corporation in world history, continues to use the phrase in advertisements today.

This isn't just etymological trivia. The use of oil industry talking points by the president indicates how ingrained and powerful the fossil fuel industry is in the U.S’s energy conversation.

It also casts a revealing light on other pro-fossil energy comments made by President Obama in the speech, like promoting “Energy Independence.” The idea is, if we allow oil and gas corporations to exploit our land and water to extract fossil fuels, it will benefit the average citizen by lowering energy prices and reducing dependence of “foreign” energy supplies. This is completely false, as Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil will tell you. The oil industry wants to sell it's product on an open market, to the highest bidder, no matter who that is. Currently there are plans for 25 Liquified Natural Gas export terminals in the US, and the American Petroleum Institute is spending millions of dollars to undo a decades old law that prohibits the export of crude oil. As more oil and gas is drilled from American soil and water, more gas and oil will be exported. We will continue to import oil and other goods from around the world, regardless of how much drilling happens in the U.S.

Another energy myth promoted by the Obama administration and the fossil fuel industry is natural gas as a bridge fuel to renewable energy.

The truth is that gas is primarily comprised of methane, an extremely powerful greenhouse gas. Some scientists believe that methane could be up to 105 times as destabilizing to the global climate as carbon dioxide. When fully burned, gas releases less CO2 than coal or oil, but currently huge amounts of methane are escaping unburned into the atmosphere. An increase in spending on gas infrastructure, like pipelines, Liquified Natural Gas export terminals, or vehicle refueling stations, is not a bridge to renewable energy. It is the same old fossil fuel infrastructure that poses serious threats to the earth’s climate and local environments. The U.S doesn’t need more spending on fossil fuels, it needs a real commitment to renewable energy, efficiency, and cutting carbon pollution.

Originally posted to Greenpeace by Jesse Coleman

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Comment Preferences

  •  It wouldn't be quite so bad if natural gas was (6+ / 0-)

    replacing coal--it isn't!
    The coal is just being shipped abroad (China, etc.) where the environmental laws are more lax.
    A big PR win for PBO. He can pretend to be pro-environment  & still grease the skids for the corporate world.

    Warren is neither a Clintonesque triangulator nor an Obamaesque conciliator. She is a throwback to a more combative progressive tradition, and her candidacy is a test of whether that approach can still appeal to voters.-J. Toobin "New Yorker"

    by chuck utzman on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 02:45:07 PM PST

    •  Yeah, it would still be that bad... (0+ / 0-)

      I mean, if you care about the people being fracked.  Our water is being poisoned and otherwise converted to toxic radioactive waste, our air is being polluted with toxic cancer-causing fumes, our land is being taken for pipelines and well pads (if you live in a fracking sacrifice zone you better as hell have mineral rights or you have no rights at all).  Toxic spills on our land and roads.  Earthquakes too.  We are being sacrificed for what exactly?  So Oil and Gas can get richer exporting this stuff and Pres Obama can brag about it?

      I guess the people being sacrificed, whether it's Canadians in the tar sands New Mordor region, or the fracking zones of Texas and elsewhere, or the blown-up mountains of West Virginia have a different take on this whole fossil fuel frenzy.

      I almost turned off the speech when I heard the president talking about how "successful" his "all of the above" sell out has been.  I guess you can be supportive of such things when you live far away from it in DC.

      "It was clear that any research would be in the nature of a post mortem." - Rachel Carson

      by todamo13 on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 06:29:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The fact that Frackers are not subject to (6+ / 0-)

    the clean water act, is proof that our govt is run by corrupt aholes (both parties). Once they've polluted all the US aquifers, it will become clear as day. Unfortunately there won't be any drinking water left.

    No longer Hoping for Change. Now Praying for a Miracle. 🍞 & 🎪

    by CitizenOfEarth on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 03:09:44 PM PST

  •  This issue is complex (5+ / 0-)

    While it's true that methane (aka natural gas) leaks are a serious source or GHG, a tremendous amount is deliberately vented.  Almost all oil wells also produce some gas.  If there is no market for it - often due to their being no pipeline nearby - then it must be disposed of somehow.  If the flow is sufficiently steady it is flared.  At night you can see the Bakken from space!  If it is minimal and intermittent it is simply vented into the atmosphere.

    This isn't new.  I suspect that it contributes to AGW, but that the contribution is less than CO2 from burning fossil fuels.

    Some people/studies suggest that fracking shale formations releases more gas into the atmosphere than conventional vertical wells even allowing for venting.  Others disagree.   I think the jury is still out.

    In some formations (particularly the Eagle Ford) fracking is producing an astounding amount of ethane.  Ethane is very valuable as a feedstock to petrochemical plants.  It's primary use is to make plastics.  However, there is a glut.  In some isolated markets its price has become negative.

    Ethane can also be added to the stream of natural gas at certain pressures and temperatures.  However, it raises the BTU level of the stream.  Hence the pipelines have limits on the ratio.

    If wells are producing too much ethane along with the natural gas, the company may have to vent/flare all of it.  This could lead to the disastrous situation of massive vent/flaring at the same time as rapidly increasing natural gas prices.  It's incongruous, but a real possibility.

    I disagree with Obama on some issues, and this is one of them.  We need to discourage production and use of fossil fuels.  We need a crash program and "war-like" funding for solar and wind.

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