February 14, 2014
Re "Obama's pipeline dilemma," Opinion, Feb. 12 Doyle McManus aptly points out several of the political pros and cons related to President Obama's decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. What he fails to address is the need for fossil fuels to be left underground and for us to convert to renewables. McManus suggests procrastination by Obama might be a virtue. The destruction of Canada's boreal forest and the continued release of carbon into the atmosphere don't qualify. Far more virtuous would be for Obama to follow through on his 2013 inauguration promise: "We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations....
February 12, 2014 |
The debate over the Keystone XL pipeline may look like just another example of the partisan divide on Capitol Hill. If only it were that easy. President Obama's dilemma over whether to approve the 1,600-mile pipeline, which would move oil from Canada to Texas, has more to do with disagreements within the Democratic Party, and with foreign relations. Environmentalists, including some of the Democrats' biggest donors, have seized on Keystone as a test of Obama's commitment to halting global warming.
February 8, 2014
Re "Free the pipeline, Obama," Opinion, Feb. 4 Those who oppose Keystone XL aren't doing so primarily to make the pipeline a "litmus test issue for climate seriousness," as Jonah Goldberg writes. Rather, they're taking a principled stand. We must stop the juggernaut of business-as-usual that is leading inexorably to climate disruption. Environmentalists recognize that our civilization depends on vast amounts of energy and we cannot stop using fossil fuels overnight. But with more frequent extreme weather showing up right on schedule and rising sea levels, we absolutely must replace fossil fuels with sustainable energy as soon as possible.
February 5, 2014
Re "The future of Keystone XL," Editorial, Feb. 4 The Times writes: "If developed nations had started earlier … oil pipelines and Arctic drilling rigs would hold little attraction. " Given no credit, Jimmy Carter did start early. He is responsible for federal standards to increase fuel efficiency, and he invested in green energy, putting solar panels on the White House. (Ronald Reagan promptly removed them.) Now, about that pipeline. Severe water shortages are inevitable in the next decade, as reservoirs and aquifers are quickly depleted.
February 4, 2014 |
Welcome to the "year of action. " In last week's State of the Union address, the president vowed to do whatever he has to to help the economy, even if that means working around Congress: "What I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class. Some require congressional action, and I'm eager to work with all of you. But America does not stand still, and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that's what I'm going to do. " The White House has touted the fact the president has a "phone and a pen" and he's not afraid to use them.
February 3, 2014 |
This post has been corrected, as indicated below. When the State Department released its environmental report on the Keystone XL pipeline Friday, the timing led me to fear the worst. It's a strategy bordering on tradition in politics that if you want to minimize the fallout from a controversy, you release the details late on a Friday, preferably leading into a holiday weekend. The theory is that by the time the next workweek rolls around, most people will have forgotten about it and the notoriously short and fickle public discourse will have moved on to something else.