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Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:34 AM

Climate Hawk Obama: ‘If Congress Won’t Act Soon To Protect Future Generations, I Will’

Climate Hawk Obama: ‘If Congress Won’t Act Soon To Protect Future Generations, I Will’

By Joe Romm

President Says Warming-Driven Extreme Weather Demands We “Act Before It’s Too Late,” While GOP’s Rubio Pushes Climate Denial, Attacks Solyndra!

Below are Obama’s extensive remarks on energy and climate in his State of the Union address. The President has expanded on his strong remarks in his Second Inaugural, asserting “if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.”

Below the jump is the energy portion of his just-released “Plan for A Strong Middle Class & A Strong America.” There’s a call for doubling renewable electricity (yet again!) by 2020 — and for doubling energy productivity by 2030 (“a new Energy Efficiency Race to the Top for states”). But who knew he’d call for Congress to pass cap-and-trade?

Here is the key part of the speech (as delivered):

Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race. And today, no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy.

After years of talking about it, we are finally poised to control our own energy future. We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years. We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas, and the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar – with tens of thousands of good, American jobs to show for it. We produce more natural gas than ever before – and nearly everyone’s energy bill is lower because of it. And over the last four years, our emissions of the dangerous carbon pollution that threatens our planet have actually fallen.

But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Yes, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods – all are now more frequent and more intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act before it’s too late.

Now the good news is, we can make meaningful progress on this issue while driving strong economic growth. I urge this Congress to get together, pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.

Four years ago, other countries dominated the clean energy market and the jobs that came with it. We’ve begun to change that. Last year, wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let’s generate even more. Solar energy gets cheaper by the year – let’s drive costs down even further. As long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy, so must we.

In the meantime, the natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. We need to encourage that. That’s why my Administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits. That’s got to be a part of an all-of-the-above plan. But I also want to work with this Congress to encourage the research and technology that helps natural gas burn even cleaner and protects our air and water.

In fact, much of our new-found energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together. So tonight, I propose we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an Energy Security Trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good. If a non-partisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals can get behind this idea, then so can we. Let’s take their advice and free our families and businesses from the painful spikes in gas prices we’ve put up with for far too long. I’m also issuing a new goal for America: let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years. The states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make that happen.

Wow! Looks like I’ll be needing a stomach pump — after drinking all this beer, Hurricanes, Damn-The-Weather cocktails, espressos, energy drinks, and, I’m afraid, fracking fluid from Haliburton.

His remarks on climate are very strong. So is his plan for action. Yes, both are four years late, but still….

- more -

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/02/12/1583461/climate-hawk-obama-if-congress-wont-act-soon-to-protect-future-generations-i-will/


SOTU energy/climate highlights: P3: Priority + Payoff = Promise.

by A Siegel

After several years of essentially ignoring Climate Change in the State of the Union address, President Obama spoke forcefully about climate change and clean energy in the speech. While there are some significant problems embedded in the discussion, such as praise for natural gas, there is significant material worth cheering, supporting, and building on.

Amid all of this, perhaps the best might be P+P=P. Priority + Payoff = PROMISE!

If we want to make the best products, we also have to invest in the best ideas. Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy. Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer’s; developing drugs to regenerate damaged organs; devising new material to make batteries ten times more powerful. Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation. Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race. And today, no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy.

This is an excellent and truthful statement.
And, as can be seen after the fold, the State of the Union blows through the Climate Silence barrier and signals that President Obama won't return behind it.

UPDATE ... As for Rubio ...

A Siegel @A_Siegel

Rubio "God gave us Coal, Oil, and Natural Gas". Okay, then who gave us the sun, wind, waves, and other renewable resources? #SOTU-

-more -

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/02/12/1186706/-SOTU-energy-climate-highlights-P3-Priority-Payoff-Promise



Al GoreVerified account
‏@algore
The President's call to put a price on carbon pollution and solve the climate crisis was bold and meaningful. We must act now. #sotu

https://twitter.com/algore/status/301532724945096704


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Reply Climate Hawk Obama: ‘If Congress Won’t Act Soon To Protect Future Generations, I Will’ (Original post)
ProSense Feb 2013 OP
WCGreen Feb 2013 #1
ProSense Feb 2013 #4
ChromeFoundry Feb 2013 #5
Luminous Animal Feb 2013 #2
ProSense Feb 2013 #3
Luminous Animal Feb 2013 #6
ProSense Feb 2013 #7
grahamhgreen Feb 2013 #9
ProSense Feb 2013 #10
grahamhgreen Feb 2013 #42
NickB79 Feb 2013 #24
ProSense Feb 2013 #26
NickB79 Feb 2013 #29
ProSense Feb 2013 #31
Spider Jerusalem Feb 2013 #27
ProSense Feb 2013 #28
Spider Jerusalem Feb 2013 #32
ProSense Feb 2013 #33
Spider Jerusalem Feb 2013 #34
ProSense Feb 2013 #35
Spider Jerusalem Feb 2013 #36
ProSense Feb 2013 #37
Spider Jerusalem Feb 2013 #38
ProSense Feb 2013 #39
Spider Jerusalem Feb 2013 #43
Puzzledtraveller Feb 2013 #12
grahamhgreen Feb 2013 #8
ProSense Feb 2013 #11
grahamhgreen Feb 2013 #17
ProSense Feb 2013 #20
grahamhgreen Feb 2013 #41
grahamhgreen Feb 2013 #19
ProSense Feb 2013 #21
grahamhgreen Feb 2013 #40
MadHound Feb 2013 #13
Overseas Feb 2013 #14
cali Feb 2013 #15
raouldukelives Feb 2013 #16
NickB79 Feb 2013 #25
maxsolomon Feb 2013 #18
Hell Hath No Fury Feb 2013 #22
ProSense Feb 2013 #23
NCTraveler Feb 2013 #30

Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:38 AM

1. God also gave us cyanide, Arsenic and sulfuric acid....

That doesn't mean we have to use it to flavor food.

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Response to WCGreen (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 01:08 AM

4. Rubio is an idiot. n/t

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Response to WCGreen (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 01:13 AM

5. Good one! n/t

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:44 AM

2. "cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits"

And that my friends, is the wrong way to go if you are serious about climate change. I cannot believe that you bolded that part as a solution. Speeding up oil and gas permits is the problem.

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Response to Luminous Animal (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:51 AM

3. It was

"I cannot believe that you bolded that part as a solution."

...bolded by Joe Romm. Take it up with him.

Still, I'm not surprised that you focused on that bit of rhetoric, which is likely to undercut the Republican talking point.

It's the art of cherry picking in order to ignore the other important proposals in the speech.

Be sure to go to the original and read the release linked to. It's a must for anyone concerned with climate/energy policy.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 01:59 AM

6. If Obama is going to say such a stupid thing as increasing the development

of fossil fuels then i will focus on it.

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Response to Luminous Animal (Reply #6)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:09 AM

7. If you can't

"If Obama is going to say such a stupid thing as increasing the development of fossil fuels then i will focus on it."

...see that reducing foreign oil by replacing it with domestic oil while shifting to renewable fuels is a process, then I guess that makes you smarter than the President.




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Response to ProSense (Reply #7)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:37 AM

9. Yes we are smarter. And less corrupt.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #9)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 08:55 AM

10. Then run for President or office. n/t

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Response to ProSense (Reply #10)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:38 PM

42. Will you endorse me?

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Response to ProSense (Reply #7)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:49 PM

24. Domestic oil and gas isn't better than foreign oil and gas

With regard to climate change. It's good for businesses that make money on fossil fuels, but that's about it.

In fact, domestically produced oil and gas relies HEAVILY on fracking to get it. Know what the dirty little secret about fracking really is? It's WORSE than burning coal when it comes to climate change, because of massive methane leaks: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/01/02/1388021/bridge-to-nowhere-noaa-confirms-high-methane-leakage-rate-up-to-9-from-gas-fields-gutting-climate-benefit/?mobile=nc

We will actually make climate change WORSE by switching to "clean" domestic natural gas supplies.

Also, the coal we aren't burning doesn't stay in the ground. We're exporting it by the metric shit ton to places like China: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/19/us-coal-idUSBRE83I0AK20120419

Frankly, we don't have time to engage in processes that take 30-40 years to complete any longer. Any goal of addressing climate change that addresses changes by 2050 is complete bullshit at this point, IMO. We only have a few years left to act before we can no longer avoid catastrophic climate change, and even that is optimistic at this point.

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #24)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 01:00 PM

26. That wasn't

"Domestic oil and gas isn't better than foreign oil and gas"

...my point, which was that reducing foreign oil by replacing it with domestic oil while shifting to renewable fuels is a process.

If the U.S. reduces its reliance on foreign oil, that begins to solve a host of problems, not the least of which is war for oil.


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Response to ProSense (Reply #26)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 01:21 PM

29. Like I said, domestic oil and gas is dirty

FAR dirtier than, say, Saudi oil or Mexican oil.

How does replacing conventionally pumped oil from a Saudi well with oil extracted from the Bakken reserve, or Alberta tar sands, make things better for the climate?

Have you seen what we're doing in the Bakken fields now? http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2013/01/julia-sklar-reporter.html

Seen in this photo taken by NASA's Suomi NPP satellite, the glow comes from hundreds of flares from rigs drilled into the Bakken formation of North Dakota. The huge amount of unwanted gas being burned off from the production of shale oil creates a light the size of metropolitan Boston.

Bakken is a 360-million-year-old tectonic plate made primarily of shale rock. Fracking has liberated the oil that lies within it, propelling North Dakota to the second-largest oil producing state in the US, behind Texas.

Flaring is a way to burn off excess natural gas during oil production, but the process effectively wastes a natural resource while simultaneously emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. As of 2011, more than 35 per cent of North Dakota's natural gas production was burnt off in flares, according to a study done by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.


How does this further the process of switching to renewables or addressing climate change? Switching to domestic sources of energy may well solve a host of problems, and definitely has merit on that basis, but based on current science, climate change is NOT one of them. This thread was about addressing climate change, not stopping foreign wars for oil.

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #29)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 01:36 PM

31. "FAR dirtier than, say, Saudi oil or Mexican oil."

Are you selling foreign oil?

"How does replacing conventionally pumped oil from a Saudi well with oil extracted from the Bakken reserve, or Alberta tar sands, make things better for the climate? "

Did I advocate oil for the tar sands?

"How does this further the process of switching to renewables or addressing climate change? Switching to domestic sources of energy may well solve a host of problems, and definitely has merit on that basis, but based on current science, climate change is NOT one of them. This thread was about addressing climate change, not stopping foreign wars for oil."

Yes, that's what the thread is about, but I mentioned a process, which included ending the reliance on foreign oil. How does relying on foreign oil address climate change?



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Response to ProSense (Reply #7)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 01:10 PM

27. Oil is oil

foreign or domestic, makes no difference. Reducing oil generally woulkd be a meaningful process; replacing foreign oil with domestic oil? Not so much, especially not when we're talking about domestic oil that's generally speaking much more environmentally destructive to get in the first place -- from tar sands, and oil shale. Not to mention the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing; overall it's not very encouraging and the focus on yet more oil production instead of serious focus on alternatives is really part of the problem.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #27)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 01:16 PM

28. Yes,

"Oil is oil foreign or domestic, makes no difference. Reducing oil generally woulkd be a meaningful process; replacing foreign oil with domestic oil? Not so much, especially not when we're talking about domestic oil that's generally speaking much more environmentally destructive to get in the first place -- from tar sands, and oil shale."

..."oil is oil," but what is it about my point, which was that reducing foreign oil by replacing it with domestic oil while shifting to renewable fuels is a process, that leaves the impression that I'm saying domestic oil is different in its composition from foreign oil?

If the U.S. reduces its reliance on foreign oil, that begins to solve a host of problems, not the least of which is war for oil.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #28)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 01:45 PM

32. Well, no, really

you're implying something completely nonsensical; that replacing foreign oil with domestic oil does anything at all to address the issue of climate change (it doesn't).

The estimates I've seen of increased US oil production put it at possibly ten million barrels a day by 2020, or perhaps a bit more. Enough to overtake Russia and Saudi Arabia in terms of production; not enough to significantly reduce American dependence on imports without a significant reduction in consumption (US consumption: around 19 million barrels a day, per the Energy Information Agency). Global demand is at around 90 million barrels a day. Part of the problem is that the USA has 5% of the world's population and consumes 20% of the oil and 25% of the total energy resources. Reducing that by some significant percentage would solve a lot of problems; increasing domestic US oil and gas production from tar sands, shale and fracking? That does fuck-all to solve the problem of dependence on foreign oil, or of geopolitical instability and resource competition; it just wrecks the environment, adds to greenhouse gas emissions, and lets people ignore the problem for another few years.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #32)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 01:59 PM

33. No,

"Well, no, really you're implying something completely nonsensical; that replacing foreign oil with domestic oil does anything at all to address the issue of climate change (it doesn't)."

...I wasn't. Here's my point:

Reducing foreign oil by replacing it with domestic oil while shifting to renewable fuels is a process. If the U.S. reduces its reliance on foreign oil, that begins to solve a host of problems, not the least of which is war for oil.

The estimates I've seen of increased US oil production put it at possibly ten million barrels a day by 2020, or perhaps a bit more. Enough to overtake Russia and Saudi Arabia in terms of production; not enough to significantly reduce American dependence on imports without a significant reduction in consumption (US consumption: around 19 million barrels a day, per the Energy Information Agency). Global demand is at around 90 million barrels a day. Part of the problem is that the USA has 5% of the world's population and consumes 20% of the oil and 25% of the total energy resources. Reducing that by some significant percentage would solve a lot of problems; increasing domestic US oil and gas production from tar sands, shale and fracking? That does fuck-all to solve the problem of dependence on foreign oil, or of geopolitical instability and resource competition; it just wrecks the environment, adds to greenhouse gas emissions, and lets people ignore the problem for another few years.

So you agree that doing so can "reduce American dependence on imports," albeit not "significantly" enough. Now if the point is to reduce reliance and ramp up the transition to renewables, in effect reducing consumption, what exactly is your opposition?

You seem to be objecting to reducing America's reliance on foreign oil. I mean, why should the criteria for reducing reliance on foreign oil be a significant reduction in consumption? If we can reduce our reliance on foreign oil while reducing consumption by increasing the use of renewables, why is that bad?

There have been a lot of wars fought over oil. I don't think war is good for the environment of the planet.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #33)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:15 PM

34. Nope, I don't agree that it can reduce American dependence on imports.

See this for instance: http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2012/11/30/u_s_oil_production_will_not_outpace_saudi_arabia_s_in_2020_despite_the_iea.html

And no, I'm objecting to the frankly stupid idea that the way to reduce reliance on oil is with more oil. It's like a drunk saying "sure, I'll go to rehab. But first I'm going to drink every bar in town dry."

And a significant reduction in consumption is necessary if you are serious about actually reducing reliance on foreign oil because without a significant reduction in consumption, the numbers do not add up.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #34)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:21 PM

35. You're evidently

"Nope, I don't agree that it can reduce American dependence on imports....And no, I'm objecting to the frankly stupid idea that the way to reduce reliance on oil is with more oil. It's like a drunk saying "sure, I'll go to rehab. But first I'm going to drink every bar in town dry."

...having an argument with yourself. My point has nothing to do with "outpacing" foreign oil production.

Frankly, the "stupid idea" you're objecting to came about via your own flawed logic.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #35)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:24 PM

36. I'm not sure you have a point

because you don't actually seem to know what you're talking about. You seem pretty ignorant of the actual numbers on oil production and imports, for a start.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #36)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:25 PM

37. Oh, I have a point

"You seem pretty ignorant of the actual numbers on oil production and imports, for a start. "

It's not my fault that you're having trouble grasping it.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #37)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:27 PM

38. I don't really see it.

You're arguing that more fracking and tar sands are a good thing on the road to solving the problem of climate change because...your logic is not the same as our Earth logic, apparently.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #38)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:35 PM

39. No,

"You're arguing that more fracking and tar sands are a good thing on the road to solving the problem of climate change because...your logic is not the same as our Earth logic, apparently."

...you came up with that argument all by yourself.

Leave me out of it.



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Response to ProSense (Reply #39)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 10:03 PM

43. No, I didn't.

Where do you think that additional domestic oil is going to come from, anyway? Tar sands and oil shale, that's where.

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Response to Luminous Animal (Reply #6)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 08:59 AM

12. So Was Obama really talking out the side of his mouth?

I didn't watch, but if he start in on one statement then the following statements contradict his positions or are counter to it I wonder how many people notice. Just curious.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:36 AM

8. F@ck oil and gas permits - they're a dirty and dangerous fuel from a bygone era.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #8)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 08:58 AM

11. Sure they are, but I bet you still drive.

Like I said, ending the reliance of foreign oil is first. That has been the underlying justification for wars.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #11)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:16 PM

17. No, bicycle to electric train.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #17)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:27 PM

20. Good for you. Maybe the President

should issue an executive order closing all gas stations tomorrow.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #20)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:36 PM

41. How bout we compromise on a $5/gallon gas tax for renewable infrastructure?

As long as we are fantasizing.

Oil is not only less efficient than renewables, it's destroying our planet - through wars and externalized costs like pollution and cancer.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #11)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:23 PM

19. Besides, our oil is sold on the open market - there is no law that guarantees US oil MUST be sold in

the US.

Without that mechanism, your point is moot.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #19)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:29 PM

21. What exactly

Last edited Wed Feb 13, 2013, 01:00 PM - Edit history (1)

"Besides, our oil is sold on the open market - there is no law that guarantees US oil MUST be sold in the US."

...does that have to do with reducing dependency on foreign oil? No guarantees? If the U.S. reduces its reliance on foreign oil, that begins to solve a host of problems, not the least of which is war for oil.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #21)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:30 PM

40. We are not "reducing dependency on foreign oil" if our oil is sold overseas, on the open market.

The only way that we would be reducing our dependency on foreign oil, would be if the oil we drill is ONLY sold in the US.

Correct?

The bigger issue is that we no longer need oil to run our world.

It can all be done cheaper and cleaner with renewable fuels. The amount of electricity it takes to refine 1 gallon of oil will drive a Nissan leaf 30 miles. Oil is redundant.

We are so close to really transforming our planet, but we can't do it without you folks!

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:00 AM

13. In other words it's drill baby, drill,

 

With a bit of greenwashing thrown into the mix.

If he was really serious he would be yanking all frakking and tar sands drilling permits, and implement a crash course in renewable green energy. Instead, he continues to enable the fossil fuel industry.

Sorry, not impressed.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:27 AM

14. I was mad at my Democrats for not applauding more when he talked about wind and solar.

When our president talked about more wind energy and solar energy produced in the US during his administration, I expected Democrats to stand up and cheer. Their quiet was really disappointing.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:29 AM

15. He supports fracking which is an enormous and immediate threat to the evironment.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 10:23 AM

16. Not only do we have a President willing to use the term "Climate Change".

We have one pushing for efforts to combat it. As with anything, it'll start with baby steps like nixing the Keystone pipeline. Very encouraged!

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Response to raouldukelives (Reply #16)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:51 PM

25. If you think they'll nix Keystone XL, I've got a bridge for sale

That ship has sailed already. If they were going to kill it, they would have done so by now.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:21 PM

18. Then ACT NOW, because the House won't do jack shit.

And you know it. In fact, you should have acted 2 years ago when the tea party took it over.

They're not going to become more rational.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:32 PM

22. "Climate hawk"????



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Response to Hell Hath No Fury (Reply #22)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 12:43 PM

23. Good one. n/t

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 01:30 PM

30. Many good things can be truthfully said about the President.

Climate Hawk is not one of them.

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