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Is Obama serious about breaking our catastrophic oil addiction?

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Enrique Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-07-10 04:11 PM
Original message
Is Obama serious about breaking our catastrophic oil addiction?
http://www.alternet.org/environment/147116/is_obama_ser...

(...)

The president already has the podium he needs to start turning history, which means more than merely pushing for the climate and energy bill introduced last month by senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman -- a prime example of baby-step politics. As with his health care bill, on energy matters, too, the administration and its envoys sought out in advance the industries most likely to raise a fuss and cut the deals those cartels wanted. Just as big pharma knew it wouldnt face negotiated drug prices, so big oil and big electricity have been assured that there will be no serious opposition to their business model.

The bottom line: if you neglect all the offsets and loopholes, were aiming for a 4% reduction in carbon emissions from 1990 levels by 2020. Make your blood stir? Obamas not proposing real solutions to real problems; hes ticking off items on a list. He got a health care bill, and just maybe hell get an energy bill(though thats an increasingly slim "maybe"). But we dont need the bill, we need the thing.

Im putting this all on Obama, even though its clear that he cant do it by himself. Hed need a movement to make real progress. Thats the tragedy, though: hes already got a movement. He was elected with millions of us sending him money, knocking on doors, standing in snow banks with signs. He commands a standing army (albeit one thats growing rusty from disuse and a little demoralized).

And its not just here. Across the world, we at 350.org were able to organize giant demonstrations last year -- 5,200 of them in 181 countries, what Foreign Policy called the largest ever coordinated global rally of any kind." We did it the way Kennedy did, by rallying people around a hard goal instead of an easy one: 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide which, according to NASA scientists, is the most we can safely have in the atmosphere. Since were already past that point -- at 390 ppm -- we need to work harder than we could ever have imagined. We really do need to get off oil in the coming decade.

But to have a chance we need a leader. We need someone to stand up and tell it the way it is, and in language so compelling and dramatic it sets us on a new path. On this planet of nearly seven billion, at this moment in history, theres exactly one person who could play that role. And so far he hasn't decided.
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vaberella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-07-10 04:14 PM
Response to Original message
1. Obama is serious. He's just surrounded by a Congress that isn't & is owned by oil companies.

Shit like that doesn't make things easy.
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Enrique Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-07-10 04:19 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. yes, the author mentions that, among other difficulties facing Obama
(...)

Now, lets catalogue the differences: Kennedy had the Cold War to help him, along with an accelerating economy and a strong congressional majority. Obama presides over a fragile economy, a fractious Congress, and must deal with a lunatic right that, at the last Republican convention, came together around the slogan Drill, Baby, Drill.

Not only that, but the challenge Obama faces is so much tougher.
The Apollo mission was technically complex, but in a sense the very opposite of our energy challenge: a moon shot meant focusing all our energy on three guys and a rocket, while an energy revolution would mean, in essence, landing all of us on a different planet, one where we no longer need the fossil fuels that are currently the engine for our economy. So, advantage Kennedy. In addition, no organized interest was fighting the space shot -- if anything, big corporations were lining up for a piece of the action.

(...)
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Ozymanithrax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-07-10 04:18 PM
Response to Original message
2. If he were he would Channel John Kennedy...
"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of replacing oil with a cheap, sustainable, and renewable form of energy."
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Political Tiger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-07-10 06:43 PM
Response to Reply #2
15. Presidents have been saying we must end our dependence on oil since at least the 70's
But now, suddenly, it's all up to Obama.

And the people laying this burden on Obama are the same people sitting at home typing out this mandate on their keyboards (made from oil) drinking from a plastic bottle (made from oil) while reaching for the remote control (made from oil) to switch channels on the TV (made from oil) or putting in a CD (made from oil) in the CD player (made from oil) while lighting a candle (made from oil) to make the air smell pretty, putting on perfume (made from oil) so they smell pretty, getting dressed up in their best clothes (made from oil), freshly washed in their favorite detergent (made from oil), so they can look pretty.

This is after spending the day outside wearing their lovely sunglasses (made from oil) where they slathered sun lotion (made from oil) all over themselves and spraying bug spray (made from oil) around and on them so they don't get bit by bugs while tossing a football (made from oil) around or bouncing a basketball (made from oil) up and down or hitting golf balls (made from oil) into little holes dug into the artificial turf (made from oil) they were playing on.

All that play is a lot of work so they come home and jump in the shower, closing the shower curtain (made from oil) wash off the dirt with soap (made from oil) and clean their hair with shampoo (made from oil), then drying their hair with the hairdryer (made from oil) and shaving with their cheap plastic razors (made from oil) and shaving cream (made from oil), then putting in their contact lenses (made from oil) after brushing their teeth with minty toothpaste (made from oil) with their new toothbrush (made from oil).

Later on they get hungry so they open the refrigerator (made from oil) and pull out a plastic container (made from oil) to have a snack which they put on a clean plate (made from oil) which they just washed in the dishwasher (made from oil).....

Need I go on?

I remember Obama being mocked for encouraging people to check the air pressure in their tires.....now, how many of us have actually bothered to do that? Not many I bet!

So maybe instead asking Obama to channel Kennedy we should look in the mirror (made from oil) and channel Kennedy ourselves by asking not what our country can do for us, but by asking what we can do for our country!
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IndianaGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-07-10 04:23 PM
Response to Original message
4. No! He supports deep water oil drilling, as announced on March 31
Obama got a lot of money from oil, nuclear, and coal industry. Has safety improved in our coal mines? No. Are nuclear plants still leaking tritium into our soil an water tables? Yes. Is oil drilling off the continental shelf safe? Go to the Gulf of Mexico and see for yourself.
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polichick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-07-10 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. Extremely sad and infuriating - but true. This prez pretends to be "pragmatic"...
...when he's simply selling out - at a time when we desperately need WISDOM in the WH.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-07-10 04:27 PM
Response to Original message
5.  "John Kerry and Joe Lieberman -- a prime example of baby-step politics" Mischaracterization.
Maybe the author is interested in the alternative, which is likely where the Senate is heading.



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IndianaGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-07-10 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Joe Lieberman is a turd, staining anyone that comes into contact with him
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branders seine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-07-10 04:39 PM
Response to Original message
6. No
Edited on Mon Jun-07-10 04:40 PM by branders seine
He is serious about minimizing damage to the ruling class despite the catastrophic apocalyptic nature of their agenda.
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-07-10 05:04 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Huh?
What do rich people got that we ain't got?

And what do the powerful people got that we ain't got?

This is a Christian nation founded on everybody being equal.
And if Jesus ever comes back... he's gonna be pissed. Equally.
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branders seine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-07-10 06:19 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. everyone is free to be equal
or is that equally free?
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Jakes Progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-07-10 04:45 PM
Response to Original message
8. No evidence yet.
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polichick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-07-10 05:34 PM
Response to Original message
11. No more serious than he is about real healthcare reform and real financial reform...
This prez is all about tweaking around the edges - smoke and mirrors - while leaving the power structures intact.
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frazzled Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-07-10 05:46 PM
Response to Original message
12. Are you?
I don't mean ideologically. And I'm not trying to be snarky. I think we should all fess up to what we, ourselves, are or are not doing to break our dependence on oil.

I'll start:

We're not car-free, but we own one car for two people, and it is a hybrid that gets around 50 mpg. We put a little less than 7000 miles a year on it for the last 5 years. (A lot of that was in a 2 1/2 year period when we had to put my husband's mother in a nursing home that was about 18 miles away and we had to drive there three or so times a week; otherwise we usually walk, take the train or bus, and occasionally take the car out for big errands or the odd road trip). I figure if everyone used half the gasoline we'd save a whole mess of oil. (What do you think? Maybe 15-20% of total consumption?

We try to keep our thermostat down in the winter and up in the summer. But we could do way better in this capacity. One thing we do is to keep the furnace down in the winter and turn on the gas fireplace in our living room, where we watch tv or read. Maybe that's not saving much, but it's toasty and we're not heating the whole house.

We try to buy locally when we can (spring-autumn in our climate), even sometimes with meats (like local chickens and grass-fed beef). We also try to eat seasonally. No strawberries in February for us. We eat brussel sprouts in December and corn and tomatoes in July and August. We have a water filter system, so we don't buy bottled water (except for the occasional Pellegrino sparkling water, whose glass bottles we recycle). We ask for tap water at resaturants. Again, however, we could do way better.

I guess what I'm trying to say is: if you aren't making an effort to reduce your driving and/or driving a smaller, fuel-efficient or alternative fuel vehicle; watching heat and cooling consumption in your home; and trying to reduce the carbon footprint of the foods you eat daily, it's hard to ask about what Obama is doing.



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zalinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-07-10 06:32 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. I've put 26,000 on my mini van in 6 years
and that includes 2 trips to Arkansas from New York. I rarely use my vehicle more than once a week, and sometimes I miss weeks. Every trip is planned in advance to piggy back any other errands that need to be done, but was put off because I wasn't going in that direction.

I have a well stocked freezer and pantry, and keep back up supplies of things we use most. I had a garden last year, but had to cut back because of the blight that hit. I also cook in large batches and freeze individual portions for later.

I use everything to the nth degree. I re-purpose items at every opportunity, and have not bought new clothes in years. Everything is bought used if possible, and when it makes sense. I also recycle EVERYTHING that can be recycled and have a compost bucket in my kitchen.

But, then, I do the above because it's sensible, not because I'm making a statement.

Yes, there are things everyone can do on a personal level. But, it takes a leader to say, this is what we need to do and here's how we are going to do it. Obama either doesn't want to do that or thinks it's unnecessary. I really don't know. I don't know if he even thinks about what kind of environment he will leave to his girls, and his grandchildren.

But, this is what I do know. If we do everything possible to fix the earth now, the only drawback is that we will have a clean planet. If we do nothing or baby steps to fix the earth now, later may be too late for our children.

zalinda



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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-07-10 06:51 PM
Response to Reply #12
16. Very well said, frazzled! I'm happy to
say I've been car free for 4 years now! :bounce: And, get into all those other energy saving ways you mention.
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