What a difference a few years — or even a few months — makes on the President’s clarity about the false choice between jobs and environment:
Obama (4/09): “The choice we face is not between saving our environment and saving our economy. The choice we face is between prosperity and decline.”
Obama (10/09): “There are those who will suggest that moving toward clean energy will destroy our economy — when it’s the system we currently have that endangers our prosperity and prevents us from creating millions of new jobs.”
Obama (3/12): “There will always be people in this country who say we’ve got to choose between clean air and clean water and a growing economy, between doing right by our environment and putting people back to work. And I’m here to tell you that is a false choice. That is a false choice. With smart, sustainable policies, we can grow our economy today and protect our environment for ourselves and our children.
Obama (11/12): “There’s no doubt that for us to take on climate change in a serious way would involve making some tough political choices. And understandably, I think the American people right now have been so focused, and will continue to be focused on our economy and jobs and growth, that if the message is somehow we’re going to ignore jobs and growth simply to address climate change, I don’t think anybody is going to go for that. I won’t go for that.”
Uhh, Mr. President, that isn’t “the message” — and it isn’t even “your message.” Heck, it isn’t even true!
It’s inaction that is costly (see IEA’s Bombshell Warning: We’re Headed Toward 11°F Global Warming and “Delaying Action Is a False Economy”).
John Broder at The New York Times has a good piece taking the president to task for his flip flop. Broder cites Obama’s remarks on climate from his recent press conference (fourth quote above) and writes:
This assertion – that the nation cannot address its climate and environmental challenges while also dealing with jobs and the economy – is at odds with the approach that Mr. Obama has taken since early in his presidency. He often touted the benefits of “green jobs” as an antidote to a stalled economy, and devoted some $90 billion of his 2009 stimulus package to a variety of measures that he said would save energy, clean up the atmosphere and create jobs.
Earlier this year, Mr. Obama accused Republican critics of wrongly pitting the economy and the environment against each other….
Broder then cites the third quote above from March of this year. How soon they forget?
But does the NY Times literally call this lame flip-flip by Obama “lame”? Well, they managed to find some center-left climate blogger to do that for them:
Joseph Romm, a former Energy Department official who runs the influential Climate Progress blog at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning research and advocacy group with close White House ties, pronounced the president’s climate comments “lame.”
“I think it’s hard to know what’s going on inside his head, because he certainly understands the issue,” Mr. Romm said in a telephone interview. “I think he thinks a tax deal is going to be very hard and he doesn’t want to make it harder by injecting a carbon tax into the mix.”
“It was a very wishy-washy statement,” he added. “I just think his advisers are telling him to deflect the issue entirely.”
The public also doesn’t believe in this false choice (see “Poll: 75 Percent of Americans Support Regulating CO2 As A Pollutant, 60 Percent Support Revenue-Neutral Carbon Tax“).
But the worst thing is that that president has articulated the absurd nature of this false choice better than almost any other leading political figure of our time. Go to the White House website and read the article from April 2009 with the banner headline:
“A Choice Between Prosperity and Decline”
You can read the President’s entire speech on the subject, which explains:
Now, the choice we face is not between saving our environment and saving our economy. The choice we face is between prosperity and decline. We can remain the world’s leading importer of oil, or we can become the world’s leading exporter of clean energy. We can allow climate change to wreak unnatural havoc across the landscape, or we can create jobs working to prevent its worst effects. We can hand over the jobs of the 21st century to our competitors, or we can confront what countries in Europe and Asia have already recognized as both a challenge and an opportunity: The nation that leads the world in creating new energy sources will be the nation that leads the 21st-century global economy.America can be that nation. America must be that nation.