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Guardian: ‘White House Officials … Gave Strong Indications The President Is Inclined To Approve The Keystone XL Pipeline’

By Joe Romm  

"Guardian: ‘White House Officials … Gave Strong Indications The President Is Inclined To Approve The Keystone XL Pipeline’"

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WashPost: “EPA likely to delay climate rules for new power plants”

The Obama Administration has, tragically, signaled it may retreat on two major climate issues.

The UK Guardian reported Friday:

Barack Obama’s grand vision of action on climate change shrank to $200m a year to fund research into clean fuel cars, with signs of retreat on the big environmental issues of the day….

But on the most immediate environmental decision in his in-tray — the future of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project – White House officials indicated on Friday that Obama’s green and liberal supporters would be in for a disappointment. Officials signalled that the president was inclined to approve the project.

I must say that this $200 million a year, which has zero chance of seeing the light of day in the Tea-Party-controlled House of Representatives, is perhaps the tiniest bone one could imagine throwing the climate community in return for a decision to help unleash the uber-dirty tar sands.

And as if that wasn’t enough to suggest Obama’s recent strong words on climate (“If Congress Won’t Act Soon To Protect Future Generations, I Will“) were just that — words – the Washington Post reported on Friday:

The Obama administration is leaning toward revising its landmark proposal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants, according to several individuals briefed on the matter, a move that would delay tougher restrictions and could anger many environmentalists.

I have also heard from a source very familiar with the regulatory process that EPA now believes it screwed up the initial proposal, potentially subjecting it to court challenge.

Rewriting the proposal would significantly delay any action…

While the move could bolster the administration’s legal justification for regulating power plants’ carbon emissions, any delay on the rules would be a blow to environmental groups and their supporters, who constituted a crucial voting block for President Obama and other Democrats in last year’s elections.

As is typical of the WashPost, the administration’s moved is framed entirely as “a blow to environmental groups” rather, than, say, a blow to the environment itself or as a blow humanity.

The White House appears utterly clueless about the importance of these issues and the self-destructive nature of its “all of the above” energy strategy, as the WH official quoted by the Guardian makes clear:

The official dismissed environmental groups’ contention that building the pipeline would open up vast deposits of the Alberta tar sands, and so increase the emissions that cause climate change. “There have been thousands of miles of pipelines that have been built while President Obama has been in office, and I think the point is, is that it hasn’t necessarily had a significant impact one way or the other on addressing climate change,” the official said.

He added that Obama’s environmental policies would more than make up for any negative impacts from the Keystone XL project. “There’s no question of that.”

Seriously, that’s the White House defense for Keystone: We’ve opened thousands of new spigots for oil (and gas), so what’s one more?

Memo to White House: We are far past the point where breaking even on carbon emissions – or doing a little better than break even —  is a rational goal.

‹ EPA Fuel Economy Report: Americans Vehicles Saw 1.4 MPG Jump Last Year

California To Other 49 States: Can You Match Our Clean Energy Economy? ›

89 Responses to Guardian: ‘White House Officials … Gave Strong Indications The President Is Inclined To Approve The Keystone XL Pipeline’

  1. rollin says:

    These are are duly elected and appointed officials making decisions for us, just as the government is supposed to do.

    Of oourse there is always the old adage “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”

    • Ed Ciaccio says:

      But they are also supposed to consider our health, safety and welfare in making those decisions, instead of the higher profits of their Fossil Fools contributers. NASA climate scientist James Hanson has already said the XL Pipeline would be “game over” for a sustainable (for humans) planet. Obomber is irresponsible and guilty of criminal neglect if he takes these two steps, and, with his NDAA and illegal wars (Libya, Syria, Iran) and illegal drones attacks (Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia), is also a war criminal who should be impeached, prosecuted, and imprisoned for life (along with Bush, Cheney and that whole administration).

    • OK. Back to the turf. If the politicians don’t have the guts to fight this in the armchair, that means regular Americans are going to have to fight it out via civil disobedience and protest action on the ground.

      The Administration’s assertions are absolutely nonsensical. Keystone will certainly increase the tar sands exploitation.

      And since when did the Washington Post become so anti-environmental??

      • The whole MSM journalism culture is anti-environmental, with a few exceptions that, by standing out like sore thumbs, prove the rule. As far as most journalist are concerned, “environmentalists” are just another interest group, like “unions,” or “gays,” or “libertarians.” But while those groups are campaigning on behalf or their own agendas, environmentalists are campaigning on behalf of the planet — the life-support for all people and all agendas.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        Your naivete is touching. The WaPo is a major propaganda organ of the Rightwing plutocrats who own and operate your country. For those creatures, for some time, environmentalists and environmentalism have been seen as the greatest threat to capitalist totalitarianism, hence the unrelenting, and rapidly increasing, hostility to the movement. And you ain’t seen nothing yet!

  2. john says:

    It’s too late to do anythying on climate change, but 55,000 square miles of life destruction by the extraction of this oil is beyond imagination.

    • Bob Geiger says:

      Please clarify what you mean by “It is too late to do anything on climate change.” This is a dangerous way of thinking. Surely, you don’t mean that any actions we take now will have no effect on the climate. So what is it that you do mean?

      • Ray Duray says:

        Bob,

        You might care to take a quick peek at what is happening in the Arctic right now. We’ve had an unprecedented early breakup of the winter’s ice cap. This coming week temperatures just north of Greenland are expected to be 40 degrees C. above normal.

        We may well have crossed a tipping point into a new climate regime in the northern hemisphere.

  3. Sad news. Big Fossil Fuel money influence, not science. I am ready for civil disobedience…

    • David F Collins says:

      Agreed. Last time I was in civil disobedience was in the 1950′s. It seemed to work then; will it work now? At least I will not risk alienating my close family now!

    • paul magnus says:

      At least you’ll feel better for it….

    • Agreed. Time to sign up with 350.org. Ask McKibben when the next big protest is.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      What do you plan to do with the capitalist plutocrats who cause all this destruction, let alone their paid political stooges and the vast police and para-military forces of repression that they have built up, just for this eventuality?

  4. BillD says:

    Pretty disappointing if these policies come to pass. In the mean time, the media, GOP and most people just continue to ignore climate change and its devestating impacts. We worry about whether a two-bit dictator in North Korea will be able to follow through and actually want to follow through in a nuclear attack on US soil–extrememly unlikely. In the meantime we ignore threats that are even more damaging and practically 100% certain. In the meantime, if I write to my representatives in Congress, I feel like the only person with these concerns.

  5. BillD says:

    Bird Thompson: I’ll probably retire in about 5 years. I want to travel, stay fit and do volunteer work in my community. However, I am also ready for civil disobedience when I retire. Sorry to say, that my job is still a high priority and at least involves teaching college students about ecology, so I have some opportunity to get the word out about the threats of climate change.

  6. “As is typical of the WashPost, the administration’s moved is framed entirely as “a blow to environmental groups” rather, than, say, a blow to the environment itself or as a blow humanity.”

    Exactly so. Journalism has become a soap opera. It’s all about manufactured conflict and drama.

    • john atcheson says:

      That’s a really valuable insight. When everything becomes part of the political food fight, the reality of events is a casualty. Maybe that’s one reason people don’t understand the gravity of climate change — the press renders it one step removed from real consequences in the real world!

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Conflict is manufactured alright, deliberately and with cold calculation. It is easy to see why. The Bosses, they who own the MSM and the presstitutes who infest it, require society to be divided against itself, because it makes their task of ruling society and looting the common wealth that much easier. The MSM here, the Murdoch excrescence in particular, spends most of its editorial energy on vilification, character assassination and demonisation of many, many groups. The Howard regime remained in power for eleven evil years by assiduously co-operating with News Corpse in fomenting and fostering fear and hatred, and reaping the votes of bigots. A lot of bribery at election time rounded out a ‘winning formula’. Society here is now more divided than ever, and political hatred, overwhelmingly from the Right, is visceral and vicious. When we hit the skids, soon, from economic implosion and ecological collapse, it will be well-nigh impossible to harness and collective solidarity, because the Right has worked for decades to destroy it. It smacks of ‘socialism’.

  7. Bill Wilson says:

    With no standard in place or developed to carry the toxic brew of TarSands the administration official shows grand ignorance of TarSands that is not conventional or just another of the endless Pipes. Comprehensive review makes it a crime against humanity and our government should so be tried. State Department has clearly been corrupted yet Kerry must have some integrity and should begin the comprehensive review. From lying about the ;number of jobs to ignoring the cancers downstream and the real increase in toxic air for asthma whereever it is burned the list grows almost daily of know problems including holes in existing pipe. Playing golf and winking at the Southern leg makes the President the denier in chief and a sell out of America. As a voter for him we once again see corporate socialism and the corruption that lets our govenrment even facilitate the killing of children if it means more profits and a happy lobby/government revolving door for their future. Ashamed to be an American if this goes through.

  8. paul magnus says:

    Direct Action is required.

  9. toby says:

    Time for the climate movement and the Greens to announce they will run a Ralph Nader type candidate for President in 2016 and to hell with the consequences. It should put the wind up the Democrats … if Biden or Hilary Clinton are serious about a run in 2016, they may sit up and remember what happened to Al Gore in 2000.

    If Keystone happens, what difference would a Romeny Presidency have made?

    • BobbyL says:

      Don’t hold your breath. Whomever is the Republican candidate for president, keeping that person out of office will be main concern of most climate activists as well as most environmentalists. Relatively few would consider a third party candidate. What is not certain is who the Democratic candidate will be. The best hope is that the person will be strongly committed to action on climate change. I don’t see either Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden meeting that criterion so it would have to someone who is not now being considered. Probably someone like Ed Markey.

      • I was thinking Jennifer Granholm until I found out she was born in Canada, and thus can’t be President of the U.S. of A. Shucks! I’d vote for Al Gore any day. In fact, I did vote for Al Gore, along with the majority of Americans…but that’s water under the bridge.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        What happens when the ‘strong commitment’ turns out to have been phony, or hits the immovable object of elite money power, head on?

    • Daniel Coffey says:

      Yes, Ralph Nader, the fellow who helped GW Bush win and changed the world for the worse. Someone like that will surely make sure that the Koch Bros. are stalled in their efforts. Really, is this what people think?

      • toby says:

        You are missing the point … if the Democrats are depending on the words “Ralph Nader” and “Election 2000″ to whip climate-aware voters back into line, then we better teach them to think twice.

        If the Democrats are going to retreat on every line of environmental policy, then what difference does it make to vote for them? Might as well let the Republicans screw everything up, and maybe hasten change in the longer run.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      There was an infinitesimal chance that Romney, if elected, might have revealed some ecological insight. After all, he was unlikely to govern as the stooge of others. He may have, just possibly, understood the stakes at risk. There was never any such chance with Obama who is, was, and ever shall be a front-man, the smiling public face of not-so-hidden powers pulling his strings, rather visibly, from behind the scenes.

    • MarkfromLexington says:

      Mayor Bloomberg

  10. Mike Roddy says:

    Obama was never on our side. All you have to do is recall his television appearances after the Deepwater Horizon spill, when he parroted BP claims about the amount of oil spewing out. As CP reported, it was 10 times that. Since then, Obama has gotten worse, blowing off Copenhagen, refusing to consider a carbon tax, massive drilling and coal mining on BLM land, etc.

    Our leaders are going to have to alienate the fossil fuel industries. If they don’t, nothing will change.

    Nader is kind of old, but a strong third party candidate might do some good. Maybe we can get Markey or Inslee to bolt.

    • BlackDragon says:

      It was exactly Obama’s response to the BP incident that showed me his true colors. Never since have I believed there is anyone with integrity inside that suit.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Remember Nader’s observation on Obama being elected in 2008. ‘Prepare to be disappointed’.

      • “Our leaders are going to have to alienate the fossil fuel industries.”

        That is the nub. The dilemma is you can’t get elected if you go too far.

        The fossil fuel companies have a powerful ally: anyone who uses gas. that’s why they’re so untouchable. They can paint a picture of a world where everybody has to buy a new car, or can’t afford to drive to work, and the conversation is pretty much over.

      • paul magnus says:

        Let’s face Obama knows how big the stakes are. He probably wants to stick around. Others haven’t for less…

  11. Michael Berndtson says:

    Maybe Obama said screw it long ago and purposely let go of the tug-a-war rope – which may cause the other side to fall on their behinds rather than pull him over the line. Give national/international security everything they want. Give fossil fuel unencumbered access with regulatory-free drilling and processing support. Give the banks full autonomy with no oversight. Lock down the internet for all those interested.

    I’m not sure if this is much of a policy position – or good for the entire planet – but, hey he is a blue dog Democrat with commonsense, centrist, adult conversational, practical, real world ideas. That somehow are not the same as selling out.

  12. john atcheson says:

    Every four years Obama leans left for a few months and spouts progressive rhetoric and we think we’ve seen the “real” Obama.

    But it appears that the real Obama is the preemptive capitulator we see the rest of the time.

    Time to take to the streets, and seriously consider a 3rd Party.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      That is what people were saying before the last Presidential election, but Obama ‘fooled you twice’- so shame on you. His next task is to so disillusion the Hope Fiends that they will give up on voting, for 2014 for sure, but, hopefully for Obama’s controllers, forever. He has been the greatest disaster for what passes for ‘the Left’ in the USA, ever, but if you learn the lesson, dump the corrupt Democrats, and start something new and honest, then it might be ‘blow-back’ in the rulers’ faces. Stick with the Democrats and, believe me, you are well and truly stuffed.

      • paul magnus says:

        Was there any other choice?

        • Scarlet Pimpernel says:

          Yes her name is Jill Stein but the mms wouldn’t give her any air time, she wasn’t allowed to debate…and all the hooey changed liberals made clear, as they have here, that they are so petrified of romoney that they won’t vote for a green candidate.

          So, y’all deserve what you are getting.

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

          The Greens or abstain. The duopoly is, and has always been, hopelessly compromised by its loyalty to money power. That is unarguable, but always denied, if the subject is even mentioned.

  13. I’m not surprised by any of this, but I am sickened and depressed.

    As Joe pointed out, this really has nothing to do with “environmental groups” and their agendas. It has to do with the health of the planet.

    We have already crossed the line — 400 ppm and 0.8ºC is wreaking havoc around the planet. To do nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing about it, is criminal.

    As likable as Obama is, I’ve never quite trusted him since he sold out on the country’s chance to have universal health care and opted for “not reinventing the wheel,” meaning giving the store away to the health insurance companies. It’s also been more of the same on security issues (torture, drones, killing Americans without due process, spying on Americans, etc., etc.). Aside from the future auto fleet emissions standards — which are really quite inadequate as a response — can anybody name a single thing Obama or his administration has done to combat global warming?

    If anything, they’ve made it worse by opening up all kinds of fossil fuel exploitation opportunities. “All of the above” is worse than “more of the same.”

    Meanwhile, the drought is settling into the midwest, probably permanently, the ice ain’t coming back to the Arctic and so on. Are these people F*cking Blind!?!

  14. ltr says:

    This is President Obama, so why be surprised that every promise is broken. No exceptions, Obama just breaks promises.

  15. Bill says:

    Malia and Sasha,

    Your Dad is going to sell out your futures!

    • paul magnus says:

      Yes a concerned effort should be made at M n kids to see if they can influence president.

  16. BlackDragon says:

    What were those grand words about our responsibility to future generations?

    “I am so deeply afraid of taking a real stand, even if only a small stand towards a much greater good, that I will instead turn my back on any higher purpose, and thereby capitulate to the most craven and destructive demands of a terrible system that I know, in every bone of my body, is going to wreck your future, and the futures of everyone else in your generation and countless generations after, on the shoals of a thousand sorrows.”

    No, that wasn’t it. But the echo of President Obama’s words is so close to being dead, that I’m having a hard time recalling them.

    So very sad, if this does come to pass. No, actually, not sad. Just miserably small and worthy of great pity.

    Hopefully there is still room for a miracle in some almost silent corner of President Obama’s conscience. It is possible.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      I very much doubt it. This fellow is well programed.

      • BlackDragon says:

        Yes, his programming, and self-programming, has reached such an apex of art, that it seems like yet another perfect sign that we are truly at a world shift.

        The perfect hollow man, to serve as peak exemplar of our all our hollow creations.

        We can do infinitely better than this zero.

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

          Have you read ‘Robopaths’ by Yablonsky? The research and endeavour to produce the Obamatons has been going on for centuries. In politics today we get a ‘choice’ of dissemblers, psychotics, fools or opportunists. I remember when a good many politicians, even on the Right, were at least intelligent, knowledgeable and reliable, in that they stuck to their ‘principles’ (even when they were, in my opinion, mistaken). Today, I really cannot think of many admirable politicians, business leaders or MSM journalists. A handful at best. The good ones, and the type, were purged in the great reaction of the last forty years.

  17. Tom P says:

    This is sickening. There’s no other reason to cave in unless Obama’s angling for a really big payoff when his second term is over: a top spot somewhere in the oil-and-gas industry.

  18. BobbyL says:

    I haven’t heard Obama ever say anything which suggests he will reject Keystone. As far as I know he has never made a public statement linking it to climate change. You would think if he was going to reject it he would be tossing out some statements which would suggest a possible rejection. Perhaps even just to get political feedback. From his previous statements and the State Department environmental assessment it is hard to see on what basis he would reject the project. I think the major reason he will approve it is to give the US and its allies a huge source of oil should for any reason the supply of oil be cut off from the Middle East, where the majority of conventional known oil reserves are located.

    • BlackDragon says:

      I think you are right, that Obama has never directly hinted that he would reject Keystone. Just mouthed a lot of words which some then took to mean something specific to their own wishes.

      The most likely outcome in my view is that as cheap oil depletes (it is past peak) our economy won’t stand for the ever higher prices needed to extract more and more of the tar stuff. It can’t, in fact, stand the higher prices now, and it is only through black voodoo Fed actions that we are still above water, even a little.

      But that cannot last, and the reckoning will soon be at hand. Or in less biblical terms, we’ll be living in an energy world that works differently than now.

      Whether we can do this without radical further destruction on the down-slope will depend on lots of people listening to their better natures during times of great stress. This is possible. Not reasonable or rational to expect, but very possible.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        People with ‘better natures’ will always act altruistically. What percentage do you think that they represent of the current US adult population, or any other Western country where the Right has been totally dominant for forty years or more?

        • BlackDragon says:

          Probably only 10% have the combination of leadership and altruism skills to step into strong, visible roles, and make a huge impact for positive change. Maybe another 50% can be inspired to follow, sooner or later, and be inspired bring forth even more of their own better natures.

          But that remaining 40% can do lots of damage. Especially if they get their own “great leaders.” Plenty of examples through history of what to watch out for.

          • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

            I met a fella at work the other day from Heilongjiang (Black Dragon River)-not your stamping ground, is it? Our 40% have a Great Leader already-Tony Abbott. He has been sent us by his vengeful God (no, not Rupert). And all those ‘nasty’ types, Greens, refugees, unionists, Moslems etc, will be chastised, you can rest assured. As his mentor, the imperfectly formed, yet still small, John Howard, observed, ‘The times will suit me’. In fact, it was ‘The Australian’, not The Times, that suited Howard, and the News Corpse alliance with the hard Right is firmer, yet more rotten, than ever, under Abbott. Talk about ‘living in interesting times’.

  19. Lou Grinzo says:

    No one here should be the least bit surprised by this news.

    Remember FDR’s famous line about wishing people would make him do what he knows is right? This applies to Dems and the climate crisis more than just about any other situation you can name in the US today.

    It’s not just a matter of getting the right person in the WH, but one of making it unmistakeably clear to members of the House and Senate that they will pay a political price for not doing everything they can to head off hell and high water. As long as there’s a sizable portion of the electorate that is either deniers or totally disconnected from the climate issue, it’s ridiculously easy for Republicans and DINOs to vote against anything green with impunity.

    We need to be vastly smarter and more coordinated than we have been to date, in order to overcome ignorance and the immense leverage of money from fossil fuel corporations and similar entities. Until we manage that, nothing will change, which is to say: The impacts from climate change will have to become so painful and so expensive that they overcome our tendencies and habits. One can only guess how much trouble we will have locked in by the time that happens.

    • Lore says:

      I agree, but all that takes money, power and influence. The very tools of the opposition. Where does all that come from? Heretofore, environmentalists have been going to a gun fight with a knife.

      The election process so far has only produced a succession of feckless actors when it comes to matters of the climate and energy. I very much doubt however, that splitting the ticket by nominating a third party spoiler will help much. Especially, if all it does is help the party you’re actually against to get elected.

  20. Brian R Smith says:

    Nothing clears the mind and causes a rethink of what’s necessary quite like friendly fire that looks like it was in fact planned. But once the venting on this betrayal subsides and it’s conclusive that Obama doesn’t get it & won’t be leading, there’s no time for grieving.

    The climate movement is a creature with a very large brain but no clear idea of its own strength. It could uproot denial and shift the odds in Washington climate politics. It could educate & empower the public; help win back the House; bring stakeholders together on policy. Coordination is lacking. Media strategy isn’t functional. Creature not fully awake.

    • Mike Roddy says:

      Media strategy is nonexistent. Activists are afraid of not being covered, so they grovel to the media. It’s time to confront them instead, or search for a new high quality newspaper and TV network. Most people still have no clue about what we face, and that is both deliberate and negligent.

      • BlackDragon says:

        I think most people have a very good clue about what we face, but they keep that clue wrapped up and safely stored away in the more shadowy corners of their minds, not to be looked at or acknowledged for what it is, and what they know, in their hearts, it means.

        We think events will change this. Then we have events. And nothing particularly interesting happens. When worse events start to happen, most will be concerned, as always, with what will get them through the next week or month.

        I think we need to acknowledge now that we are all in different boats, in the same tossing sea. We say “we are all in the same boat” – but really nothing could be further from the truth. You don’t live in another’s mind, and that is really all we know, our own minds.

        You can do what you think is best to steer your boat, shout encouragement to other boats, and help others who may come your way looking for navigational guidance, but getting to the next safe shore is in your own hands, along with those in the same small boat with you.

        • Brian R Smith says:

          I couldn’t disagree more. There is survival and longevity in numbers. I want to travel with a fleet of boats to wherever we’re going. As to passively waiting for events to happen and then finding that “nothing particularly interesting happens”, this is not recommended good seamanship.

          • BlackDragon says:

            There is survival and longevity in numbers. Yes, as long as those numbers make sense. 7 billion humans running a massive ponzi scheme counted in trillions of dollars based on imaginary ideas about the edibility of money – well, that doesn’t make much sense, and it won’t be around much longer.

            It is actually the passive attitude, that “events will wake people up” that I am referring to. Good seamanship is almost nonstop action and anticipation of events, you are very right. I love sailing.

          • Brian R Smith says:

            Understood, Black Dragon. I’m happy to know when I read-in something not intended.

  21. Bill Wilson says:

    And now the invisible person can take th message back that America will not accept the self inflicted wounds until he leaves office or goes golfing with Tiger Woods and the carbon industry. I feel very betrayed by our election process that was sold to the industries of death from weapons and carbon. Hilary and her ties to State where corruption revealed and first four years got a pass from most but now the clear sell out is clear unless this fake messanger goes back to say it won’t fly.

    • Lore says:

      Is that why they put up guys like Bill Nye as the spokesperson for the environmental side on CNN? Good grief, nice fellow, but I believe their afraid of anyone capable, like Joe here for instance, of articulating the matter all to well and pissing off sponsors.

      • Joan Savage says:

        Sponsors? Now there’s an idea.

        Environmental organizations could advertise on national news feeds.

        Is it supposedly too expensive?

        Or would it just take the cooperation of several organizations to come up with a single message and enough cash?

        • Yes. If the environmental movement really wants to fight this fight, it will need to do two things: (1) stop kissing up to the powers that be and, (2) get over fiefdomism. Unify.

          I read that there are 15-20 million members of various environmental organizations around the country, and climate change touches the concerns of every environmental group. What if each group gave 5% of its revenues to a nationally-coordinated climate change coalition. Go tell Senator so-an-so that voting for the climate bill would win him a lot of support — while voting agains it would buy him a nice primary challenge.

          Obama and the rest of the corpocrats aren’t going to do squat about climate change. It’s up to us

        • Brian R Smith says:

          The National Center for Charitable Statistics’ 2012 update on NGOs in the U.S. counts 57,425 groups (including 1,575! private foundations) dedicated to environment & conservation. Total 2012 revenues: near $17.8 billion. 1% of that is $179M, a respectable war chest. Even half a percent, $89M, to spend on collaborative messaging and networking every year would be a political game changer. Climate-issue voters, waiting for help to make sense of what to do about reality, are estimated at 35M.

          What’s missing is a War Room for strategy & execution, run by a flexible team, transparent, building on the competence & input of many organizations, sectors,leaders. No conflict with existing campaigns, better results from the synergy. A high level working group could be convened (by?) to hash it over and draft a plan. Everybody has little megaphones. Together, we could also have a very big megaphone. We have to start making a lot of sense and a lot of noise to have any hope of success.

  22. Bob Lang says:

    We are sitting on 3 ticking time bombs:

    (1) financial “house of cards”

    (2) liquid-fuels cliff

    (3) slow-motion nuclear holocaust (climate disruption)

    The bliss bubble we live in now represents the last 5 minutes of this story.

  23. Merrelyn Emery says:

    When does he actually announce the decision? ME

  24. Nan says:

    A limerick for St. Patty’s Day

    There was a president named Barry,
    On keystone xl he did not tarry
    When the pipeline was done
    The Kochs said, Good job, son!
    And environmentalists became his adversary.

  25. Mark Haag says:

    Stop analyzing Obama. If we aren’t willing to put ourselves on the line, why expect Obama to take us seriously?

    Every teacher in the country should engage in peaceful civil disobedience this summer. One location, many weeks, so no one can say they couldn’t make it.

    I’m in-how about you?

  26. Sasparilla says:

    And Lucie pulls the football away again! Not surprising in the least regarding the XL (he approved the Keystone back when oil was at a low for the last decade or so).

    I do have to say its sounding very discouraging that the emissions rules for new plants might have been messed up or open to legal challenge.

    Doesn’t exactly leave a lot of hope for what the administration is going to do to address climate change (existing plant emissions was the expectation)….Obama was going to be better than Romney (only because he’d support green energy at this critical time), but beyond that he is a road block to serious action – and has been since inauguration in 2009. Still, it’s disappointing.

  27. fj says:

    Unfortunately, it will be climate that will force the issue and it seems quite soon.

    It seems that Irene and Sandy are the beginning of cascading events.

    And the president will be forced to act but not with the decisive action setting the stage for turning this thing around decades from now.

    And maybe it will be the cities and states that must take leadership nowhere near what can be done on the national level with utmost urgency.

    And the losses will accelerate all because the people and the leadership of this country refuse to come together in time of great need.

  28. Anne says:

    Keystone XL approval, almost guaranteed – the writing has been on the wall on this for a long time.

    But delaying the EPA standards? For how long? Indefinitely? And what is all of this about the proposed ruling having some flaw that makes EPA vulnerable to lawsuits? I smell something rotten here. Lisa Jackson is too competent to let something dumb like that happen under her watch.

    Based on this last news — together with Obama’s “policy” on drones — and his administration’s total failure to support whistleblowers — I am no longer a Barack Obama supporter. I’m now tipped over the edge – as much as I want to like him, as much as I am proud that the US elected it’s first person of color in my lifetime – as much as he is charming and intelligent and has someone like Michelle at his side, I can no longer say in good conscience that I support our President. Very sad.

    • Kota says:

      I’ve a hunch the stinky smell has something to do with the Pacific trade agreement. It’s probably a lawsuit that we could stop coal exports if they don’t meet our new EPA standards. OMG!! We can’t have THAT!!

      man…I’m getting so cynical in my old age and then I find out I wasn’t cynical enough.

  29. RH says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEOp95yJbgU

    I just attended a Climate change Conference with Bernie Sanders (who I think really tries to do the right thing) and many others 4-5 hundred people in attendance – parking lot overfilled at Montpelier Vermont high School – people parking in the fire lanes so full – and guess what — it sure looks like the “Green talk” from these creatures in DC are just playing with you and me and planet. It’s an entire illusion – a facade – further more it was reported as Bill McKibben was being arrested for calling attention to halting the Tar Sands pipeline, Obama was golfing in Florida with Oil companies – I mean sticking your finger in the eye and laughing about this should really piss everyone off and get them motivaterd to go AROUND THE STINKING CESS POOL DYSFUNCTIONAL GOVERNMENT WE CALL OUR’S IN DC!!!!!

  30. Bob Geiger says:

    Could you please clarify this story? Should we be outraged that the Obama administration is considering weakening the greenhouse gas rule for new power plants? If this were true, we should be organizing and protesting. Or should we just be upset that the EPA bungled the original attempt at the rule, but not focusing our protest on this because they will fix it up after the delay? Please clarify.

    • Mark Haag says:

      maybe massive protests including arrests would help the administration sharpen their lawyering skills.

  31. I took my dog for a walk this morning. I took pictures of every rooftop solar installation along the way. Some facts emerged. All of the most recent (last 12 months) were lease installations. The growth is in that segment of the business. One location had in installation about 2 months ago, their neighbor had the same company do it last week. All of the homes were along the top of a ridge line and there are no installation on the East Side of the ridge. Old real estate rule about location applies here more than ever. I wonder how many of my neighbors will cut down their grey (digger) pine, or their non-native redwoods to get more sun. Not many.

    If, as it appears, that we have to do it ourselves, then there are a lot more limitations on what we can accomplish.

    With that in mind, I have come to the conclusion that Obama needs to know that the Keystone XL will NOT be completed. How many civil disobedience practitioners does he want to jail?

  32. Scarlet Pimpernel says:

    This article is silly for two reasons.

    One, the purported reason Keystone was targeted in the first place was to draw a line in the sand so that OBAMA will take a stand. If he approves it but in such as way that activists can dely it, where has he met the challenge set as a make or break issue by 350 et al? He would have simply eluded it and thrown it back at the environmentalists to fight it in courts and in the streets and in the media. If they claim that as some sort of victory they are worse pussies than I thought.

    Two, I fess up to once thinking that Obama was playing chess with a lot of promises he had made, and was only waiting for the right opportunity to at least TRY to fulfill them.

    That has turned out to be a total f**king joke. Universal health care? Hold war criminals accountable? Transparency? Regulate the banks? Civil liberties…pulease!! End the wars overseas??? Come on.

    I don’t know if he is a turncoat or just has no control, but it doesn’t really matter. The outcome is the same. Everything – LITERALLY everything – has gotten worse since Bush, not better.

    • Sasparilla says:

      Scarlet I understand what you’re saying on a lot of this stuff (pure climate change especially) but there has been some improvements since the peace prize winner took office…and it’s green energy & Obama has provided a stable environment for it to grow (which it has – 2012 was the first year where the biggest amount of new power generation installations came not from a fossil fuel, but wind. Solar has had huge drops in price and will fall further as time goes on & plugin vehicles are out there and will get much better and cheaper by the of te decade…with the other guys in the whitehouse this wouldn’t have happened – and we’ll need all these technologies when we finally try & stop this.

      • Scarlet Pimpernel says:

        But sarsaparilla – the climate doesn’t care if we build and use more solar, wind or other so-called green clean energy (which is vastly overrated anyway since it is constructed with fossil fuels and other no renewable resources). The climate only cares if we REDUCE emissions. They are not at all the same thing. Even if you want to try to make the case that emissions have been reduced in the US, that must be offset by the emissions we are responsible for by importing manufactured goods from Asia, and by exporting gas and coal.

  33. Fred Teal says:

    The bottom line is that we need a third party devoted to reducing emissions and providing a livable future for life on this planet. The party platform should also be able to rationalize and integrate resource depletion, including oil, and massive sovereign debt (i.e.financial mismanagement) in the calculus.

    Our experience with Obama has taught us that even the party most open to change is too deeply invested in the status quo and is unwilling/unable to ask voters to sacrifice our present standard of living for a modest livable future. This is probably because the evidence of disruption is still insufficient to motivate shared sacrifice.

    Our climate scientists have convinced us that we can expect a number of “Climate Pearl Harbors” in the near future.

    If we have an existing third party with clear environmental/resource/monetary goals already in place, when extreme climate events become unremitting, there will be an existing structure to constructively channel the despair and helplessness into political action.

    We should not waste the intervening time. We should organize, commit civil disobedience, make as much media noise as possible and create an alternative party.

    We need to be ready when things begin falling apart. If we can’t provide a rational alternative then, we can only expect people to rally around someone that offers massive authoritarian control.

    We need a younger person like Tim DeChristopher http://www.bidder70film.com/ who has not yet capitulated.

  34. Nick B says:

    What would be a suitable sentence for being found guilty of aiding and abetting mass ecocide?