Senator: Obama’s Action On Climate Change Is A ‘War On America’

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) went on Fox News on Wednesday to slam President Obama’s renewed push to take action on climate change. However, returning to the refrain that Obama has declared a “war on coal” appears not to be enough this time. Now, the coal-backed senator has upgraded his rhetoric to a “war on America.”

Mining and utilities account for Manchin’s second and third industry contributors. But Manchin is also a coal insider, maintaining an income of almost $2 million from a coal firm. Together, these can explain why he repeated the industry’s argument for climate inaction:

STEVE DOOCY (HOST): The President of the United States declared a war on coal and a war on jobs and essentially a war on West Virginia.

MANCHIN: Well, really a war on America. When you look at it from that standpoint, 8 billion-tons of coal is being burned in the world as we speak. The United States of America consumes about one billion tons. Now, what’s going to happen to the other 7 billion-tons? What’s going to happen to the countries that are consuming and using 7 billion and it’s increasing rapidly? Nothing is being done there. We have done more to clean the environment than ever in the last two decades. And there is more that can be done. The president is looking at scientists and whoever is advising him trying to meet standards that haven’t even been perfected because the government hasn’t worked with the private industries to perfect technology. We have. We’re caught in between right now, we have older plants, coal fire plants that would be retrofitted. But if try to retrofit them, they have to meet standards unattainable. So you know what they do? Nothing.

Watch it:

While Manchin claims there is no need to require coal plant upgrades, climate change will be unstoppable without immediate action to cut greenhouse gasses.

The multi-million dollar industry claim there is a “war on coal” also masks the economic forces that have sent coal shares plunging. In fact, coal employment was at its highest ever in 2012. Even the Weekly Standard acknowledged that coal exports have soared. But the coal industry is already mobilizing through the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity against Obama’s directives to enforce carbon pollution standards for existing power plants and cutting greenhouse gas emissions overall.

On Tuesday, Obama addressed these detractors. “The problem with all these tired excuses for inaction is that it’s a fundamental lack of faith in American business and American ingenuity,” he said. “You know, these critics seem to think that when we ask our businesses to innovate and reduce pollution and lead, they can’t or they won’t do it. But in America, we know that’s not true.”

30 Responses to Senator: Obama’s Action On Climate Change Is A ‘War On America’

  1. prokaryotes says:

    Shares of Peabody Energy have plunged 49% since hitting a 52-week high in November. Walter Energy has lost 75% of its value the past year and most of those losses have come within the past five months.

    Patriots divest!

  2. Bart Flaster says:

    I’ve always wondered how the FOX morning crew could live with themselves shilling so hard for the GOP so shamelessly.

    The more I think about it the more puzzling it seems. I guess the money makes all the difference though.

    I can’t wait for 2016.

  3. Chris Lyon says:

    He’s actually pretty wrong. China is looking to dump coal. They know there isn’t enough to sustain their growth long-term. India is looking towards renewables too. This is the direction on the world. And since when has “everyone else is doing it” been an acceptable excuse for anything?

  4. rollin says:

    Well, at least the President is starting to take some action.
    We need to give Climate Change national status so the US can declare war on it. Of course that would mean admitting that all these nasty storms and droughts are linked to Climate Change, that would be a tough go.

  5. David says:

    Joe Manchin (D-WV)
    $1,077,198 from dirty energy contributors:
    Time to end corporate welfare paid to dirty energy corporations and grow the renewable energy sector!

  6. SecularAnimist says:

    Just one more bought-and-paid-for stooge of the fossil fuel corporations, spouting one more pack of blatant lies.

  7. Will Fox says:

    The coal industry needs to be destroyed utterly, ASAP.

  8. Joan Savage says:

    Manchin was doing some pretty frantic feather-flapping there. He seemingly didn’t hear Obama’s point about opposing government-funded construction of coal-fired plants overseas. If Manchin could think internationally for a moment, that means not endorsing OTHER governments’ funding of coal-fired plants. That means exerting an effect through US foreign policy such as restricted funding for World Bank loans, and other avenues of influence.

    Besides China and India (see Chris Lyon’s comment) other countries that are vulnerable to coal development have been mapped by WRI.

  9. Yeah, and the coal industry has declared a war on the planet.

  10. Lou Grinzo says:

    I am convinced that a non-trivial part of Obama’s speech was a nifty bit of political leveraging, and Manchin seems to have bought it hook, line, sinker, rod, reel, and boat.

    Obama openly mocked the deniers, in effect putting this whole absurd, never-was-a-debate on the table and daring the deniers to walk away from their previous position or double down. Since all they know is “Attack!”, they doubled down.

    This tactic by the president is bordering on brilliant, as it opens the door for the deniers to be ridiculed and rejected by mainstreamers, which is the number one thing they don’t want. I and others have been saying for years that we longed for the day when CC deniers were lumped in the same category as the wack jobs who claim there’s no HIV/AIDS link, we never landed on the moon, smoking isn’t a health risk, or Elvis is alive and working third shift a Memphis 7-Eleven. Obama has taken a big step toward bringing that day closer.

    Our job now is to expose the deniers as much as we can and educate the general public about their (ahem) “interesting” view of reality.

  11. mulp says:

    Rather than going to war on Manchin, it is more important to go to war on McConnell because he forces Republicans to vote against the interests of their constituents.

    Until Republicans are free to vote in the interests of their constituents in their States and districts, republican democracy is harmed. Democrats are free to balance their local interests with the national and global issues. If you believe Congress should act only in the interests of the entire planet, then Americans should sacrifice their lifestyle to lift up the 80% of the population who are worse off than most of America’s homeless.

    The response to Manchin is something along the lines of “Joe, you are at war with US manufacturers of wind generators, at war with the small natural gas wildcatters who have flooded the market with cheap natural gas, at war with rural farmers who are staying in business thanks to wind and gas royalties. And Joe, are you going to build a vacation home on the plain created by mountaintop removal valley fill in your beloved Appalachian home? If coal mining is good for WV, surely you want to live in the midst of the mined out land left behind and that will define West Virginia for thousands of generations.”

    Rather than attack Manchin for not sacrificing WV to the climate, turn it into Manchin sacrificing West Virginia’s natural beauty to the profits from coal pillage and plunder, leaving only wasteland for future generations. Believe it or not, conservative voters in WV do not like the high handed destruction of their homes by global corporations, but they dislike government outsiders dictating to them more.

  12. Theodore says:

    Is there a recruiting office where I can go and sign up for the war on coal? I got all my gear together and I’m ready for basic training. Seeing people like Joe Manchin on the run excites my predatory instincts.

  13. Superman1 says:

    What else do you expect him, or Inhofe, or any other politician from a fossil energy state to say? Their constituents are making a reasonable living from mining coal, working on oil rigs, etc. If these go under, what will they do that can maintain their standard of living; manufacture solar cells; that could probably be done way cheaper in China. Manchin is saying exactly what his constituents want to hear; what is his real, not theoretical, alternative?

  14. SecularAnimist says:

    Lou, the “deniers” have moved on.

    Denying the scientific reality of anthropogenic global warming was always a tactic, nothing more.

    Now that denying the existence of the problem is no longer tenable, those who wish to obstruct and delay the inevitable phaseout of fossil fuels have moved on to denying the existence of a solution — or more precisely, denying the existence of any solution that will be acceptable to the public.

    That’s why you now hear Manchin, McConnell, and the rest of the fossil fuel industry’s stooges, loudly proclaiming that phasing out fossil fuels is a “war on jobs”, or a “war on the US economy”, that it will impose “draconian” sacrifices on everyone, that it will lead to a global Depression, that nothing we can do will make any difference anyway, and other such nonsense.

    Sure, the “old-time denial” will persist, like that “old-time religion”. There will always be a hard-core audience for it, and there will be fossil fueled shills pandering to that audience.

    But the main propaganda effort is now focused on attacking the solutions as too costly and the problem as insoluble.

    Defeatism is the new denial.

  15. robert says:

    Maintain their standard of living? Their standard of living includes a 50% greater risk for cancer, and 41% greater risk for birth defects.

    Not trapping another generation of miners and their neighbors is a big step toward elevating, not maintaining, their standard of living.

  16. Ed Ciaccio says:

    Manchin should have been kicked out of D.C. long ago for favoring the economy over the earth. Those who believe jobs will exist after the planet becomes uninhabitable are unfit to serve.

  17. TKPGH says:

    I just pasted Manchin on his Facebook page and urge everyone here to do the same. We need to demonstrate our displeasure.

  18. SecularAnimist says:

    The funny thing is, what Superman1 is saying here is exactly what Peabody coal says.

  19. M Tucker says:

    This is just the beginning. We will hear a lot more from Congress people and Senators who represent fossil fuel states. Since Manchin ran on an anti-cap’n trade platform this is completely expected and it is what he was elected to do by his constituents.

  20. Timothy Hughbanks says:

    8 billion-tons of coal is being burned in the world as we speak. The United States of America consumes about one billion tons…

    So what he is saying is that fewer than 4.5% of the world’s people are responsible for 12.5% of worldwide coal burning, and therefore it doesn’t make sense to try to reduce the coal burning by that 4.5% of the world’s people. That sounds logical…

  21. Timothy Hughbanks says:

    If Obama can say his policy is “all of the above”, Manchin can do at least do that too. Why doesn’t he ask West Virginians whether it might be better to to put wind turbines on mountain tops rather than plowing the mountain tops and toxic sludge into the valleys.

  22. Mike Roddy says:

    Look at Manchin’s eyes. There is nothing there. He wouldn’t have been elected dogcatcher in 18th century Boston, or even 21st century San Francisco.

  23. Mike Roddy says:

    Superman likes to blame the victims, Secular.

  24. Joe Romm says:

    The truth, which Sen. Byrd spoke.

  25. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    ‘Earth Trumps Economy’- only a Murdochian droog would think of that. Yes, indeed it does, for human beings. For the dead souls of the Right, nothing beats the feel of crisp dollar notes.

  26. Superman1 says:

    “I can’t wait for 2016.” That’s what people were saying about the 2008 elections eight years ago. As long as the electorate (for the most part) is satisfied with the status quo on climate change, the politicians won’t make meaningful proposals on the issue.

  27. Superman1 says:

    “rejected by mainstreamers”. Unfortunately, it’s the mainstreamers that are the main problem. They don’t want to give up their self-indulgence in the here-and-now to save the biosphere.

  28. Superman1 says:

    “it is what he was elected to do by his constituents”. Exactly; a breath of fresh air!

  29. robert says:

    Careful with that false narrative. The evidence-based narrative is this: Favoring the earth favors the economy — the economy that serves everyone, not just a select few.

  30. Superman1 says:

    I have a very complex algorithm for assigning blame: blame those who deserve blame!