Year 2, Month 4, Day 11: Tearing My Hair.

The April 2 issue of the Boston Globe has a column by Derrick Jackson noting the seeming inability of our president to actually, you know, do or say something that might have an effect on the climate change front:

PRESIDENT OBAMA seems increasingly drained of the juice needed to power up a modern vision on energy. Completely absent from his address this week at Georgetown University was his promise as a candidate to go after windfall profits of oil companies and reinvest the money into wind, solar, and biofuels. Instead, he promised to expedite new shallow and deepwater oil drilling permits, even as top environmentalists say many questions remain after the BP spill disaster.

More than ever, he is wedded to pursuing “clean coal’’ and nuclear power. Meanwhile, radiation from the Japan nuclear disaster was measured thousands of times above safety levels in seawater and groundwater near the plant and in soil 25 miles away, at levels double those found in areas declared inhabitable around Chernobyl.

Most important, there continues to be no direct message to the American people that we are living in an unsustainable fantasy, consuming a quarter of the world’s energy. There was no hint of things that would instantly make Americans rethink consumption, such as a gas tax. For the moment, the road-blocking Republicans are winning the day with an ethos symbolized by Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, a potential presidential candidate. Last week Barbour told Iowa Republicans, “We need more oil. We need more gas. We need more coal. We need more nuclear. We need more American energy.”

Jackson is one of the best columnists writing today; I’m very glad he’s at the Globe. This was sent April 2, and has been published:

The timidity of the Obama administration when it comes to the transformation of America’s energy economy is profoundly disturbing. The facts of climate change are firmly established, with only a few petroleum-funded contrarians on the fringes of a global scientific consensus. The economics of renewable energy look more attractive every day, as are the geopolitical ramifications of getting more of our national energy requirements from within our own borders. The long-term costs of fossil fuels are harder and harder to hide, as we confront the health effects and environmental impacts of our profligate burning of oil and coal. Why, then, is the President so leery of taking a strong stand? The pusillanimity of the present administration only makes sense when viewed diagnostically: the extent to which our politics is paralyzed on this issue is a measure of the disproportionate influence of big oil and big coal in our nation’s governance.

Warren Senders

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