Friedman’s Warning on Obama, Keystone, Warming

Years ago I disagreed with much of what Thomas Friedman, the illustrious New York Times columnist had to say, but a recent post of his has cocked my head.

I wanted to share an excerpt from one of Friedman’s recent columns about Obama’s first term and his dealing of the critical fossil fuel issue on the North American continent today: the Keystone XL pipeline. This project would transport massive amounts of an extremely viscous fossil fuel known as “tar sand” from huge fields in the Canadian province of Alberta all the way down to Texas. Such has been the aggravation that grandmas are getting thrown in jail blocking bulldozers and bike-locking themselves to the invaders (Darryl Hannah got cuffed, too). Oh, and the USA (world, more like) saw its largest ever protest calling for action on global warming back in February.

This is what one landowner has to say about the multibillion dollar project:

Imagine, one day, that a massive, foreign company decided to dig through your backyard without your permission… (and) when you went to law enforcement to try and stop the company, they brought in big city lawyers to try to throw your rights out the window. And, if tearing through your property weren’t enough, this company would expose you and your family to serious health risks and threaten the water and safety of your community — and potentially millions of other Americans, too. Sound like a nightmare? That’s exactly what’s happening to me.

Opining on Obama’s environmental performance during the past few years, Friedman writes [my emphasis added]:

I HOPE the president turns down the Keystone XL oil pipeline. (Who wants the U.S. to facilitate the dirtiest extraction of the dirtiest crude from tar sands in Canada’s far north?) But I don’t think he will…

…Face it: The last four years have been a net setback for the green movement. While President Obama deserves real praise for passing a historic increase in vehicle mileage efficiency and limits on the emissions of new coal-fired power plants, the president also chose to remove the term “climate change” from his public discourse and kept his talented team of environmentalists in a witness-protection program, banning them from the climate debate. This silence coincided with record numbers of extreme weather events — droughts and floods — and with a huge structural change in the energy marketplace.

By all accounts, we have less than a decade left.


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