Home > AGW, Catastrophism, Climate Change, Global Warming, Omniclimate, Policy, Skepticism > In The Obama Administration, Two Incompatible Faces On Climate Change

In The Obama Administration, Two Incompatible Faces On Climate Change

Is Climate Change such a high priority for President Obama as he sometimes claims it to be, and for what reasons exactly?

Apparently, US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu is convinced that “a shift away from fossil fuels is essential to combat global warming“. So for Chu the course of action is to change on Energy in order to deal with Global Warming. In other words _the_ problem is Global Warming, and Energy just a means to solve it.

In truth, though, Chu is (still?) not the person taking “the key decisions on energy and climate change policy“. That is in the hands of a restricted group headed by the “politically savvyCarol Browner, an Al Gore’s “acolyte” and President Obama’s Climate Czar.

Browner believes that climate change is “the greatest challenge ever faced“, so we are back to Chu’s stance.

However, there are still all indications that the President himself takes a different approach, considering Climate Change as just one part of the wider issue of Energy, and not viceversa. For Obama himself, in other words, _the_ problem is how to get a safeguarded and stable supply of Energy, and Climate Change just a politically useful, additional reason to push for it.

As an example to support the above, take the President’s speech at Costa Mesa Town Hall Meeting, last March 18. The one and only mention of climate change is in an undescript part of the full text, and just as a corollary to the Energy problem. It is so tiny, I am underlining the relative sentence to make it stand out:

Because we know that enhancing America’s competitiveness will also require reducing our dependence on foreign oil and building a clean energy economy, this budget will spark the transformation we need to create green jobs and launch renewable energy companies right here in California.  It makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy.

It invests in technologies like wind power and solar power and fuel-efficient cars and trucks powered by batteries like the ones I’ll be seeing in Rosemead tomorrow, all of which will also help combat climate change — because the weather is already nice in Orange County, we don’t want it to get warmer.

Just as interestingly, there is talk about Energy but no Global Warming or Climate Change even when the President makes a list of upcoming challenges

Well, I say our challenges are too large to ignore.  The cost of health care is too high to ignore.  The dependence on oil is too dangerous to ignore.  Our education deficit is too wide to ignore.

What will Czarine Browner think of the above?

Politically, the situation appears to be on the edge of untenable: if they really believe in what they are saying, Gore’s “acolytes” will not be able to accept being simply a “side-show”, subordinate to Energy. And if the President wants to carry forward the “Yes, we can” mantra, there will be no much space left to the doomers and gloomers. As I wrote last November:

Climate Change has been explicitly presented time and again as “THE challenge for the present generation” by the likes of Al Gore. Well, Barack Obama’s “Change” is enough of a generational challenge in itself, much bigger than Climate Change and perfectly capable to outlive it

  1. Bobiscold
    2009/03/23 at 23:07

    Prez Clinton did a good job of keeping Czarina Browner under control while she ran his EPA. If he had not kept her under control, we would all be living in grass huts (which will be OK when global warming fully sets in). Mr. Obama on the other hand may not be able to control these left wing loonies he appointed to his energy positions. They have no intention of letting our economy recover and for free markets to exist. Ms Browner left a socialist think tank to assume her position. She and her friends think the Cubans live beyond their allotted carbon foot print. It will be fun to watch the new order try and control us through the internet and the media with no electricity. (I have a generator and lots of fuel just like Babs Streisand).

  2. 2009/03/23 at 14:39

    We’ve got to be united to save earth! Earth Hour is practised at large scale in all developed and developing countries but there has been more publicity and awareness this year, as well as participation from large corporations like http://www.commit21.com/ which is a good sign – that there is still hope and that people still care!

    Let’s all do this, no matter where you are! Saturday, 28 March 2009. Lights off from 8.30pm to 9.30pm!

    Nature Concern

  3. 2009/03/23 at 12:49

    Good post, and this chimes with the content of Obama’s inauguration speech back in January, which was more about energy security than climate change (BBC’s cut-and-splice job, notwithstanding.) It will be interesting to see how he proceeds.

  4. 2009/03/22 at 23:47

    thank you Geoff. People like Chu and Browner are still quite useful at the moment. Let’s see how long will that moment last…or perhaps, they’ll be the ones to go, claiming either complete success (for them) or abject failure (for Obama)

  5. geoff chambers
    2009/03/22 at 23:28

    Congratulations. Your analysis is a thousand times more interesting than that of dozens of Washington “insiders”, no doubt because you are more interested in the issue than in the personalities of the actors, and therefore more attentive to what is actually being said and thought than are the cognoscenti who view issues through the prism of Washington politics.
    I suppose Obama, as a typical product of the American political machine, is in the habit of viewing global warming – and everything else – from the point of view of his electoral base, as interpreted by the party machine.
    Once in power, if he has retained any power of rational thought, he will be shaking off the shackles of party politics and attempting to govern the country according to principles of sensible politics. And in a country dependent on coal for a large proportion of its energy, getting America moving again means sidelining the likes of Browner, Chu and Holdren. The resignation or sacking of one of his high-profile green science / environment advisors may prove a more significant “tipping point” in the global warming saga than any number of statistics on global mean temperatures or arctic ice extent.

  1. 2009/06/12 at 18:00
  2. 2009/03/23 at 06:59

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