The White House Twitter account tweeted a message today that exemplifies the conflict at the heart of the Obama administration’s climate and energy policy: set near-term targets for limiting greenhouse gas emissions while continuing expansion of fossil fuel extraction and development for the future.
Citing the U.S. Energy Information Agency’s Short Term Energy Outlook, the White House tweeted that U.S. oil production is at a 24-year high. Philip Bump at The Atlantic Wire (The White House Celebrates More Oil Drilling with Its Climate Change Hashtag) noted:
At the bottom of the tweet, the suggestion you share that news with the hashtag #actionclimate.
President Obama’s five-year-old climate tension in one awkward tweet.
The spike in oil production under Obama … has largely been the result of improvements in shale extraction processes. Or, in layman’s terms: fracking. … Fracking raises a long list of environmental concerns: water pollution, methane release at natural gas wells, even earthquakes. And, of course, climate change.
Climate Science Watch submitted comments to the U.S. State Department on the public review draft of the Sixth U.S. Climate Action Report. CAR-6 does not set post-2020 emissions reduction goals nor discuss the effects of near-term actions, such as promoting the rapid expansion of natural gas use, that may undermine longer-term efforts to curb emissions and phase out fossil fuels. The administration’s promotion of expanded natural gas fracking raises concerns about whether it will carry out an impartial assessment of the implications and risks.
Obama has adopted a forward-looking position on climate change. But his ‘all of the above’ energy policy, and particularly his full-speed-ahead support for shale gas fracking, raises the question of whether politics is impeding freedom of communication by government experts — and whether the EPA is thereby being impeded in doing its job of protecting the public against the environmental dangers of fossil fuel development.
Much of President Obama’s comprehensive new Climate Action Plan and energy policy is admirable and high-minded, but the eloquence masks some darker unspoken truths.