OP-ED: Much Ado About Nothing, or Too Little, Too Late

Sean Patrick Miller June 29, 2013 0

By Sean Patrick Miller
YA BASTA! | www.seanmiller12.wordpress.com

“There are assumptions that if the keystone pipeline is not built … it will not make a significant difference in the net greenhouse gas emissions.”

-Dana Nuccitelli, M.S., physics, U.C., Davis

The pipeline is just a piece in a much larger puzzle. Photo montage by Peter Gleick

The pipeline is just a piece in a much larger puzzle. Photo montage by Peter Gleick

Physicist, Dana Nuccitelli, has studied and researched climate science, economics, and solutions to humanity’s environmental debacle, since 2006. He has been employed in the private sector, in Sacramento, California, as a consultant in environmental issues. Mr. Nuccitelli writes extensively on these subjects. In the U.K.’s The Guardian, he has written favorably about President Barack Obama‘s announcement that the US Environmental Protection Agency will regulate greenhouse gas emissions, and the importance of this action in addressing climate change by de-carbonizing the economy. Obama called for an end to tax breaks for big oil companies. He stated, “Billions of your tax dollars continue to subsidize some of the most profitable corporations in the history of the world. My budget once again calls for congress to end the tax breaks for big oil companies and invest in the clean energy companies that will fuel our future.” Obama called for an end to the subsidizing of the oil industry, empty words. His budget calls for congress to act. Again, we see the President of the United states neatly sliding past an issue, appearing like a man of the people and leaving the Executive Branch free from blame for inaction, while passive-aggressively allowing the blame to be heaped upon the Legislative Branch, knowing, full well, that the Rethuglican controlled U.S. Congress will do nothing to stand in the way of oil company profits. The Executive Branch wouldn’t either, but the American People aren’t supposed to know that.

Mr. Nuccitelli contrasts the prior administration of George W. Bush rather unfavorably in environmental issues, with the Obama administration. Bush delayed decision about the threat of greenhouse gas emission throughout his terms, leaving this issue to be handled by his successor. The “Decider”, was, as usual, undecided. Far be it for the scion of a petrochemical empire to do anything which might incur even the slightest damage to that industry’s ability to make obscene profits, or in any way cause harm to sister industries. Bush would see to it that polluters were protected. Nuccitelli reported that Bush ally, Speaker John Boehner, reacted to Obama’s call for vigilant oversight by the EPA as absolutely crazy, even though these already existing EPA regulations are a matter of federal law. Enforcement is the issue, and all that the Obama administration is calling for is enforcement of existing laws, something the federal government is often want to do. Any opposition to increased EPA vigilance by Boehner and his Rethuglican colleagues in Congress, who deny that climate change is human-caused, would be ignorant and illegal. However, as already stated, enforcement is the issue, and, in spite of President Obama’s skillfully crafted rhetoric, the president knows this. All Rethuglican acolytes of the Great John Boehner need to do is re-draft legislation, and the illegality would be removed. Politics is, after all, “the art of the possible”.

America still suffers from the deadly Bush Disease. Obama has said, “Make no mistake, the world still looks to America to lead. We have to all shoulder the responsibility for keeping the planet habitable, or we are going to suffer the consequences together”, a typical example of American hubris, not any different from that of Bush. America will lead the way, in a crowd of nations who have already acknowledged the issue of global warming, and who are already doing something about it. America has consistently denied it, and has done nothing to solve the problem. We keep reliving the title of The Ugly American(s). Obama promised to open up more US land to renewable energy, and work with developing countries to reduce emissions. Does ‘renewable energy’, here, mean more nuclear power plants? You can bet on it. Nuclear energy lobbyists provide the third line of the triangle formed by Big Oil and Coal mining, or for that matter, mining, in general.Obama addressed the controversial issue of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry 800,000 gallons of tar sands oil every day from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Construction of the XL pipeline awaits the president’s approval. Environmentalists see that decision as the true test of his commitment to tackle global warming. Government ambivalence is demonstrated in the aforementioned quote, by Nuccitelli. The bureaucracy is unconvinced that not building, or building, the Keystone pipeline will make a significant difference in the net greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions are the only concern. Vast and devastating environmental insult is only seen as collateral damage by corporate profit seeking.

Tar sands product is far more corrosive than regular petroleum product, and we have seen disastrous results from existing pipelines, when they fail. The effect of hugely corrosive tar sands product upon the walls of a pipeline, stretching from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, with environmental issues such as earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires, and floods factored in paints a dystopian, apocalyptic picture. Obama stated that it was up to the U.S. State Department to determine whether or not the administration approves plans to build the controversial oil pipeline from the tar sands of Canada, south, to refineries on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, skirting the issue, as usual. Gulf Coast? Texas? Once again, we witness Bush family influence in government. Obama is merely doing Bush’s bidding. As NAFTA was crafted during the Reagan Presidency and put into effect by Bill Clinton, does Keystone XL have its origins in the Bush years, only to come to fruition with Obama? Need I quote Hamlet? “Something is rotten in the State of Denmark!” We’ll see with whom John Kerry has climbed into bed. Never forget, also, President Obama still blathers on about “clean coal”. Who is really in charge, government or the polluters? Or, have business and government finally, totally melded? There is, of course, a name for that.

One wonders at the relationship of profit and loss. One also must remember who Barack Obama’s chief contributors have been, and who he owes the greatest debt for his position, the Wall Street Bankers, and who their ultimate controllers are: petroleum and coal investors. In spite of all the “Rah, rah, Obama!” rhetoric, and considering the influence of his real supporters, along with the strength of Boehner and his team, the American People must realize that, once again, they are viewing a paper tiger. As usual, we will witness profound government inaction, flavored with meaningless legislation.



**Feature Photo Credit: Tyrone Turner, National Geographic