Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Lake Side Power Station in Vineyard, Utah. (Photo: Mscalora/Wikimedia/cc)

 

Why Is the 'Climate President' Approving More Oil Drilling?

Miyoko Sakashita

 by Huffington Post

Something doesn't compute here.

Last week, President Obama rightly declared in his State of the Union address: "No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change."

This week, the Obama administration announced plans open up the Atlantic Ocean to oil and gas drilling and offer more lease sales in the sensitive Arctic waters off Alaska. Ramping up offshore drilling will not only raise the risk of disastrous oil spills and threats to wildlife, but will also deepen our dependence on the very fossil fuels driving us into the global climate crisis.

Here's the thing about dealing with global warming: You can't say you want to make it better and then do the opposite. Rhetoric won't curb carbon dioxide emissions and poetic speeches won't stop the seas from rising and the planet from warming.

Producing and burning what's believed to be recoverable oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean could release 15.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere - that'd be like adding the equivalent of nine years' pollution of all the cars, trucks, airplanes and other forms of transportation in the United States.

That's taking us in exactly the wrong direction.

Climate scientists tell us we need to reduce carbon in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million to avoid catastrophic, irreversible impacts. Today it's hovering at around 400 parts per million, so we have a long way to go.

The clock is ticking though. The decisions we make now about fossil fuels and energy development will have massive repercussions for future generations - coasts swallowed by rising oceans, dangerously warm temperatures, droughts, food shortages, deadly weather events, wildlife extinctions, the list goes one. We can still avert the worst that climate change will bring but the window for action is rapidly closing. And once it's shut, there's no going back.

President Obama ought to be banning offshore drilling in the Arctic and along the Atlantic coasts, not giving them new life. It's a disappointing and troubling move that casts a long shadow over his promises to finally tackle this crisis.

Yes, the oil and gas industries will be thrilled to sink their drills into these pristine places but the rest of us - people and wildlife today and tomorrow - will be left coping with a planet suffering from the terrible cost of policies that valued profit and greed over all else.

We can do better. And we must, before it's too late.


© 2021 Huffington Post

Miyoko Sakashita

Miyoko Sakashita is a senior attorney and director of the Oceans Project at the Center for Biological Diversity.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Still on Track to Win This Primary,' Says John Fetterman After Stroke

"The good news is I’m feeling much better," said Pennsylvania's progressive Lt. Governor, frontrunner in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate. "I'm well on my way to a full recovery."

Jon Queally ·


Buffalo Gunman's Racism Directly Tied to Mainstreaming of White Nationalism, Say Critics

"This hateful, white nationalist rhetoric is not just being spread by lone gunmen. It can also be found on cable news and in the rhetoric of politicians today."

Jon Queally ·


'It's a Fight They'll Get': Defenders of Abortion Rights March Nationwide

One speaker at the Ban Off Our Bodies rally in the nation's capital said that Saturday was just "day one of a 'Summer of Rage' where we will be ungovernable. Ungovernable!"

Jon Queally ·


'A Horror Movie': 10 People Murdered During Mass Shooting by White Supremacist in Buffalo

The alleged shooter, taken into custody by police, streamed the murders online where he also posted what has been described as a racist manuscript.

Jon Queally ·


Russia Cuts Off Electricity to Finland as Tensions Grow Over NATO Expansion

President Vladimir Putin told Finnish President Sauli Niinistö that joining the U.S.-European military alliance would be a "mistake."

Jon Queally ·

Common Dreams Logo