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Is Obama making the right environment decisions?

After a week in which the Obama Administration announced several major decisions -- opening new areas to offshore drilling, spelling out the details of tougher fuel-efficiency standards, and clamping down on "mountaintop" coal mining -- do you think the White House is on the right track on environmental matters?

Posted by Washington Post Editor on April 6, 2010 6:00 AM

Make a Comment  |  All Comments (15)

AGWsceptic99 Author Profile Page :

Since there is almost no chance that the true believers at the Washington Post will cover any serious news that is critical of their AGW GHG beliefs, I am publishing a link here just in case you missed it on Fox, where they actually do cover opposing points of view the way that the Post did some years ago:

"A group of 40 auditors from across the globe have released a shocking report card that flunks the U.N.'s landmark climate-change research report."

Here is a link to the article itself. This being an article critical of the global warming beliefs, I have no expectation that it will ever be mentioned in the Post. Would not be surprised to see this link deleted by the 'see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil' crowd that publishes mainly articles written by others that support their well established credentials as card carrying members of Al Gore's church.

AGWsceptic99 Author Profile Page :

Access to more oil is good.

Fuel efficiency standards may be the best the US can do, but something like increasing the Federal Gas tax by a few pennies each month for the next several years would be better. Europeans pay several times as much as we do per gallon of gas/diesel and, guess what, their cars are much more fuel efficient than ours because otherwise no one would buy them.

Use the money to pay for the infrastructure that didn't get built with the stimulus money. Fix the bridges. Build high speed trains and subways in the cities. Fix the highways. Use some to pay for health care.

Cleaner coal mining and cleaner burning of coal in power plants would be great, but not with the CO2 is pollution fantasy. Cleaner coal has been totally perverted by the CO2 nonsense. Burning coal produces real pollutants like sulfur, mercury, nitrogen compounds, and soot. These are not being cleaned up and should be cleaned up. Time and money wasted on CO2 is just that.

The sea ice is not melting. The polar bears are not drowning, but maybe the seals wish that they were. Temperatures did increase between 1970 and about 1998, and might go even higher, but this is just normal climate variation that has been going on since the last ice age. There is no number of repetitions of AGW GHG propaganda statements that will change the facts on the ground.

CO2 is being discharged into the atmosphere by human activities. The total amount of CO2 is a tiny fraction of one percent and the human contribution is a tiny fraction of that. CO2 has been much higher before when temperatures were lower than now, and temperatures have been higher than now when CO2 was much lower.

The roughly 1.5 degrees F temperature increase in the last century (not decade) in the US is probably half caused by locating thermometers near city heat sources and half from climate variation of which some small part might be based on CO2. Most of the warming is in the fart northern or southern latitudes, at night, and in the winter; most of the people who live there are pleased when it isn't so cold.

The farmers of the world welcome more CO2 as it helps crops grow and only AGW fanatics can call it pollution. Earlier springs and later fall freezes will make for more and better crops in most of the world. Warmer temperatures will make for more rain in many parts of the world, but it was hotter and drier in the 1930's when we had dust bowls in the US.

The AGW GHG fanatics must deny that the earlier warm periods actually happened because their theories fall apart if it was warmer then. Ask your great grand parents what it was like, or read this history books. If it was warmer then with less CO2, why isn't it even warmer now with even more CO2? I know NASA claims it is warmer now, but that is based on garbage in garbage out from their temperature adjustments, and they should know better.

Student_Of_Irony Author Profile Page :

Obama's Interior Secretary Ken Salazar declared open season on Yellowstone area wolves the minute he took office, continuing the Bush-era wolf extermination policy. Obama has allowed this to continue, leaving wildlife defenders no choice but to try to halt the killing through the courts. Thus far, hundreds of wolves have been killed on Obama's watch: some from packs that courageously fought for survival during hard times (a famous 3-legged matriarch was killed on Obama's watch). Often all the adult wolves in a pack will be killed, leaving the pups to starve to death. I get just as many desperate donation requests since Obama took office as I did during the eight years of Bush anti-environmentalism. Now he proposes offshore drilling. With this sort of 'friend' of the environment in charge, clearly it doesn't need enemies. Needless to say, I am very disappointed.

CarolGBOS Author Profile Page :

So far, the individual actions from the White House are ones I support. IMHO, the MOST URGENT environmental issue relates to commercial fishing policy. Fish stocks in many parts of the US and the world are in crisis. There must be strong action within the next five years to avoid calamity.

Lynne5 Author Profile Page :

This administration constantly asks for people to make informed and rational decisions yet it's own policies are steeped in depending on highly politicized information that have been discredited to at least some degree. To demand seismic policy changes that are based on information that was at best hysterical makes no sense. To demand these changes in the worst economic time, will further add to our deficit and weaken our global stance and influence.
In a world that demands more and more energy, however, it makes sense to work for safe nuclear power, off-shore drilling and wind and solar sources. To situate all these options under the umbrella of government missed the point - private enterprise will always be more efficient and inventive.

coachoconnorucla Author Profile Page :

No politician would dare tackle the ultimate cause of warming--too many people.
According to an article in Science Daily (April 20, 2009), a survey of the faculty at the State University of New York, which has a very strong environmental science department, the planet’s major environmental problem is overpopulation.. Climate change is second. This echoes the theme of the comprehensive and convincing popular free ebook series “And Gulliver Returns” –In Search of Utopia—( As one professor at SUNY said “With ten million or even a hundred million people on the planet there would be no warming problem.” It is both the technology and the number of people using it that create so many of our planetary problems.
There is no question that China's one child policy has helped the world and the Chinese economy. But whenever a country attempts to reduce its population it can expect a two or three generation period of problems while deaths reduce to equal births. I hope that China will recognize this fact and keep its own population on the path to reduction--which should begin by 2050. China's actual fertility rate is not 1.0 per woman, but 1.8--the same as Norway's.

wonjoy Author Profile Page :

I have on suggestion about environmental protection by using plants advertising board in my blog( It may be useful, because government do not need to pay for the CO2 bill. All countries can say that we have reduced the CO2 if the plant more or use the plants AD board. I am waiting for your sugestion.

GaryEMasters Author Profile Page :

There is a majority position - "it is getting warmer," a counter with "We deny." and a third way that most ignore, that is "it may be getting warmer, but we do not have enough facts to know if that is good or bad."

So what does the political figure do when they want to gather votes.

You got it.

Let us study.

gvelanis Author Profile Page :

OldNavyMan, I am completely and totally in agreement with everything you have written.

katie6 Author Profile Page :

Didn't Obama say "more exploration" which takes years not more drilling in sites with wells such as off the coast of Ca. where there is lots of oil and new safe technology to go sideways from old wells in operation? This could lead to production in three years. I think this is a bone to the other side. He is a year late because of his personal obsession with his own legacy, Health Care which was way down the list of American's priorities. It will be years before alternative sources are available. Incidentally the Ice Cap is growing now and the polar bear population has never been this big.

leokasel Author Profile Page :

The last attempt to control automobile emissions that all cars had to get better mileage (trucks were exempt) came with a change by GM and other companies. They went to trucks as passenger vehicles so now we have the ugly huge SUV's and we have much worse pollution.

rockville5 Author Profile Page :

The US is putting one billion tons of carbon dioxide in the air every year. One billion tons !

The CO 2 remains in the air for at least 100 years, more likely 200-300 years.

Of course it is a problem. Of curse it is global warming --- about 1 degree every 15-20 years.

One billion tons of carbon dioxide every year is not the trivial, meaningless matter falsely claimed by the corporate politicians.

Obama's environmental efforts are critical.

OldNavyMan Author Profile Page :

We should be making a fast-track effort to produce more power with nuclear reactors. It costs less than solar or wind power and is available 24 hours daily. The waste storage facility on which we have spent tens of billions of dollars now cannot be used solely because of political considerations. It is the only practical area now ready for storage of used nuclear material.

While the president seems to want to strangle the coal producers they provide about 50% of our power. Until a suitable replacement is readily available it is foolish to limit use of that valuable resource.

Wind, solar and water power can never provide more than a small portion of our power. Their developmenht should be encouraged wherever they are practical, but wind and solar energy is not available most hours of the 24-hour day.

bobbo2 Author Profile Page :

Energy independence is not realistic. However we should exploit all sources we have on our soil and in our waters. Pinwheels aren't going solve our energy needs. I would hope that President Obama would see that raising energy prices is bad for our shaky economy. American citizens demand access to energy and at a cost that is not slammed with taxes to reduce consumption. America is not willing to lower it's standard of living to please environmentalists.

tgrahame1 Author Profile Page :

There are so many actions affecting the environment at present that the answer to the question about "the right environmental choices" has to start with, "which choices?"

We shouldn't look at environmental choices in a vacuum -- things like jobs, economic growth and taxes, net foreign trade deficit are part of the equation. Looked at this way, I think the Administration is doing quite well.

Yes, we should have higher fuel efficiency standards. It isn't just an environmental decision, but one that will reduce our huge trade deficit and reduce the impact on our economy the next time oil goes to $145 per gallon.

Yes, offshore drilling, which has been going on the Gulf of Mexico for many decades, can be done safely. If memory holds, there have been considerably more serious oil spills from oil tankers over time than from offshore oil rigs (Santa Barbara circa 1969 the exception that comes to mind). Much offshore oil is delivered by undersea pipeline now.

So producing more of our oil and gas domestically will, again, reduce the trade deficit, create jobs and taxes in the US, and -- perhaps contrarian to some -- be better for the environment, in that there may be less oil spillage?

If I were in West Va. with a job that depended on the continued operation of a mountaintop removal coal mine, I likely would oppose stopping that practice. But for the rest of us, the damage it creates is irreversible for millenia: people downstream don't like having their water poisoned, nobody who cares about the environment likes having forests destroyed, forests upon which our dwindling wildlife depends.

Stepping back and thinking about the environment more broadly, a major long term issue for many who care about environmental issues is the slow but continual damage, bit by bit, of ecosystems on which wildlife depends. Most migratory bird species, for example, are declining in numbers because of deforestation or pesticides or other harm to the south, where they winter. Many activities in the US, such as mountaintop removal and the development of the exurbs, destroys their habitat here.

One of the big environmental issues of our time pits one environmental goal vs. another: wind and solar power, which will reduce greenhouse gases but destroy habitat. Habitat of land birds of the dry west -- such as sage grouse and prairie chickens -- is now being reshaped by transmission lines and 40 story wind towers. Solar is more compact than wind towers but still needs many transmission lines to gather the power.

To animals that live in either type of habitat, your home is as equally destroyed by mountaintop removal as by wind towers and a network of transmission lines gathering the electricity from them.

The reason the Endangered Species Act was created is that without this type of protection, we would be rushing toward species extinction at a greater pace than we are now. If we can't have wind power in some locations without causing species to decline to unsupportable numbers, we shouldn't have it in such places, in my view.

My preference would be for the Obama Administration to come down strongly on the side of the Endangered Species Act, so that the very considerable amount of wind and solar that does get developed, will minimize the destruction of habitat wildlife depends upon.

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