Carol Forsloff — ClimateSilence.org’s Brad Johnson was recently quoted as saying, “Sandy is yet another reminder that the candidates should stop competing over who can poison the weather faster with increased oil, gas and coal production.” A terrible storm is poised to cause serious problems for the East Coast, while the Presidential candidates both avoided conversation on the problems brought about by climate change.
One notable difference is that President Obama has not disavowed the scientific predictions with respect to climate change nor denied man’s influence over the world climate, with the emphasis that has been made on alternative energy. Unlike those who came late to the discussion, and ridiculed Al Gore’s concerns, the recent administration has had an ear towards those scientists who have predicted the planet to experience continuing problems related to climate change. The Republican candidates in the primaries this year continued to deny climate change all the while various states, like Texas, where Governor Rick Perry proclaims it poses no problem, has had devastating fires that scientists relate to changes brought about by the climate of the earth in relationship to the increase in emissions from oil and gas and other pollutants.
Whereas one side of the political spectrum emphasizes the need to drill in Alaska and to quickly bring the oil from tar sands from Canada, scientists have emphasized the risks to the earth for these projects as well. But in a political climate where people are worried about the immediate future, the words of the world’s scientists are compromised or forgotten entirely, as the Presidential debate touched about energy needs without reasoning about the risks of the quick fixes to oil and gas independence that have been proposed. A report from the US State Department that raised “concern about the potential of pipeline leaks in “environmentally sensitive areas,” such as the Ogallala Aquifer, a primary freshwater source for the Plains regions,” according to Discovery, was not mentioned by either President Obama nor former Governor Mitt Romney during the Presidential debates. That report, and similar ones, has been the chief reason for Obama’s delay in giving the green light for the pipeline.
Where was climate change in the debate, as 2012 was a reflection of some of the worst environmental problems in many, many decades?
The oil and gas men throw money at politicians to maintain their entrenchment and their profits at human expense today and tomorrow and to evoke fear and patriotic fervor to do whatever it takes to keep America’s oil and gas tanks full, even at the expense of worsening problems for the earth itself, according to scientists.
Already hydraulic fracturing, the process used to extract natural gas, has caused widespread problems in many states.
The pipeline for energy from Canada’s tar sands has been discussed by the scientific community as posing serious risks to the earth’s crust. Yet the delay of the project was not explained in the debates by the present administration while the Presidential contender, Mitt Romney beat the drums for the go ahead. One scientist was willing to face arrest to demonstrate his grave concern about the tar sands project. Jason Box said of the project, “”If Obama authorizes this pipeline, it will prove that the power of oil is greater than the power of reason,” Box said. “He cares about this issue and he tells us he wants the country to run on clean energy. Does he cave in? We shall see.”
Box could have been speaking to both Romney and Obama, as they ignored the concerns about climate change and the consequences of projects that could prove even more devastating to the reduction of pollutants that imperil the environment.
And what will happen if again those in control of the offices from which the scientists work and receive their research funds are stifled once again by the denials of climate change?
What does it mean for the environment of the earth if the American President gives the go ahead for risky ventures that can impact everyone, especially the more poor and helpless people in developing countries and even in places where people have at least a middle class life?
And perhaps the Biblical scripture of “What profiteth a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul” defines it best, the greed before the need of others and the earth upon which all reside and Presidential candidates who ignore the worst problem facing the world and fiddle while the world potentially burns.