(12n) President Obama making a wrong decision - obvious to everyone

President Obama, receiving little if any respect from opponents (what may be understandable) but also often loosing any respect from his initial supporters due to wrong decisions so people sometimes wonder on whose side he really stands.

Only a few weeks ago President Obama wanted to leave a lasting legacy by announcing a climate deal that should result in a huge reduction in gases that are responsible for causing climate change and this by stimulating investments away from mainly coal.

And now President Obama needs to defend himself because he allowed Arctic oil drilling in the Chukchi Sea with the falls argument the economy still needs oil and gas and thus it is better to get this from domestic producers than from foreign import. Falls unless you are convinced that burning oil and gas are essential for the economy and then the argument he uses is correct. One could even accuse the president that he wants to stop the use of coal to promote oil and gas use.

Ship guiding an oil platform between floating ice
The same argument is being used for instance in the UK to argue in favour of fracking: better local production of gas (and oil if possible) via fracking than import from other countries while it is indeed correct that burning gas is less polluting than burning coal although it has many disadvantages such as (1) large quantities of water are needed that may be lost for drinking, (2) industrial activities always have an effect on the environment but also (3) people continue to remain dependent on what companies provide and thus people pay while others get rich. Also goverments benefit when they increase taxes on the use of energy unless they also lower taxes on sun panels and wind mills to stimulate investments away from fossil fuels. But the argument about cleaner energy production can only be believed when governments promote investments in clean energy that is not the case.

The decision to allow Arctic drilling in the Chukchi Sea area is made just at the moment that the president is traveling to Alaska because he wants to show his fellow Americans (and the rest of the world) that climate change is real.
But then he should have refused the Arctic drilling during his final one and a half years as president while it can be expected that it is much harder for a new president to resist the pressure from the fossil fuel industry. He could have argued that refusing drilling in that region will make clear governments are serious about a direction away from fossil fuels while the license promises more oil and gas use and thus doesn't force a change towards renewables while it is more difficult to reverse this decision. Indeed, as long as new oil and gas wells are allowed to be exploited and thus as long as fossil fuels are available there is no urgent need to change.
In addition, one of the last unspoiled places on our planet should be kept and protected from exploitation for future generations. Now Mr Obama will travel to Alaska to show us the already visible effects of climate change. Indeed, it seems that at the same region where the oil company wants to drill, walruses are coming ashore on a small island as the places where they normally rest are gone because of an extreme Arctic sea ice melt. And thus one spill and Obama's legacy will be remembered as that of a president who allowed the destruction of the Arctic, including a population of walruses. But going to Alaska is often fun. Companies do their business and thus oil companies try to get oil and gas wherever they can get it while governments should defend the general interests and thus sometimes oppose companies although stimulate alternatives that provide new jobs and thus stimulate the economy.

It also shows how fossil fuel companies know that what they are telling us is rubbish. Indeed, this industry is celebrating the melting of our poles so drilling for oil and gas becomes easier and cheaper. And these fossil fuels together with gas from fracking means another decades before we enter a new era unless nature intervenes and climate change is much faster than we anticipated as we start to discover. For instance, I wonder how much of the melting ice is trapped under the weight of the ice until one day the thickness of the ice decreases to such an extend that the water can lift the ice so it can start flowing unhindered towards the oceans, taking with it large parts of the ice while ones enough water is gone the remaining ice touches again the ground after which the cycle can restart causing rapid and maybe unexpected sea level rises.

But look at the map to see the Chukchi Sea is above the US and may simply indicate the renewed cold war whereby countries (Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Canada, US and Russia - dividing the world nicely between one Western half and a Russian half) are in a hurry to be the first to continue the warming of our planet while a clever country would exploit tourism in a warmer Arctic and thus protect it against any possible contamination because resources from tourism last as long as money (or humans) exist.

And during the possible coming WW (already started in quite some places and spreading? due to a large extend to climate change and resulting food and water shortages but also to greed from a few who hold on to their powers so people need to fight to survive), it may not be possible go rely on foreign oil and gas, certainly not when those countries may become enemies and thus his decision to extract Arctic oil may in future be seen as a wise one. I however think it should be better to invest in transport and other equipment that uses renewables as energy source such as sun energy than invest in oil but that is for each leader and the people who choose the person to decide.

Nevertheless, changes are coming: while in the past mainly higher governments promoted the use of renewables, today local governments such as in Australia and the UK are starting to turn away from fossil fuels while many higher governments (including Australia and the UK) are now choosing the side of the old industries by reducing investments in renewables and promotion of new ways to get fossil fuels with the argument the economy needs to be promoted. But those governments that are now supporting divestment away from old energy towards renewables may be in future the leading centres to sell renewables. In addition, if people choose not to use more fossil fuels than this should be accepted, even when the economy may suffer - that is called democracy.

And thus the American president is loosing again more support from those who voted for him while doesn't gain support from those who oppose him. Still, he is lucky his opponents have their own quarrels and become even more absurd because they have to show they are even more extreme than someone like Mr Trump whereby they hope being the most extreme will convince people to vote for them while often only the most extreme voters are attracted. On the other hand, the powers that are in favour of the continued use of fossil fuels may be too strong to be defeated by humans and thus maybe only climate change (or what religious people call God) may be able to defeat the powers that cause the change.

PS: The irony is: the initials of my name are "LPG" that can also stand for "Liquified petroleum gas" or "Liquid petroleum gas" and thus is a fossil fuel.


Popular posts from this blog

Brexit, refugee crisis and the EU

(7i) Return to (travel) business in times of a virus

(20b) Coronavirus statistics: how to present data about cases and mortality