Friday, January 22, 2016

Obama Backs Oil Industry’s Push to Drill Offshore Near U.S. East Coast

by Jack Gerson

The ink is barely dry on the accords from November’s Paris climate change conference, and already the wheels are flying  off the wagon even faster than I’d anticipated.

“Climate change is first and foremost a social problem, rooted in what capitalist society values (profits) and prioritizes (profitability). The longer capitalism runs the world, the more intense climate change will be.” 

Obama and his team are wasting no time to demonstrate the above. Yesterday’s online Guardian headlined, Obama’s offshore drilling plan meets heavy resistance along Atlantic coast. 

Thus, despite opposition from residents up and down the Atlantic seaboard so intense that even several of their Congressional representatives are opposing the plan, Obama is pushing forward with plans to end 30-year-old bans on oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic seabed off the U.S. east coast. Interior secretary Sally Jewel justifies it as “a key part of the president’s effort to reduce our dependence on foreign oil”, which is bizarre logic when a worldwide glut has sent the price of oil plummeting. But more fundamentally, and more ominously, it demonstrates that U.S. capitalism will continue to support worldwide efforts to find and extract more fossil fuels from the ground and thus to pump more carbon from those fuels into the air.

So much for meeting the Paris climate conference targets, feeble though they are. Goodbye, coastal towns. Goodbye, Bangladesh, Miami and all of southern Florida, Pacific islands. Farewell, numerous species. Hello, more extreme weather — drought, blizzards, hurricanes, tornados, and “unforeseen consequences.”

That blog post of mine from earlier this month concluded with the following lines:

“These problems didn’t have to be, and certainly not at their current pace and scale. Those are a product of the way that this society is organized. We need to reorganize society along very different lines: what we need is socialism. That means wresting power from those who now control and run society, and are leading it (and us) to ruin.”

This is truer now than ever.

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