New Yorker editor David Remnick says Obama needs to make dealing with global warming his priority of the second term:
But Obama must now defeat an especially virulent form of magical thinking, entrenched on Capitol Hill and elsewhere: that a difficulty delayed is a difficulty allayed. Part of American exceptionalism is that, historically, this country has been the exceptional polluter and is therefore exceptionally responsible for leading the effort to heal the planet. It will be a colossal task, enlisting science, engineering, technology, regulation, legislation, and persuasion. We have seen the storms, the droughts, the costs, and the chaos; we know what lies in store if we fail to take action. The effort should begin with a sustained Presidential address to the country, perhaps from the Capitol, on Inauguration Day. It was there that John Kennedy initiated a race to the moon—meagre stakes compared with the health of the planet we inhabit
I believe global warming is real, but I also believe that exactly nothing will get done about it, because there is no political will to get anything done. And this:
In an indication of how “fracking” is reshaping the global energy picture, the International Energy Agency today projected that the United States will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer by 2017.
And within just three years, the United States will unseat Russia as the largest producer of natural gas.
Both results would have been unthinkable even a few short years ago, but the future geography of supply has shifted dramatically due to what IEA calls America’s “energy renaissance.” The revival can be credited to controversial technologies such as hydraulic fracturing of shale and deepwater production that have enabled the industry to tap into abundant, unconventional sources of natural gas and oil. As a result, new energy frontiers have opened in Pennsylvania and North Dakota.
The bottom line for the United States is fulfillment of a goal that eluded seven presidents over nearly four decades: energy independence.
I know I sound like Charles Cosimano here, but there is no chance whatsoever that the United States will stop burning hydrocarbons. I believe that will result in all the bad things scientists tell us will happen as the planet heats up. I wish these things weren’t true, but I believe they are. David Remnick is engaged in magical thinking if he believes that Obama, or any president, can really turn this around politically.
By the way, whatever happened to peak oil? Is fracking really the technological magic trick that techno-optimists said we would pull out of the hat? Sharon, help me understand this.
UPDATE: Oh, wait, global warming could wipe out our coffee supply?! We must stop at nothing to confound this menace!