I can still remember those days, back in the waning days of the presidency of George W. Bush, when I would write about some atrocious anti-environmental act taken by the Bush Administration, and console myself with the thought, If only Barack Obama becomes President, all this will change.
Sigh. These days, the thought that’s on my mind is that, for every positive improvement President Obama makes in environmental policy, there’s another negative instance in which Obama embraces the same old rotten approach we suffered with under George W. Bush.
Yet another one of these negative instances came up today, as the Obama Administration announced that it would follow the Bush Administration’s policy of admitting that global warming is threatening the survival of polar bears, yet refusing to act to reduce global warming as legally required under the Endangered Species Act.
When it comes to prosecuting people involved in torture, or government programs to spy on the American people, President Obama says that we must not look backwards. Yet, when it comes to his legal obligation to protect endangered species, Obama has no problem looking backwards, embracing the do-nothing policies of past presidencies.
A measure of just how backwards Obama’s decision to block protections for polar bears is comes from the governor of the USA’s Arctic corner. Sarah Palin calls Obama’s policy a “clear victory for Alaska”, because it will allow big oil companies to keep on conducting their dirty old business without needing to consider the impact of their activities on the rest of the world.
I could not have imagined a few months ago that Barack Obama would implement the kind of environmental policies that Sarah Palin would have pushed forwards if she had been elected to the White House. Yet, that is the reality that environmentalists must now face.
It isn’t just the Arctic Ocean that’s melting. My illusions about Barack Obama are being liquidated as well.