Barack Obama loves giving lofty speeches about the need to confront the crisis of global climate change and pollution of the environment. On March 19 this year, Obama laid down the line on what must be done: “We can let climate change continue to go unchecked, or we can help stop it. We can let the jobs of tomorrow be created abroad, or we can create those jobs right here in America and lay the foundation for lasting prosperity.”
This weekend, Obama moved that line, and twisted into a kind of squiggly shape with a lot of loopholes in it. Obama declared that he opposes efforts to hold foreign countries accountable when they refuse to comply with limits on greenhouse gas emissions.
Obama used the term “protectionist” to refer to elements of the American Clean Energy and Security Act that establish tariffs against nations that continue refuse to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Well, yeah, I guess measures like this are protectionist. They protect everybody from pollution, and from climate change. They protect American workers from foreign governments that try to use dirty, dangerous old energy technologies to create an unfair trade advantage. What does Obama have against protecting us from these sorts of things?
President Obama is the one who set an absolutist, dichotomous standard for climate action. He ought to be judged by that standard. If, as Obama says, “We can let climate change continue to go unchecked, or we can help stop it,” then Obama chose to side for this weekend with the forces that want to let climate change go unchecked. If, as Obama says, “We can let the jobs of tomorrow be created abroad, or we can create those jobs right here in America,” then Obama chose this this weekend to let the jobs of tomorrow be created abroad.
By Obama’s own measure, he’s not taking the action on climate change or labor that America needs from its President.