Why Obama's Climate Change Speech Should Have Been Titled 'Wiggle Words and Green Illusions'

Wiggle wise, on the KXL pipeline issue Obama said, “Our national interest will be served only if this pipeline does not significantly exacerbate the climate problem,” just three months after his own State Department issued a draft environmental review that predicted Keystone would not significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions. Wiggle wise "significantly exacerbate the climate problem" is 8 wiggle lanes wide. In addition, by focusing on only the important, but debateable, carbon pollution issue Obama has spun the conversation away from the much wider debate about all the other, far less debateable, environmental degradation problems KXL presents.

There are a myriad of reasons to oppose the expansion of the already-existing Keystone system. Issues like befouling the Ogallala Aquifer and other water resources, like the toxic solvents that the Mayflower Arkansas residents are suffering the effects of, like the theft of land from private citizens through eminent domain, like the violation of tribal sovereighty, like the heavy metals in the air from refining tar sands crud and huge toxic slag piles that are a by-product of refining the crap. Bill McKibben told Salon "Obama's standard for approving Keystone pipeline is 'a good one'. Maybe Bill oughtta take a wider look at the environment.

Another thing McKibben liked about the speech was its endorsement of his bogus divestment scheme which promotes divestment from fossil fuel industries without explaining that unless those funds are not re-invested in some other part of the extractive consumer culture there is no net positive effect except on the income of the stock traders. Obama not only mentioned divestment in fossil fuels he did McKibben one better, he recommended investment in green alternatives as part of his "there’s no contradiction between a sound environment and strong economic growth" flim flam.

The problem is there are no green solutions. Things aren’t as simple as they seem, as Ozzie Zehner's book 'Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism' says "there's actually no such thing as a free lunch when it comes to energy consumption and production, what we're often sold as 'green' and 'clean' is actually neither.

The truth is that every type of 'alternative' energy' is actually a thinly disguised way to consume fossil fuels that are embedded in the production and maintenance of the equipment, the clearing of forests for transmission lines and the backup generation capacity that must be built for when these 'green' sources fail. In the spirit of these inconvenient truths mr. mud highly recommends the reading of this interview with Ozzie Zehner at Truth Out.

The truth is both Obama and McKibben are very intelligent folks, they both know all this. They both know that when Obama says, "there’s no contradiction between a sound environment and strong economic growth" its a lie designed like dog whistle to push the right unconscious buttons of those who want to believe they can continue to consume more and more without its sound being heard by the conscious minds of the opponents of the endless growth fantasy.

The truth is there is only one really green alternative - conservation. Only by wanting less, by demanding less, will the extractive consumer culture be turned from its present life destroying course. Only by ending consumer capitalism is there any real chance to stop the environmental train wreck ahead. There are alternatives, there are solutions, but they require hard work and the overturning of the financial system that coddles the elites and enslaves rest of us. The next few Mud Reports will concentrate on some of those bottom up, feet in the mud, solutions.