Obama Speech (Mostly) Good News for Keystone
Both supporters and opponents of pipeline find reason to cheer
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2013 9:09 PM CDT
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(Newser) – The big part of President Obama's climate-change strategy unveiled today was indeed his promise to put emissions limits for the first time on the nation's power plants. (See highlights of that and four other key points at the Week. Click for the full transcript of the speech or for the White House's own highlights). But the president also made headlines with his statement about the proposed Keystone oil pipeline: He promised to kill the project if studies showed it would "significantly" worsen greenhouse gas emissions. He did not, however, spell out what he means by "significantly," which helps explain why both "opponents and backers of the pipeline found support for their positions in his remarks," reports the New York Times.

Politico, however, suggests that those who want the pipeline built should be happiest because of what the president didn't mention: "His own State Department has already indicated that the pipeline can meet that standard." (That finding was in a draft report; the final version is due soon.) Tilting the balance a bit more toward the pipeline getting a green light: The Canadian government and oil industry, along with Keystone operator TransCanada were pleased with the president's remarks, reports Wall Street Journal. Other odds and ends from the speech:

  • Al Gore called it "by far the best address on climate by any president ever," and hoped the issue would become the focus of Obama's time left in office. "The hard truth is that the maximum that now seems politically feasible still falls short of the minimum necessary to actually solve the climate crisis."
  • Carbon tax? Michael Shank at US News & World Report says Obama is thinking too small. "2013 is no time for a small pitch on things like power plant carbon parameters." The plan is "merely more of the same and most of it is safe." Shank wanted to see a carbon tax. (At Mother Jones, Kevin Drum thinks Obama might be using the threat of new regulations to get leverage on Congress to pass such a tax.)

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Showing 3 of 78 comments
right2dave
Jul 1, 2013 5:57 AM CDT
Newser managed to get three photos of Obama on one page. Who's your daddy?
Pinkham
Jun 26, 2013 9:58 AM CDT
If I was an evil madman what would I do to warm the planet? Well there are a number of ways that humans can change the planet’s temperature. The easiest is to reduce the temperature by simply blocking sunlight either through space based shields or reflective particles in the atmosphere. To heat the atmosphere I’d have to be craftier. First, I’d have to hide my true goal through propaganda then I’d have to stop things that are counter to my goal and finally add a wide ranging scheme to accomplish my goal. So I’d say there was a problem where we are causing global warming and then propose solutions that while sounding good actually increase the world temperature. First I’d remove sulfur from fuels, in particular, jet fuel. I’d need to reduce those reflective sulfur molecules from cooling the earth. Then I’d try to make as much of the earth’s surface dark. To make this sound good, I’d call it green and have an excuse, such as it generates power. So up go the black solar panels and additional plowing of the dark soil to grow renewable energy. Next I’d reduce the haze in the atmosphere by making mandates on clean engines. I’d tack on soot reduction goals so that more fuel is burned cleaning the soot traps and therefore adding to the CO2 production. To make sure no one caught on to what I was doing I’d vilify oil and coal producers and anyone that disagreed with the global warming concern. None of my proposed green energies would be consistent producers which would cause the CO2 producing energy supplies to keep running as much as before. I would work to reduce energy produced from hydro and nuclear. If possible I’d place devices to restrict the exchange of energy between poles and lower latitudes by blocking wind thereby causing the cities to heat up and giving proof that the earth is heating up. Now what has this administration done to reduce the climate concern?
Imhotep
Jun 26, 2013 9:38 AM CDT
Just a lot of hot air. Only a little hotter than the air he was breathing. It's not just about carbon emmisions , it's about oil dependency. As the North pole shrinks their just going to build more oil rigs. China and India will double or triple the number of cars on the road. Their factories will burn more oil. It's either that or Nuclear power and we all know what happened at Fukishima. I'll take oil over Nuclear any day of the week. Not much of a choice but that's where we are. We need new technologies and research. New types of batteries, new types of electric motors. Cheap and powerful. Could always fill the mid west with wind mills. Thousands of them for 100's of miles. No pollution. Not pretty, but they are safe.