President Obama's decision to give Shell the green light to drill in the Arctic is an environmental abomination, writes Bill McKibben in the New York Times. Shell and the entire fossil fuel industry have been ignoring warnings for years about the Arctic, and yet now that it's clearly melting, Shell is lining up to drill in previously untouched territory. "It’s as if the tobacco companies were applying for permission to put cigarette machines in cancer wards," writes McKibben. But his column also places much responsibility on Obama, who he thinks is undercutting his own stated goals.
The simple truth is that if we keep digging up coal and oil, we'll keep burning it, too. Obama has set a "weak" goal of keeping temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius, writes McKibben, but even achieving that modest mark requires that we stop most digging and drilling. It's bad enough that some pretend the science behind climate change isn't real. This is a different kind of denial, one in which people accept the science, "make long speeches about the immorality of passing on a ruined world to our children," but then "deny the meaning of the science, which is that we must keep carbon in the ground." Click for the full column.