Crank of the Week – June 24, 2013 – Barack Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama delivered his highly anticipated speech about combating climate change today. As predicted, he plans on accomplishing this by hamstringing America's energy industry. The speech began with false claims regarding natural disasters and then descended into a morass of new regulations. In a blatant attempt to placate the eco-left, the scandal plagued Chief Executive announced an end run around the Congress by using executive orders to crack down on CO2 emissions from the nation's power plants and limiting oil & gas recovery using fracking on federal lands. It was a speech larded with lies and promises of political pork that, in the long run, will do little to please his critics on the right or left.

In a major policy speech at Georgetown University, Barack Obama has tried to shore up his failing relationship with green activists by promising to crack down on carbon emissions. The old silver tongued devil was at it again, at one point saying “We don't have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society.” According to science blogger Roger Pielke Jr., the speech started out with a bundle of lies aimed at justifying the presidential action by scaring the public. Pielke tweeted, “Will be interesting to see if anyone on the side of climate action will care that Obama's plan begins w/ false claims about disaster trends.”

This continues a pattern by liberal polls, who blame every natural disaster and quirk in the weather on global warming—something that even climate scientists have long dismissed as inaccurate. Interestingly, the self proclaimed “most transparent administration in history” did not release the text of the president's speech to the public before the event, it only released copies to selected supporters so they could get the spin started.

Among the long list of initiatives, arguably the most important is a Presidential memorandum directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish carbon pollution standards for new and existing power plants. Obama claims authority under the Clean Air Act to generate and enforce these new regulations without the involvement of Congress. Pre-speach estimates claimed the proposed new regulations will close several hundred existing coal plants and basically halt the construction of any new ones. This will undoubtedly force energy costs upward in an already fragile economy, still recovering from one of the deepest recessions in US history.

Obama gave lip service to environmental concerns during his second inaugural speech, but after a first term that featured no significant advances in fighting climate change greens remain skeptical. For green activists, the environmental record of Obama’s first term is dominated by his failure to pass carbon cap-and-trade legislation. The White House complains that it doesn’t get enough credit for its environmental accomplishments, citing reduced carbon emissions, tough new auto fuel efficiency standards and pouring billions of dollars into funding renewable energy research and start-ups. What they do not mention is that emissions are down because of the dismal economy, the new auto regulations will have a marginal impact at best and most of the investments in green technology have been spectacular failures.

Former Vice President and green propagandist Al Gore sharply criticized President Obama for his lack of leadership on climate change. In an article in Rolling Stone, Gore claimed Obama's policies had been little more effective than those of President George W. Bush—surely a mortal insult for any liberal politician.


Gore has criticized Obama for inaction in the past.

According to Gore's essay: “President Obama has thus far failed to use the bully pulpit to make the case for bold action on climate change. After successfully passing his green stimulus package, he did nothing to defend it when Congress decimated its funding. After the House passed cap and trade, he did little to make passage in the Senate a priority.” As if cap and trade plans have been so successful elsewhere.

In Washington, it's all about politics and Obama has been one of the most political presidents in history. Republicans and Democrats are divided as to whether Barack Obama’s speech supporting new regulations for carbon emissions will hurt Democrats running for office in 2014. This is particularly true in coal producing states. According to an article on Breitbart.com, one Democratic strategist said, “If President Obama’s coal agenda is on the ballot, we’re gonna lose 70-30 in coal country.” Is Obama tossing his party under the bus in an attempt to bolster his own legacy?

Obama explicitly linked the Keystone XL oil pipeline proposal to climate change, saying that the pipeline only serves the nation if it “does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” He said: “The net effects of the pipeline's impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is to go forward.” There was no extra information about what he means by “net effects,” and how that will be measured. As one blogger noted, this creates a potential conflict between the EPA and State Department over measuring the climate impacts of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Reportedly, opponents of the pipeline exploded with enthusiasm on Twitter. The anti-pipeline slant is a bit surprising, since labor unions, another key group of Obama supporters, have come out strongly in favor of the pipeline, which would provide many jobs for unionized construction workers. For environmentalists, this is a make-or-break issue, as it is for energy companies and Republicans on the other side. Cynics think that by making a big, flashy speech on reducing carbon emissions, Obama may be attempting to calm those on the left ahead of approving the pipeline project later on.


Anti-pipeline greens celebrated Obama's speech.

The forces of sanity are already rallying to blunt this new green offensive from the White House and, given the Obama administration's record on environmental issues, this is probably much ado about nothing. Still, for proving that he remains in the thrall of every bad idea the environmental left has ever had, this Crank of the Week is for you, Barack Obama, rapidly becoming the irrelevant President of the United States of America.