‘Yes’ to Tar Sands, ‘No’ to Coal: Obama Confounds Climate Community

‘Yes’ to Tar Sands, ‘No’ to Coal: Obama Confounds Climate Community

With one eye on the polls and the other on energy goals, Obama appears conflicted and confounded by greenhouse gas emissions.

By Elizabeth MacGowan, InsideClimate News

WASHINGTON—Those expecting a consistent climate change message from the White House are having trouble squaring two recent energy initiatives.

President Obama avoided any climate-related language when he stood in Cushing, Okla. on March 22 to encourage construction of the southern leg of the fiercely debated Keystone XL oil pipeline. Then, just five days later—when Obama was attending a nuclear security summit in South Korea—the Environmental Protection Agency modestly rolled out its first-ever carbon pollution standard for future power plants.

How, puzzled critics asked, could the Obama administration endorse a tar sands pipeline project that’s been labeled the “fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet” while simultaneously laying the groundwork for kicking coal to the curb as an electricity generator?

The short answer is that he has one eye on the polls and the other on his long-term energy goals.

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