Does Obama even see Keystone XL as climate issue?

Writing at TIME, Michael Scherer reports that the White House does not see the Keystone XL pipeline as "a climate change cure", maybe not even a climate change issue, at all. It's weird:

White House aides are clearly uncomfortable with the current campaign from their left, a fact that quickly became clear on the flight to Chicago. “Thousands of miles of pipeline have been built since President Obama took office, and that hasn’t had a measurable impact on climate change,” said Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest, on board Air Force One. “The truth is what we need to do is take an all of the above approach.”

When I asked if he was saying that further green energy investment was more important to fighting climate change than stopping the new pipeline, he did not hesitate. “There is no question about that,” he said.

Does anyone anywhere think of Keystone XL as "a climate change cure," as the TIME piece is headlined? It's just a weird way to frame that debate and I really hope that isn't indicative of how the White House thinks of opposition to the tar sands pipeline project.

In case there is confusion, no, blocking the Keystone XL pipeline will not cure climate change. But it will, most certainly, make it worse, despite what Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest suggests. "We've build thousands of miles of pipeline and not ruined the climate yet, so why wouldn't we keep building more?*" is just not a good argument. *(not his actual quote, but a decent summary of what he's implying.)

Obama's "all of the above" energy strategy was good politics, during the campaigns, in the folksy way some people think that "if you're making both sides mad you must be doing something right", because it was juxtaposed by Romney and the Republicans outright disdain for clean energy and the "Drill, Baby, Drill" nonsense of the McCain/Palin campaign, basically saying, "look, I'm no radical. I'll use clean and dirty energy. Whatever works."

But outside of the campaign, back here in the real world, how does the White House square this talking point with what we know about the math of global warming?

It may have been a good campaign slogan, but make no mistake about it, "all of the above" is not a climate change strategy. It is just another path to catastrophe.

Tags: Barack Obama | Canada | Global Climate Change | Global Warming Causes | Tar Sands

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