Photo credit: US Navy
Climate and clean energy legislation crashed and burned. The handling of the BP spill was criticized as too lenient on the oil giant, too withholding from the public. There's been a perceived lack of forthright discussion about climate change from the White House, an unwillingness to even make a symbolic gesture like installing solar panels on the roof. Due to these factors, some prominent green voices are starting to call for a better, more environmentally-motivated candidate to challenge Obama for the presidency in the next primary. Does Obama deserve to be fired for his failure to live up to his green promises -- and replaced with someone who can?Gregg Hurowitz, the former Greenpeace president, penned an op-ed widely circulated in the blogoshpere that essentially argues yes. Here's a piece of it:
As enthralled as environmentalists and progressives once were about Obama's promise, we cannot ignore that for all his fine rhetoric, his accomodationism and reserve are allowing the planetary crisis to deteriorate and leaving America behind in the race for a clean energy economy. It pains me to say it, but success will require a new president -- and that means that after the midterm elections, we need to start looking for a primary challenger who has the heart and soul required to save the planet from catastrophe and rescue America from its economic morass -- even as we throw ourselves into grassroots action to do what we can to save the planet despite the president's interference.Also weighing in is Kieran Suckling, executive director at the Tucson, Ariz.-based Center for Biological Diversity, who told Politico that: "Obama's environmental record has been dismal, especially on climate, oil and endangered species. His early appointment of Ken Salazar as secretary of the interior showed very poor judgment. So yes, a pro-environment Democrat might find a surprising amount of support in a primary battle."
Never mind for a second that this is a very unlikely scenario -- things would have to go way further off the rails in a general sense for any primary challenger to be viewed as a true contender. But it's an interesting question to mull. I of course would like to have sees far more strident advocacy for climate issues and clean energy from the president, and climate legislation should have been a higher priority and a better coordinated effort.
Also keep in mind that his raising of the fuel efficiency standards is the single greatest move by a president to reduce emissions, that the EPA is doing good work (except perhaps in some lethargy regarding the BP spill) and is slated to regulate greenhouse gases, and that he's overseen a major investment in clean energy through the stimulus bill. Some would still call him the greenest president in history. However, if you voted for Barack Obama on the grounds that he was going to use his office to address what's arguably the greatest threat facing the planet -- climate change -- I can understand the moral justification some might see in for calling for his ouster.
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