In what was an exceptionally busy news week last week, it was nice to see a few programs give significant time to dissecting President Obama's new climate change plan.
INFOGRAPHIC: Check out President Obama's climate change plan
Josh Fox, the documentary filmmaker behind Gasland was making the media rounds to promote the sequel, Gasland Part II, which airs July 8th on HBO. I was fortunate enough to attend a screening Tuesday evening at HBO and this film is not to be missed.
In the first Gasland, Fox was educating himself and the public about what natural gas fracking is and how it poisons water sources. In this follow-up, Fox is documenting the many ways property owners are being threatened and financially ruined by natural gas companies and how the government, in particular the EPA, is not doing enough to protect American citizens.
Seeing the film a few hours after watching President Obama's great speech on climate change, I was struck by the contrast behind the optimism of President's speech and the disturbing realities of how the EPA can be hindered by political and industry interests. Obama's hype about the promise of natural gas as a transitional fuel also helped me see that however well-intentioned, parts of his plan are potentially inadequate for the scale of the climate change crisis.
Fox appeared on The Daily Show and had a good talk with guest host John Oliver about fracking, climate change and the problems with the EPA and regulating the oil and gas industry.
Here's the extended interview in three parts:
In the second clip, Fox says this debate "isn't really about fracking anymore. It's about who we are as a people." He compares the way foreign multi-national corporations are exploiting American resources with little concern for the long-term consequences to the ways "third-world" nations have had their resources exploited with product and profits shipped overseas.
In the third and final clip, Josh gives a strong defense of former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson calling her a "fierce fighter" on this issue, but sees it telling that she resigned amid President Obama's public push for more natural gas drilling. They also talk about the trend of oil and gas companies opting for PR solutions to technical and engineering problems.
Chris Hayes had a good segment with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse on the importance of giving the issue of climate change attention in a public way like Obama did with this speech:
Yesterday, Josh Fox also appeared on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show to talk about the need to transition from oil and gas to renewable energy and not just from oil to gas, as President Obama has implied we should.
Tim DeChristopher is the climate activist that was jailed for nearly two years for disrupting an auction for oil and gas drilling rights that would have threatened land near Canyonlands National Park. His courageous act of civil disobedience led to him being named TreeHugger's Person of the Year in 2011.
Now free from prison, DeChristopher was on The Late Show with David Letterman Thursday to discuss the documentary about his case, Bidder 70.
DeChristopher and Christine Todd Whittman, former Bush EPA administrator were guests on All In with Chris Hayes to discuss Obama's climate plan:
As all of these clips illustrate, there's still a long, long way to go in the fight to slow climate change and ensure a sustainable future, but seeing Josh Fox and Tim DeChristopher on national television saying the things they are saying to audiences that may not follow climate change news very closely is a sign that progress is being made, even if it isn't as fast as we'd like to see.