Why does Obama love natural gas? It's complicated.

Barack Obama 3D Portrait Jason Mecier photo
© Jason Mecier

Josh Fox: What Shocked Me While Making Gasland Part II from The Dish on Vimeo.

Josh Fox has been the guest on Andrew Sullivan's Ask Anything series and says President Obama's support for natural gas was what shocked him most in recent years.

As I noted earlier, both Jonathan Chait and David Roberts wrote about the complicated limitations Obama faced when it came to passing climate legislation.

On a related point, Wonkblog's Brad Plumer explains the "surprising reasons" Obama favors natural-gas exports, including needing to avoid hypocrisy regarding other free trade concerns:

The United States has been concerned for quite some time about China’s chokehold on the global supply of rare-earth metals — and has been appealing to the World Trade Organization to rule against China’s various export restrictions. Those arguments sound a lot less convincing if the Department of Energy is rejecting licensing applications for natural gas exports at the same time.

TreeHugger has covered how China's grip on the rare earth metals market has threatened the clean tech industry, so it is interesting to see how intertwined these various trade issues have become.

Personally, I sympathize with Josh Fox and have also seen my enthusiasm for President Obama fade as I've watched him champion natural gas and tout the expansion of drilling during his term. However, reading these various takes from Chait, Roberts and Plumer on the complex intertwining of political demands helps me see that my disappointment rests more on our systemic problems and less so on Obama alone.

Why does Obama love natural gas? It's complicated.
Josh Fox says President Obama's support for natural gas shocked him, but Brad Plumer shows how the issue of gas exports and production has much to do with maintaining trade relationships.

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