Never let the facts get in the way of the optics.
Obama has rejected construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, it was in all the papers.
The wire story that bannered the front of the Las Vegas newspaper accurately quoted Obama as saying the debate over the pipeline proposals was overinflated and, “All of this obscured the fact that this pipeline would neither be a silver bullet for the economy, as was promised by some, nor the express lane to climate disaster proclaimed by others.”
The story also stated matter-of-factly that the “pipeline would have little impact on greenhouse gas emissions.”
Define little. The State Department actually said that not building the pipeline would increase greenhouse emissions by 28 to 42 percent more than if the pipeline were built, because the tar sands oil would still be produced but shipped in a less clean manner.
The rejection of the pipeline has nothing to do with whether it would be clean or dirty or produce good jobs, but perception. Obama said:
America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change. And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership. And that’s the biggest risk we face — not acting.
Today, we’re continuing to lead by example. Because ultimately, if we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.
Uninhabitable in our lifetimes? The predicted warming is 2 degrees Fahrenheit over the next 70 years.
The pipeline would have created 9,000 construction jobs and 40,000 ancillary jobs, but that does not cast a shadow over the optics.
Of course there were hosannas from the front pews of the church of green. “That gives him new stature as an environmental leader, and it eloquently confirms the five years and millions of hours of work that people of every kind put into this fight,” said Bill McKibben, founder of the climate group 350.org.
But nobody in the press is correcting them.