President Obama, during his climate speech last week, surprised many observers by his unexpected remarks about the Keystone XL pipeline. The President, for the first time, placed a clear condition on the pipeline’s approval – its impact on the climate.
“The net effects of the pipeline’s impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward” he said, calling on the United States to |lead international efforts to combat a changing climate.”
Later in the speech, Mr. Obama spoke in favor of the increased use of natural gas as a 'transition fuel' and called on the United States to “strengthen our position as the top natural gas producer because, in the medium term at least, it not only can provide safe, cheap power, but it can also help reduce our carbon emissions.”
In a speech focused entirely on climate change, however, these two positions - placing climate change conditions on one fossil-fuel (tar sands oil) project while ignoring the climate implications (indeed touting the merits) of another fossil fuel industry (natural gas) – contradict each other and call into question Mr. Obama’s pledges, “as President, as a father, and as an American,” to take meaningful action on climate change.