For President Obama, Energy Is More Important Than Climate Change

(You can read previous blogs on similar topics here, here and here).

In “Can Obama Change the Climate?” (New York Review of Books, June 11, 2009) Bill McKibben has warm words for President Barack Obama, including the following

“Obama himself has continued to mention global warming at every turn, and in commendably strong terms”

I am afraid Mr McKibben is missing the point. During the first 6 months in office, President Obama has mentioned “global warming” almost exclusively as just one aspect of the “energy” issue.

Take for example the New York Times’ archives, where between January 1 and June 11 2009 there are:

  • 114 articles about President Obama speaking on “energy
  • 22 articles about him mentioning “global warming
  • 16 articles with the President of the United States talking about “global warming” and “energy

That is, only 6 articles are left when “global warming” appears without “energy“.

There are also 42 articles with President Obama talking on “climate change”: only 12 of which are not about “energy”.

Remarkably, the situation is more skewed when one visits the White House’s own website (www.whitehouse.gov).

A search via Google on that website shows:

  • 3,260 pages with “Obama” and “energy
  • 68 pages with “Obama” and “global warming
  • the very same 68 pages with “Obama”, “global warming” and “energy

That is, 3,066 “Obama” whitehouse.gov pages talk of “energy” but not of “global warming”; and not even once “Obama” pages mention “global warming” but not “energy”.

Just out of curiosity: only 4 “Obama” pages talk of “climate change” but not of “energy”.

One can safely assume that for President Obama, global warming/climate change is a sideshow to the far, far bigger issue of the future of energy. Therefore, when and if a choice will have to be made between “energy” and “global warming”, in all likelihood the current US Administration will choose “energy”.