Quantcast

20 Million Acres for Sale in Gulf for Offshore Drilling While U.S. Talks Big at UN Climate Summit

Climate

Oil Change International

by Andy Rowell

Today as part of Obama’s “All of the Above” energy strategy, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will hold an oil and gas lease sale that will make more than 20 million offshore acres available to oil and gas drilling in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area.

At the UN climate talks in Doha, the U.S. is claiming credit for “enormous” efforts on climate change.

Jonathan Pershing, a senior negotiator for the U.S., said: “Those who don’t know what the U.S. is doing may not be informed of the scale and extent of the effort, but it’s enormous.”

Whether the U.S. has taken enormous steps on climate change is open to debate. What we do know is that we have a newly re-elected President who in his acceptance speech said, “We want our children to live in a world without the destructive power of a warming planet."

In order to tackle climate change, the U.S. cannot continue on a path of relentless oil and gas drilling, as currently espoused in the President’s Energy plan, known as “All of the Above,” which advocates a mix of oil, gas, nuclear, renewables and the contradiction which is clean coal.

As Steve Kretzmann and I pointed out in the aftermath of Obama’s re-election: “The President cannot simultaneously fight climate change and support an All of the Above/Drill Baby Drill energy strategy. It would be like launching a war on cancer while promoting cheap cigarettes for kids. Leadership on climate requires understanding this.”

But it seems that the Obama Administration is going to carry on selling those cheap cigarettes, instead of fighting climate change. Later today as part of Obama’s “All of the Above” energy strategy, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will hold an oil and gas lease sale that will make more than 20 million offshore acres available to oil and gas drilling.

This represents all the unleased areas in what is known as Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area. The size of the sale is also startling when you consider we are still working out the ecological and financial costs of the Deepwater Horizon spill.

Least you wonder who is pulling the strings about the Administration’s energy plan, make no mistake it is the President. “At President Obama’s direction, his Administration continues to implement a comprehensive, all-of-the-above energy strategy, expanding domestic production, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and supporting jobs,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

The lease sale, to be held later today in New Orleans, will be the first held under the Administration’s new Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012–2017, which makes available for exploration and development all of the offshore areas with the highest potential  of the U.S.’s oil and gas resources.

The President’s “All of the Above” energy plan is misguided. In reality it is little more than “Drill Baby Drill” by another name. The science is telling us that we cannot have all of the above. We cannot carry on relentless oil and gas drilling.

Earlier this month, when the World Bank warned we were on course for a 4 degree warming, unless radical action was taken, its President stated: “Lack of action on climate change threatens to make the world our children inherit a completely different world than we are living in today. ”

So when Obama says, “We want our children to live in a world without the destructive power of a warming planet,” he had better alter his “All of the Above” energy plan to include no more fossil fuels.

Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE and OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING pages for more related news on this topic.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A verdant and productive urban garden in Havana. Susanne Bollinger / Wikimedia Commons

By Paul Brown

When countries run short of food, they need to find solutions fast, and one answer can be urban farming.

Read More Show Less
Trevor Noah appears on set during a taping of "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" in New York on Nov. 26, 2018. The Daily Show With Trevor Noah / YouTube screenshot

By Lakshmi Magon

This year, three studies showed that humor is useful for engaging the public about climate change. The studies, published in The Journal of Science Communication, Comedy Studies and Science Communication, added to the growing wave of scientists, entertainers and politicians who agree.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
rhodesj / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Cities around the country are considering following the lead of Berkeley, California, which became the first city to ban the installation of natural gas lines in new homes this summer.

Read More Show Less
Rebecca Burgess came up with the idea of a fibersheds project to develop an eco-friendly, locally sourced wardrobe. Nicolás Boullosa / CC BY 2.0

By Tara Lohan

If I were to open my refrigerator, the origins of most of the food wouldn't be too much of a mystery — the milk, cheese and produce all come from relatively nearby farms. I can tell from the labels on other packaged goods if they're fair trade, non-GMO or organic.

Read More Show Less
A television crew reports on Hurricane Dorian while waves crash against the Banana River sea wall. Paul Hennessy / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope

Some good news, for a change, about climate change: When hundreds of newsrooms focus their attention on the climate crisis, all at the same time, the public conversation about the problem gets better: more prominent, more informative, more urgent.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) met with Bill Gates on Nov. 7 to discuss climate change and ways to address the challenge. Senator Chris Coons

The U.S. Senate's bipartisan climate caucus started with just two members, a Republican from Indiana and a Democrat from Delaware. Now it's up to eight members after two Democrats, one Independent and three more Republicans joined the caucus last week, as The Hill reported.

Read More Show Less
EPA scientists survey aquatic life in Newport, Oregon. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to significantly limit the use of science in agency rulemaking around public health, the The New York Times reports.

Read More Show Less
A timelapse video shows synthetic material and baby fish collected from a plankton sample from a surface slick taken off Hawaii's coast. Honolulu Star-Advertiser / YouTube screenshot

A team of researchers led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration didn't intend to study plastic pollution when they towed a tiny mesh net through the waters off Hawaii's West Coast. Instead, they wanted to learn more about the habits of larval fish.

Read More Show Less