Flavors of denial

Hillary Clinton recently tweeted a rejection of any perceived endorsement from Charles Koch, citing his climate denial, and his funding of misinformation efforts. I take it as a good sign that she’s being clear about that, but I find it a bit frustrating, given Clinton’s own stance on fossil fuels – namely the assumption that there’s a way to continue using them that’s “safe and responsible”:

Ensure safe and responsible energy production. As we transition to a clean energy economy, we must ensure that the fossil fuel production taking place today is safe and responsible and that areas too sensitive for energy production are taken off the table. Hillary knows there are some places where we should keep fossil fuels in the ground or under the ocean.

The “lesser of two evils” concept has become a reliable trope in American politics, and it seems to apply here as well. Clinton’s stance on climate change is better than any Republican politician currently in office; same with Obama. But in both of their cases, they are guilty of perpetuating the notion that we can somehow keep using fossil fuels without doing further harm to ourselves and the natural world.

Someone who accepts that we’re causing the climate to change, and that it’s a bad thing for us and many other species is far preferable to someone who doesn’t, but that doesn’t change the fact that that Clinton and Obama are still partially in denial about this issue. It is possible that at some point we will develop a way to use coal, oil, and natural gas in a way that doesn’t destabilize the climate and cause a wide variety of other kinds of harm, but currently that does not exist. If we get there, then we can revisit the notion of using fossil fuels, but until then, we need to be focused on creating an energy infrastructure that does not need them, and we need to do that as quickly as possible.


  1. Michele says

    So what would happen if she said something, I don’t know, like : “We’re going to get rid of coal”? I wonder what kind of sh**storm Secretary Clinton would be subjected to? Taken out of context and splattered all over the right wing media, perhaps? NO ONE can get elected by saying “get rid of fossil fuels forever”. Clinton is held to an impossible double standard and everything she has ever done or said is dissected and distorted. She is very, very smart and understands the urgency of climate change, but she has to get elected first. That is our unfortunate reality.

  2. says

    Intelligence seems to have no bearing on a person’s ability to understand the urgency of climate change.

    If Clinton’s record and private activities indicated that she intended to make a serious push on the issue, I might feel differently, but I’ve seen nothing to indicate that her stated policy position is different from how she actually feels or intends to act.

    If she ends up getting elected, I’d be DELIGHTED to be proved wrong on this.

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