NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • Obama Supports Clean and Dirty Energy


    Bob Pollin: President Obama can’t possibly meet carbon emission targets he set and still support increased oil, natural gas and coal production -   February 19, 13
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


    Share to Facebook Share to Twitter


    I support The Real News Network because it is one of the few remaining political voices of the people. - David Pear
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Bio

    Robert Pollin is Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He is the founding co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI). His research centers on macroeconomics, conditions for low-wage workers in the US and globally, the analysis of financial markets, and the economics of building a clean-energy economy in the US. His latest book is Back to Full Employment. Other books include: A Measure of Fairness: the Economics of Living Wages and Minimum Wages in the United States, and Contours of Descent: US Economic Fractures and the Landscape of Global Austerity.

    Transcript

    Obama Supports Clean and Dirty EnergyPAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore. And welcome to this week's edition of The PERI Report with Bob Pollin.

    Now joining us from Amherst, Massachusetts, is the cofounder and codirector of the PERI institute, Bob Pollin.

    Thanks for joining us.

    PROF. ROBERT POLLIN, CODIRECTOR, POLITICAL ECONOMY RESEARCH INSTITUTE: Thank you very much for having me, Paul.

    JAY: So what are you working on this week?

    POLLIN: Well, this week was really important in terms of the struggle, debate around climate change. Just yesterday, Sunday, there was 50,000, 60,000 people marching on Washington to support serious action around climate change. Five days before that, President Obama's State of the Union address, he did come out more strongly than he had in many years in terms of introducing serious measures to control climate change. He said that in his State of the Union. That hearkened back to his inaugural speech, where he also made some strong statements as regards climate change, all to the good, all to the very good.

    At the same time, unfortunately, in the very same speech—indeed, pretty much in the very same paragraph of the speech—Obama recommitted himself to allowing natural gas and oil exploration, drilling, production, to expand rapidly. Indeed, he said he was going to cut red tape to accelerate the rate at which natural gas and oil production are going to increase in this country. That's very, very bad news.

    JAY: Why is that bad news? Because his—if I understand him correctly, it's sort of a transition: you exploit the fossil fuels now, but you start building the capacity for the green later. What's wrong with that?

    POLLIN: What's wrong with it is, if we take the research from climate scientists at all seriously—some people don't, but let's take it seriously.

    JAY: And Obama says he does.

    POLLIN: Obama says he does. And if you do, there is simply no way that we are going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by allowing natural gas production to expand. I want to state that very strongly. Natural gas, purported to be a clean fuel alternative to coal and oil, a clean fossil fuel alternative, it is cleaner than coal, it is moderately cleaner than oil in terms of emissions per unit of energy produced, but it is not clean. It is not clean, according to a standard by which we say we need to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent as of 2030. That's the Obama administration's own standard, to cut greenhouse gas emissions relative to today by 40 percent as of 2030. It's a very, very ambitious agenda, and there is simply no way to get there if you were going to allow natural gas to expand. There is no way to get there.

    So the fact that Obama is saying he wants natural gas to expand means that he isn't taking his own climate change goals for 2030—much less 2050—but for 2030, he is not taking them seriously.

    JAY: And he also—he didn't specifically say it in this speech, but he's said it before: he believes there's such a thing as clean coal. And unless I'm mistaken, there's no evidence that such a thing exists.

    POLLIN: Well, the technology that people talk about, a so-called carbon capture and sequestration—that is, you burn the coal, or for that matter you burn the natural gas or you burn the oil, and you have a technology that captures the carbon emissions, the bad stuff, and then inject—and carries those emissions through pipelines and injects them into crevices underneath the earth's surfaces, finds those crevices, injects them, and then they stay there till the end of time. Some people have worked on it. There is no evidence that it can work. There's certainly no evidence that it can work on a big scale. And there's no evidence as to whether this can be done rapidly and in an affordable way.

    What we know is that alternatively, investing in renewable energy, clean energy, clean renewables, solar, wind, small-scale hydro, geothermal, these things are becoming cost-competitive with fossil fuels even without hundreds of billions of dollars subsidies to build the technologies. So why not—if we're going to invest in a whole new generation of technologies, what we should be doing is investing in the clean technologies that provide us a permanent solution to the problem of greenhouse gas emissions.

    JAY: Now, the other thing he said in his speech—which he's always said, and recommitted this: that this all has to be a market-based solution. Now, he also suggested that if the House doesn't go along with this, he says by executive order he can order certain things. But I didn't find it very clear whether he meant he'll just order market-based solutions, which is something in the realm of cap and trade, 'cause that's always what he's talked about, or will he actually order some regulatory authority to actually mitigate, reduce carbon emission. It was very vague, I thought.

    POLLIN: Well, the—cap and trade is not on the books, the measure to set a cap on the amount of emissions. That's not on the books. So that has to pass Congress.

    What he was talking about was enforcing existing Environmental Protection Agency rules that are in place, which, if they are aggressively enforced like they should be, coal—basically, roughly half of the existing coal plants become not commercial, not commercially viable, and you would cut coal production around half of what it is today, just by enforcing existing standards. And this is research done not by me, but actually by—Deutsche Bank has a research branch which looks into these things on climate issues. So this is Deutsche Bank's own findings. So you could get coal down by 50 percent by enforcing existing Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

    But that does not get us anywhere with respect to oil or with respect to natural gas. And with respect to oil and natural gas, he is saying, let's build them up, let's keep expanding, let's keep burning it. And, yes, maybe we'll have this carbon capture technology in place, but it's not on the horizen. Meanwhile, we're going to keep spewing greenhouse gas emissions into the environment. And like I said, again, there is no way we get close to hitting Obama's own targets for emissions reductions by 2030.

    JAY: And he's never suggested that he is going to crack down on coal in terms of regulatory authority. I mean, in the election campaign and such, I thought he more or less said the opposite of that.

    POLLIN: Well, I mean, what was in his speech, the State of the Union the other day, is saying, well, that, you know, maybe [incompr.] we don't know that he [incompr.] The point is, look, there are people in coal mining communities who will be hurt. We need transitional policies for them. We can't neglect that. There will be people hurt in the oil and gas industries if they're not allowed to expand. That's true. But that is the only thing that those things have to happen if we're going to hit the emission targets. I can give you chapter and verse on all that, but that's the end result.

    So the rally that took place yesterday in Washington was a major step forward in advancing a serious agenda for climate change. And as you and I have talked about many times, advancing the agenda for controlling climate change can also be an agenda for job creation and can push us towards full employment.

    JAY: Thanks for joining us, Bob.

    POLLIN: Thank you very much for having me.

    JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

    End

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    Assessing the U.S. Environmental Movement on Earth Day 2014
    Exclusive Investigation Uncovers How BP Uses Bribes To Do Business
    The Modern History of Venezuela, The Protests and Democracy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (8/9)
    Greek Politics 4 Years After The Financial Crisis
    CBO Report Confirms U.S. Deficit Back to Normal Level
    Israel Uses Refugees as "Currency" in Arms Trade with Africa
    Who Will Pay for Climate Change Disaster?
    Canada Shifts to Right Under Harper, Mimicking the United States
    The Savings and Loan Crisis Demonstrates the Importance of Glass-Steagall
    South African Platinum Miner's Struggle Challenges ANC Leadership
    TRNN Original Report: Manning Determined to Fight Back After Army Upholds 35- Year Sentence
    Hundredth Anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre
    The Bundy Ranch Standoff Demonstrates Values Shared by Corporations and the Far Right
    The Resegregation of American Schools
    The Modern History of Venezuela, Why Still So Much Crime? - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (7/9)
    What Role Has Russia Played in Eastern Ukraine?
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (2/2)
    University Sit-In Targets World's Largest Private Coal Company
    The Modern History of Venezuela and the Need for a Post-Oil Economy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (6/9)
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (1/2)
    One Percent of Environmentalists Killings Lead to Convictions
    Investigation Finds Former Ukraine President Not Responsible For Sniper Attack on Protestors
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Ukraine Transitional Gov't Moves Militarily To Reclaim Seized Buildings
    IPCC Report Flawed By Narrow Focus on Carbon Emissions
    The Modern History of Venezuela: The Bolivarian Revolution - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (5/9)
    Obama Signs Directives to Reduce the Gender Wage Gap
    Eastern Ukraine Lacks Political Representation in Kiev
    Demystifying the Role of Mitigation in the Most Recent IPCC Report
    Hypersurveillance State Won't Prevent Another Boston Marathon Bombing
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Univ. of Maine Faculty Reinstated After Students Protest Against Cuts
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1908 to 1973 - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (2/9)
    IMF Will Address Global Inequality, Says Managing Director Christine Lagarde
    Raising Big Banks' Leverage Ratio Good, But Not Nearly Enough
    TRNN Replay: Austerity Road to 19th Century
    Has Palestinian Maneuvering Revived Peace Talks?
    Late Jackson Mayor Lumumba's Son Wins Primary to Replace His Father, Runoff Election Ahead
    Quebecers Reject PQ and Elect a Liberal Government Representing Big Business
    TRNN Debate: Decriminalization vs. Legalization
    The Beginning of the Chavez Era - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (4/9)
    "Off With His Head": Court Upholds Obama's Power to Kill
    Workers at Nation's Top Hospital Strike For Fair Wages
    From Exile to Radicalization in Venezuela - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (1/9)
    Rwanda 20 Years Later: Genocide, Western Plunder of Congo, and President Kagame
    Ukrainian Protesters in the East Demand More Autonomy From Kiev Government
    Hunger Strikers Demand President Obama Halt His Record 2 Million Deportations
    Indian Parliamentary Elections - A Primer With Vijay Prashad
    West Looks to Carve Up Ukraine & Privatize Industries Held by Kleptocrats
    Where Are Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations Headed?
    The Multiple Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia (5/5)
    Do the Afghan Presidential Elections Signify Progress?
    Republican Presidential Hopefuls Pay Homage to Billionaire Casino Tycoon Sheldon Adelson
    Will Extremist Lieberman Become Israel's Next Prime Minister?
    Why do the Saudis Want the US to Attack Iran? (4/5)
    Immigrant Advocates and Families Tell President Obama 'Not One More'
    Elections, Pipelines, and Protests - The Canada Panel
    Chris Hedges on "Israel's War on American Universities"
    Baltimore Residents Decry Lack of Affordable Housing
    Yellen Talks the Talk But Will She Walk the Walk?
    Hopkins Hospital Workers Speak Out against "Poverty Wages"
    Will Venezuela's New Floating Exchange Rate Curb Inflation?
    The European Central Bank's War on Wages is Pushing Europe's Economy to the Brink
    Supreme Court Decision Opens Floodgates for More Campaign Cash
    Charles Keating, the Financier Behind the Savings and Loan Scandal, Dies at 90
    Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda Monster (3/5)
    Maryland Residents Voice Opposition to Natural Gas Fracking Export Facility
    Supreme Court Ruling Gives Wealthy Individuals More Influence Over Elections
    What are the Saudis Afraid Of? - Madawi Al-Rasheed (2/5)
    Baltimore's MICA Adjunct Professors Set to Vote on Unionization
    Boycott of Israel Moving to Next Level?
    Hypocrisy Dressed Up as "Realism" Justifies American Alliance with Saudi Dictatorship
    Immigration Reform in the Shadows of Cesar Chavez's Legacy
    Leaked Senate Report Shows Use of Torture As "Ineffective"
    UN Report Says Climate Change Will Threaten Food Production Worldwide
    The Hypocrisy of US Calling for Enforcement of International Law
    How the Ecuadorian Economy Grew in a Global Recession
    'Shadows of Liberty' Trailer
    Kristina Borjesson on Why CBS Shut Down Her investigation into Flight 800 (2/8)
    Glen Ford on Racism in the American Media (3/8)
    Paul Jay on What Drives Corporate Media and What Drive The Real News (4/8)
    Creating a New Media Paradigm After Citizens United (5/8)
    Should The Left Engage with the Mainstream Media? (6/8)
    What Is the Financial Backing For The Real News? (7/8)
    Standing up to Character Assassination (8/8)
    Oligarchs, Fascists and the People's Protest in Ukraine
    TRNN Debate: Is Obamacare In the Interest of Workers?
    Too-Big-To-Fail Advantage Remains Intact For Big Banks
    Obama and the Saudi Agenda
    TRNN Replay: Investigating the Saudi Government's 9/11 Connection and the Path to Disilliusionment - Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt 1
    The Iraq War's Real Legacy
    Petitions with 100,000+ Signatures Call for Snowden's Passport to be Reinstated
    We Need to Harness People Power - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)
    BC Pipeline Fight and Quebec Elections - The Canada Panel
    Jonathan Schell - 1943-2014: Board Member of TRNN on Why We Need The Real News
    Teachers on Strike from the UK to Argentina
    Connecticut Poised to Become First State with $10.10 Minimum Wage
    Oil Spill Threatens Wildlife and Local Economy
    DC School Test Scores Up, But Poor Black Kids Are Doing Worse - Andy Shallal on RAI (3/4)
    Obama's Proposal To End NSA Bulk Data Collection Won't Protect Privacy
    How Google, Apple & The Biggest Tech Companies Colluded to Fix Workers' Wages
    An American Should be One that Questions Their Government - Andy Shallal on RAI (2/4)
    What's Driving Putin & Obama's Posturing on Ukraine?
    Hundreds of Students & Faculty Occupy College Campus to Fight Cuts to Public Higher Ed
    Due Process 'Impossible' In Harsh Death Sentencing Of Over 500 Muslim Brotherhood Members
    Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?
    Being the "Other" in America - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (1/4)
    TRNN Debate: Should Baltimore 'Ban The Box'?
    How Fallujah Became the Iraqi Government's New Battleground
    Why I Decided to Blow the Whistle on the NSA
    NASA Climate Predictions Show Serious Threat To Humanity
    Professor Who Teaches Israel-Palestine Conflict Accuses College of Violating His Academic Freedom
    CIA and NSA Wrongdoing Requires Independent Investigation, Says Former Church Committee Staff
    Are Tuition Breaks Enough To Combat High Student Debt And Low Graduation Rates?
    Industries Across the U.S. Are Stealing Wages From Their Lowest Paid Workers
    Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?
    NSA Recording All International Calls From U.S.
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (2/2)
    BP Gets Green Light to Drill in Gulf, But Has Safety Improved?
    Residents Still Not Drinking Tap Water Two Months After West Virginia Spill (1/2)
    Libya's Descent Into Turmoil Three Years After NATO Intervention
    From Pipelines to Peladeau - Canadian Report
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (1/2)
    Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Strikes Back Against Austerity
    Libya Three Years Later - Chaos and Partition
    Why Was Gaddafi Overthrown?
    Should Ukraine and West Accept De Facto Crimea Joining Russia? (2/2)
    Tony Benn Saw Socialism as the Culmination of Democratization
    Why Didn't Bush/Cheney Attack Iran and Can Obama Make and Sell a Deal? - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi? (2/2)
    Crimea Referendum: Self Determination or Big Power Manipulation? (1/2)
    Sen. Graham: President Must Side with Openness About CIA and 9/11
    Manufacturing a Narrative for War - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    Protesters Hit the Streets of Brooklyn to Demand $15 Minimum Wage
    Hammer: 'Moral Bankruptcy' Behind Massive GM Recall
    White House Withholds Thousands of Documents from Senate CIA Probe
    I Grew Up Believing in Time Magazine's Version of America - Gareth Porter on RAI (1/3)
    Western European Banks Vulnerable to Ukrainian Sovereign Debt Crisis
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (2/2)
    CIA vs. Senate: Who Is Obama Protecting?
    Will Tipped Workers Get Excluded Again From Minimum Wage Hike?
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (1/2)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi?(1/2)
    TRNN Replay: A Look at Who's Poised to Become No.2 at the Fed
    How Right-Wing Nationalism Rose to Influence in Ukraine (2/2)
    Netanyahu Attacks Boycott As Campaign Enters New Phase
    Moving Towards a Police State - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (7/7)
    Fighting Reagan's Secret, Illegal Wars - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (6/7)
    Puerto Rican Independence Movement and Cuba Further Radicalized Me - Michael Ratner on RAI (5/7)
    The Butcher of Attica - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (4/7)
    MLK and a Radicalizing Moment in American History - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (3/7)

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting