THE BLOG

Obama's Climate Schizophrenia

10/14/2010 09:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The last few days have been something of a roller coaster for the climate movement. On Sunday, October 10th, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in the U.S. and around the world to work on fighting climate change and push our leaders to do the same. Then on Monday, the Obama Administration announced the lifting of the offshore drilling moratorium that was put in place in response to the BP oil disaster.

The contrast was stark: A global movement demanding that their leaders get serious about climate change and building a clean energy future, while the President of the United States sends a very public signal that it's back to business as usual -- essentially an endorsement of the dirty energy sources that have us over the climate barrel.

There's no denying that President Obama has accomplished a lot on climate in two short years, including his recent decisions to put solar on the White House next spring and the approval of two major solar power installations in the Southwest. But when the President abruptly reverses one of his most visible responses to the BP oil disaster just three weeks before Election Day, it's no wonder the American people are confused about the urgency of the climate crisis and the need to transition to clean energy sources immediately. They look to the President for leadership -- and right now, they're getting very mixed signals.

It's no mystery who's behind this decision. Big Oil, Dirty Coal, and their allies have spent more than $990 million to influence the current Congress and to elect a whole slate of climate deniers and shills for big polluters this November. Monday's announcement of the lifting of the moratorium is yet another example of just how hard these dirty fuel companies are leaning on our leaders and why we need to push back.

In the face of this Administration's climate schizophrenia, the 10/10/10 Global Work Parties were a critical reminder to our leaders in Washington that the climate movement is alive, growing, and ready to keep fighting. Hundreds of thousands of people attended at least 7,347 events in 188 countries and all 50 states -- the largest climate grassroots day of action in history. One day of action won't solve the climate crisis, but on 10/10/10, we showed our leaders that Big Oil and Dirty Coal are not the only game in town.

The 10/10/10 Global Work Parties were just the start of a movement-wide push on President Obama to fulfil his promises to the international community in Cancún during COP16 this fall -- even as we support him when he comes through on climate, as when he decided to put solar on the White House. But more importantly, we'll keep pushing him to provide the American people with clear, consistent leadership on climate and energy. When it comes to climate, this one-step-forward, two-steps-back approach just won't do.