President Obama, speaking at the annual “Chevron remembers Nagasaki” memorial service, today praised the US oil giant for its role “in helping all of us learn from history.”
Speaking in San Fransisco moments before the crowd-pleasing pyrotechnic recreation of the 1944 blasts in Japan, Obama cited the role of the oil industry in working towards world peace since the dropping of the atom bombs — a first in human history — effectively ended World War II.Obama used the occasion to tout his “all of the above” energy policies, which support the continued development of the fossil fuel industries. “There is no other industry group more appropriate to help us commemorate this sobering moment in history.”
He cited the following as fossil fuel industry achievements:
- The world’s forests are dying.
- The world’s oceans are acidifying, causing, among other things, the loss of the global coral reef system.
- Arctic ice has melted in such historic proportions that scientists now predict the Arctic will be completely free of all summer ice by 2030.
- The world’s food supply is — literally — drying up. Croatia, Italy, Russia, the US, and other countries have all recently reported massive disruptions in vital crop yields due to historic drought and heat.
“And just this week,” added the President, “we learned that hundreds of thousands of fish — maybe millions — are turning up dead throughout the Midwest in rivers they were living in for thousands of years.”
“Scientists are saying it’s due to the heat waves.”
Mr. Obama, recently criticized by his Republican Presidential rival Mitt Romney for being ‘anti-oil’, seemed eager to use the occasion to lavish public praise on the achievements of the industry:
“The bombs dropped over Japan 67 years ago may have obliterated two cities in the blink of an eye,” he said, “but the reach of the fossil fuel industry may even be greater than those 20 kilotons bombs. Whole ecosystems are collapsing now, due to the greenhouse gas emissions from oil, gas and coal technologies. Our needs for energy independence can’t simply ignore this, and we will continue to support the fossil fuel industry here at home — and around the world.”
Environmentalists, meanwhile, protested outside the ceremony. Pulitzer Prize–winning author Chris Hedges wrote an article equating the 1944 bombings and today’s fossil fuel industries, saying both were examples of “moral idiots” in charge of complex and dangerous scientific technologies.
Reached on his Presidential campaign bus, Republican hopeful Mitt Romney criticized the President for “cynically using the somber occasion of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki anniversaries to score cheap political points with the oil industry. He may try to cozy up to them — but the American people know who the real friend of big oil is — and that’s me.”
The above story is satire.
President Obama did not speak at a Chevron commemoration ceremony. There was no Chevron commemoration ceremony.
There was, however, a fire at a Chevron oil refinery near San Fransisco — one of the nation’s largest refineries — which sent hundreds to the hospital and left thousands more with orders to remain in their homes with doors and windows shut. See SFGate for more. Or watch the video on HuffPo.
And yes, the forests, oceans, Arctic ice, and world food supply are all reporting dramatic declines. And fish in the Midwest are turning up dead by the tens of thousands. As cited:
- Forests: NY Times, October 1, 2011: Threats to a Crucial Canopy: Deaths of Forests, by Justin Gillis
- Oceans and Coral Reefs: Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory Carbon Dioxide Program (And Yale360 piece)
- Food supply articles here, here, and here.
- Fish dying.
And protests are growing: One group of Texans is finalizing plans now for a human blockade of the Keystone XL Pipeline, due to begin construction by the end of August. Similar protests are occurring around the world. See this video:
And Chris Hedges really did inspire this article. His reflections on the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, published yesterday, draw parallels between the ‘moral idiots’ who could order such bombings in 1944 and the fossil fuel industry leaders who, today, continue their greenhouse gas-emitting drilling, fracking, and mountaintop removal operations unabated.
Don Lieber's writing and research has been published by the United Nations, The Associated Press, The International Campaign to Ban Landmines, The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, E-The Environmental Magazine and others. He contributes regularly to PlanetSave.com.