Remember that scene in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy hits a fork in the Yellow Brick Road? As she stands there stumped, a friendly character who will accompany her to the Emerald Palace pipes up.
“Pardon me, that way is a very nice way,” the Scarecrow advises as he points in one direction. “It’s pleasant down that way too,” he adds, now pointing in the other. Then the Scarecrow crosses his straw-stuffed arms and unhelpfully declares, “Of course people do go both ways.”
President Barack Obama’s climate leadership is as hard to follow as the Scarecrow’s directions.
After seven years of waffling, Obama finally rejected the Keystone XL pipeline. If completed, this conduit would have moved more than 800,000 barrels a day of filthy oil mined from the Canadian tar sands through Nebraska and five other states to refineries along the Gulf Coast.
Rejecting the $8 billion pipeline early in his first term would have been bold. But Obama dallied. He only stopped it once the thing made no financial sense because of low oil prices and similar infrastructure that rendered the project unnecessary. Making this move now, on the eve of global climate talks in Paris, was merely expedient. He made his choice sound like a bigger deal than it was anyway.