Actor, environmentalist and Academy Award nominee Mark Ruffalo wrote a Huffington Post op-ed Thursday directing scathing criticism at what he calls President Barack Obama’s unwillingness to sell out to the climate action cause.
Ruffalo, unlike fellow actor and environmental warrior Leonardo DiCaprio, has decided to produce a film entirely dedicated to raking Obama over the coals for continuing to allow natural gas exploration on public lands.
The closest DiCaprio has ever came to making a film about man-made global warming was his Best Actor Oscar-winning performance in “The Revenant,” a film which deals with man’s relationship with nature.
Ruffalo’s take on global warming in “Dear President Obama: The Clean Energy Revolution is Now” essentially lays out the ways in which Obama has supposedly failed as a climate change warrior.
The president’s record is splotchy, Ruffalo writes, because it includes things like investing in renewable energies, as well as issuing strong rhetoric against so-called global warming deniers, while “at the same time” it includes “a massive expansion of oil and natural gas drilling, much of it by more and more dangerous and extreme methods, chiefly fracking.”
According to the actor, the film also gives a voice to the victims of the president’s “above the ground” energy policies, which he says include hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Ruffalo added many people have been negatively affected by natural gas exploration, with hapless Americans succumbing to poisoned drinking water and polluted air as a result of extracting what he calls “dirty fuel” from the ground.
The actor suggested Obama do a number of things to forestall some of the damage his presidency has helped create — notably, the president should direct the Environmental Protection Agency to take seriously allegations that natural gas exploration is poisoning water, and he should stop all drilling on federal land.
Fossil fuels are on their way out, “and everybody knows it,” Ruffalo added. So it is best if Obama shifts gears away from natural gas and moves toward renewable energy — solar, wind, and water — which will, according to the actor, help bring about a better future with more jobs.
He concludes his missive by asking how long the country must be “held hostage” by lobbyists within the fossil fuel industry.
The anti-fossil fuel views expressed by Ruffalo and DiCaprio may have negative consequences for the overall fight against supposedly ever-increasing carbon emissions.
“The irony is this,” Phil West, a spokesman for Spectra Energy, told The New York Times Saturday, “The shift to additional natural gas use is a key contributor to helping the U.S. reduce energy-related emissions and improve air quality.”
In short, attacking natural gas exploration may in fact force energy producers back into the waiting arms of the coal industry, which offers energy producers a cheaper but dirtier form of fossil fuels, some say.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said something similar March 15, chastising many of her ideological compatriots including people like Ruffalo and DiCaprio, for shutting out natural gas as a possible bridge to a clean energy future.
“Proposals to end natural gas production or rapidly shut down our nation’s nuclear power fleet put ideology ahead of science and would make it harder and more costly to build a clean energy future,” the former secretary of state said in a press statement.
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