Environmentalists should cool their jets in regards to supporting anti-fracking movements like the “keep it in the ground” movement, President Barack Obama told actor Leonardo DiCaprio Monday at a White House panel.
“If you are a working class family, and dad has to drive 50 miles to get to his job, the most economically important decision for him is to have low prices,” Obama said at an event leading up to the opening of DiCaprio’s latest documentary on global warming.
The president was speaking with climate activist Katharine Hayhoe and the “Wolf of Wall Street” actor at a White House event called, “South By South Lawn.”
“If you start lecturing him about climate change, it just isn’t going to register,” Obama added.
The president was attempting to stifle some of the high-minded rhetoric the Oscar award-winning actor has spewed recently regarding the importance of going green. Obama’s advice to DiCaprio, as well as those in attendance can be summed up thus: be less preachy.
DiCaprio is no stranger to hyped up rhetoric, having spent much of the year at press junkets for his movies blasting what he calls the “corporate greed” associated with the fossil fuel industry. He even praised the anti-pipeline protesters in North Dakota during his comments Monday.
The actor was honored at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January for his environmental activism and philanthropy work that his namesake charity.
“Those entities with a financial interest in preserving this destructive system have denied and even covered-up the evidence of our changing climate,” the actor said at the time.
The president went on to give tepid praise to the fossil fuel industry for developing a process — fracking — that injects cheap, clean energy into the market.
“When you think about coal … we have reduced the amount of power from coal … but number one … coal miners feel battered, so they blame me. We’ve seen reduced coal prices because of fracking, not because of my regulations. ”
“We have to live in the real world,” because keeping fossil fuels in the ground right now is simply not viable, Obama said.
Accepting nuclear power and fracking as viable ways of reducing greenhouse gasses is a responsible compromise environmentalists can take, the president added.
The actor’s new climate change documentary, “Before The Flood,” shows DiCaprio jet-setting around the world, watching glaciers from helicopters, and convening with world leaders and various climate scientists.
“Climate change is the most critical and urgent problem facing our world today, and it must be a top issue for voters this election day,” DiCaprio told reporters Tuesday.
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