Apart from the optics, Rex Tilllerson would have been a perfect fit in the Obama administration: both are deeply invested in fracking. Tillerson loves it, as long as it’s not in his backyard.
Here, for historical perspective, is Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address:
We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years. (Applause.) And my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy. Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. […] America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk.
Compare Obama’s optimism with what Chris Mooney writes in the Washington Post, in Rex Tillerson’s view of climate change: It’s just an ‘engineering problem’:
Most prominent of all, perhaps, was Tillerson’s technological optimism about humans finding a way to solve the problem:
And as human beings as a — as a — as a species, that’s why we’re all still here. We have spent our entire existence adapting, OK? So we will adapt to this. Changes to weather patterns that move crop production areas around — we’ll adapt to that. It’s an engineering problem, and it has engineering solutions. And so I don’t — the fear factor that people want to throw out there to say we just have to stop this, I do not accept.
In 2011, before Obama’s 2012 State of the Union, Propublica listed Exxon Mobil as the number one the American fracked-gas drillers. That same year, Time honored Cornell University professors Anthony Ingraffea and Robert Howarth as “People Who Mattered.” They:
produced one of the most controversial scientific studies of the year: a paper arguing that natural gas produced by fracking may actually have a bigger greenhouse gas footprint than coal.
Time mentioned Mark Ruffalo because of his tireless activism against fracking. Controversial as the research might once have been, more and more studies confirm the work.
President Obama’s optimism, as expressed in his promise “to safely develop this energy” is up there with Tillerson’s view that climate change is nothing but an engineering problem. The president forgot to mention that nobody knows how to stop fracked gas wells from leaking.
The Obama White House did Exxon Mobil’s bidding, but nobody seemed to notice. The Trump administration will do the same, and as Bill McKibben said on Democracy Now:
What I think we need to say, over and over and over again, is: “The era of any pretense is over!”
Phew, got that off my chest. Now it’s time to heed Senator Reed’s advice and focus on the Russians.