Tag Archives: climate policy

The Courage to Act: Obama on Climate Leadership

“The question is not whether we need to act. Science has now put that to rest. The question now is whether we will have the courage to act before it’s too late. As a president, as a father, and as an American, I’m here to say we need to act. I refuse to condemn your generation and future generations to a planet that’s beyond fixing.” Barack Obama 6/25/13

I’ve just finished listening to President Barack Obama deliver the most important speech of his presidency. I should note that the network and cable news channels tuned out after just a few minutes – there’s a spy on the loose somewhere in Moscow. But 350.org streamed it live, and I watched.

President Obama at Georgetown University. Courtesy Alexei Laushkin

President Obama at Georgetown University. Courtesy Alexei Laushkin

I have to say, I’m stunned. I didn’t believe I would hear an American president deliver such a message. But he did. In the coming days and weeks, you’ll hear all kinds of pronouncements – condemning or praising – about the plan he outlined. But let me just give you a series of unedited snippets from my notes.

  • Scientists have known since the 1800s that greenhouse gases trap heat.  This is 18th century science, and it’s settled.
  • The 12 warmest [global] years in recorded history have all come in the last 15 years. 2012 was the warmest year in our [US] history.  Just last week, a heat wave in Alaska shot temperatures into the 90s. We know no single weather event is caused by climate change… but all weather events are affected by a warming planet. Continue reading