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President Obama Lays Out Climate Change Strategy
Republicans (and a few Democrats) may have killed the president’s plan for a comprehensive climate change bill in 2010, but he made clear during his second inaugural speech that we have a moral obligation to deal with climate change:
We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That’s how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.
During a long and wide-ranging speech today, the president laid out the moral, economic, and scientific case for tackling the problem and the latest steps his administration is taking to address it.
(You can watch the entire speech HERE.)
The major elements of the president’s plan include carbon pollution limits for new and existing power plants, an increase in renewable energy generated on public lands, enhanced fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles, a variety of energy efficiency measures, and both domestic and global cuts in super pollutants like HFCs, and an expanded commitment to international leadership on a wide variety of climate-change related issues.
(You can read the entire plan HERE.)
The president took climate deniers and other opponents of action to task:
We don’t have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society. Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer, but it’s not going to protect you from the coming storm.
As it turns outs, even the Flat Earth Society, which actually believes the Earth is flat, thinks climate change is caused by human activity. This puts the Flat Earth Society ahead of many conservatives when it comes to acknowledging the reality of our warming planet.
The speech concluded with a call to action to all Americans:
What we need in this fight are citizens who will stand up, and speak up, and compel us to do what this moment demands.
Understand this is not just a job for politicians. So I’m going to need all of you to educate your classmates, your colleagues, your parents, your friends. Tell them what’s at stake. Speak up at town halls, church groups, PTA meetings. Push back on misinformation. Speak up for the facts. Broaden the circle of those who are willing to stand up for our future.
Convince those in power to reduce our carbon pollution. Push your own communities to adopt smarter practices. Invest. Divest. Remind folks there’s no contradiction between a sound environment and strong economic growth. And remind everyone who represents you at every level of government that sheltering future generations against the ravages of climate change is a prerequisite for your vote. Make yourself heard on this issue.
BOTTOM LINE: We have an obligation to our children and future generations to tackle climate change and the additional steps the president announced today will put the U.S. in a position of global leadership to solve the climate crisis.