Obama talks the talk on climate change

Written By: - Date published: 9:45 am, February 14th, 2013 - 38 comments
Categories: climate change, disaster, us politics - Tags: , ,

The first State of the Union of Obama’s second term was widely anticipated. He can’t seek re-election, he now has experience, he understands futility of expecting cooperation from Republicans, he has four years to act. So what is he going to do with his final term? In particular, is Obama going to act on climate change?

The Guardian has a good summary of the speech. Yes – thank goodness – Obama is talking the talk:

“For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change.

Yes, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods – all are now more frequent and intense. We can choose to believe that superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgement of science – and act before it’s too late,” he said.

“If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.

How soon is soon? Obama can’t seriously expect anything useful to come out of the broken facade that is Congress. He should start now, act now, there is no time to waste. Please Mr President – turn your words into actions.

38 comments on “Obama talks the talk on climate change”

  1. Polish Pride 1

    now let’s see words become actions – please…
    ……good luck

  2. Macro 2

    Yes but will he walk the talk – we have heard all this before!
    The pipeline should be the first to go. And then he could reign in the fracking. We shall see.

    • andyS 2.1

      Why should he “reign in the fracking”.?

      CO2 emissions in the USA are down to something like 1990 levels, due in part to the transition to natural gas away from coal.

      Even Michael Mann has acknowledged that this might actually be a good thing

      • Macro 2.1.1

        andy – You know as well as I that the States needs to drastically reduce its per capita GHG emissions (this has been demonstrated to you many times on Hot Topic). Not only are there many unpleasant side effects from Fracking, so called “cheap oil” will only result in the persistence of “business as usual” attitudes to the use of fossil fuels. The whole world including the States, along with the rest of the Western world, and the “developing countries” of China and India, has to ween itself off oil as quickly as possible.

  3. Tiresias 3

    Sorry but even if Obama was sincere about this – and I don’t doubt that he believes the science but do doubt his response to the reality of it* – he can achieve very little without a large and vocal slice of the American people behind him willing the accept the expense and inconvenience of a major shift away from a petrochemical economy, and that he’ll never have. The bulk of the American people, like I fear Obama, believe in a God who would never let anything really bad happen to America.

    *Apparently Congregationalist. He is reported to have prayed, “Lord, give me patience as I watch Malia go to her first dance, where there will be boys. Lord, let her skirt get longer as she travels to that place.” Twelve-year-old Malia is the older of his two daughters:


    A man who apparently believes the Almighty can be asked to take divine action over the length of his daughter’s skirt presumably takes great comfort from Genesis 9:13, which suggests he really regards global warming as at worst an inconvenience to the onward march of America, and something the Lord can switch off whenever He chooses. Even if Obama himself is somewhat more cynical the fact that he had to pander thus to popular opinion suggests the bulk of his citizenry isn’t.

    • Tom Gould 3.1

      Again, the evangelical atheists of the hard left lash out driven by their anger and despair and hatred. The President delivered the speech yesterday, and today the left want to know how come climate change isn’t fixed already. Pathetic.

      • Tiresias 3.1.1

        Sorry. I’m baffled by this comment.

        Yes, the denialism of the religious drives me to despair. If you genuinely believe in the god of the Christians, the god of the Moslems or the god of the Jews it follows as day after night that the all-powerful, omnipotent Creator of the Universe is at least aware of global warming, and:

        1. knows it’s nothing to worry about, or
        2. knows it could seriously alter the environment through sea-level rise and climate change but that such changes will actually be beneficial to humanity, or
        3. knows it could seriously alter the environment through sea-level rise and climate change but mankind will get its act together and do the right things to avoid or mitigate it in time, or
        4. knows it could seriously alter the environment through sea-level rise and climate change but intends to step in Himself just in time in order give us a fright and get us back into church/mosque/synagogue, or
        5. knows it could seriously alter the environment through sea-level rise and climate change and set civilisation back a couple of millenia, but has decided it wouldn’t be a breach of His Rainbow Covenant because we did it to ourselves rather than having it done unto us by Him.

        Under any of those scenarios (feel free to add to them) the religious American will feel no obligation whatever to give up his 5-miles-to-the-gallon automonstrosity or adjust his central heating whatever the President says about “believing in the overwhelming judgement science” because, of course, science is always trumped by God’s divine will.

        However why you think that view should make me complain that Obama’s pronouncements haven’t instantly solved global warming baffles me.

        • Tiresias

          FWIW I’ve little doubt Obama’s ‘Christianity’ is no more than a charade necessary to tick the box that requires anyone seeking high political office in the US to be ‘a Christian’ – Americans would vote a black woman into the Presidency before they would vote for a white male atheist. After all, Obama’s daughter going to a dance would be under constant supervision by at least three CIA security men so could go naked without her father having to worry about any boy trying anything he shouldn’t, which means his ‘prayer’ above was no more than a cynical play for public consumption intended to bolster his credentials both as a ‘God-fearing’ Christian and concerned, loving family man.

        • Dr Terry

          Tiresias. You denigrate large numbers of American Christians who by no means are into “Biblical literalism” or “creationism”. Any kind of generalisation is a dangerous thing. You are very close to making mockery of the entire Christian faith. Ever so many Christians are immensely in favour of acting urgently upon “climate change”, and many of us (myself included) are scientists ourselves, or on very good terms with the discipline of scientific research. You are tarring all Christians with the same brush, judging them according to the “lowest common perception”. There are many problems that might be connected to any of the world religions, I am the first to acknowledge the fact, but even Christian opinion deserves just research prior to a person’s public demonstration of ignorance concerning this topic. A partial truth (which is what you want to see) is by no means representative of the whole “truth” (as far as any truth can be ascertained). There are Christians and there are Christians, just as there are atheists and there are atheists.

          • RJLC

            Tiresias. FWIW I don’t see anything wrong with you mocking the entire christian faith.

            But we digress.

          • Tiresias

            Dr. Terry.

            “There are Christians and there are Christians, just as there are atheists and there are atheists.”

            However there are certain essential qualifications to genuinely being a Christian just as there are to genuinely being an atheist.

            Are you maintaining you can be a Christian and yet believe in a God who (that? which?) would stand by and do nothing as mankind, or rather a over-indulgent minority of mankind, destroyed His Creation for everyone?

            • Macro

              I think that would be true.

            • Colonial Viper

              or rather a over-indulgent minority of mankind, destroyed His Creation for everyone?

              Pretty sure there is a whole section of the bible devoted to this.

              • Rogue Trooper

                Yep. There are Christians, and then there are christians (but we have been over this rocky ground sooo many times before, scientifically, theologically, hermeneutically, even philosophically) Man, talk about literalism, and yes, te over-indulgent shall..
                actually, did you know Cayce could absorb entire books just by layng them beneath his pillow while he slept, or that his visions suggested a China as the “cradle of christianity” and Russia as a “peacemaker / type of antichrist” ?

  4. infused 4

    lol, as if he will do anything. Thought you’d know that by now.

  5. emergency mike 5

    I’m sorry to sound cynical, and I hope I’m wrong, but Obama saying nice words that people want to hear just doesn’t do much for me anymore.

  6. BLiP 6


    Can’t make up my mind about Obama. When I’m feeling generous, I wonder if the President has little or nothing to do with what actually happens in the United States; as if politics is a charade to keep the hoi polloi entertained while a cloaked corporatocracy actually runs the show.

    There’s a great story-line in a “Yes, Minister” episode where the only way Jim Hacker can get something he wants is to announce it on live television, thus forcing the bureaucrats to comply. That series, of course, was back in the 1980s – the epoch where public service was deliberately made mockery of to futher business interests. As funny as it was, “Yes, Minister” did us all a disservice for it served to filter neoliberal ideology into the living rooms of a largely somnambulant citizenry.

    So, yeah, the rat race is over, the rats won. Unless Obama can pull ” a Jim Hacker” with this announcement, reach over the heads of the corporates and fire the imagination of the population. Doubtful, of course. So entrenched is the contrived “them and us” device in US politics, the corporates know that whatever whoever says about anything half the population will rally against it.

    Guantanamo. Still waiting. And WTF is up with CISPA!!!

  7. Dr Terry 7

    Whatever people think of Obama, they have no business calling into question his personal beliefs and convictions and hold these against him politically. Nevertheless, my concern is not so much about what he did say, as what he did not say. Presently the widespread use of unmanned American drones is hugely controversial in his own country and throughout the world, mainly because they are well known for causing countless innocent civilian deaths, and threaten even Americans themselves who happen to “have wrong thoughts”. This is but representative of several issues that appear to have been studiously avoided in the speech.

    • RJLC 7.1

      Whatever people think of Obama, they have no business calling into question his personal beliefs and convictions and hold these against him politically

      The point made above at 3.111, about which you moan, was that such judgment is indulged in by the overwhelming majority of US voters. Your indignation is hollow.

    • Tiresias 7.2

      I did not question his personal beliefs. I questioned the sincerity of his profession of belief.

    • Afewknowthetruth 7.3

      Science is not a matter of personal beliefs.

      I cannot say that I believe gravity has a value of 5 metres per second squared, or that the freezing point of pure water is 20oC. Unless I am a fuckwit politician -which they all are, of course.

      • Colonial Viper 7.3.1

        Science is not a matter of personal beliefs.

        But how science is viewed, used and manipulated in society is most certainly a matter of personal beliefs.

        • Afewknowthetruth

          How science is viewed is largely a matter of cultural training within ‘the empire’. Indeed, how practically everything is viewed in the empire is a matter of brainwashing.

          Last night I went to a ‘discussion on sustainability’. Not one of the ‘experts’ lined up by the organisers had the first idea about sustainability. It was all completely idiotic. But to the uninformed masses I’m sure it all sounded very plausible because there were lots of colourful slide to look at. ……. houses made from aluminium, glass, stainless steel,,,,, car sharing to reduce fuel use… blah, blah blah.

          ‘Everyone’ seems to think that we can keep this utterly destructive and totally unsustainable civilisation going by just tweaking things slightly.

        • Mr. Moe

          How science is viewed can be personal. Still you need to look at all the facts on both sides. According to this analyst looking at real data there may actually be a weak case for climate change. http://www.statisticsblog.com/2012/12/the-surprisingly-weak-case-for-global-warming/

          • RJLC

            Science doesn’t pay attention to the magical balance fairy. Nor does it take notice of no-name blogs.

            Get your climate science from scientists that do it, like those in NASA:


            You know, the organisation that put a car on Mars using a sky crane.

            Or those charged with collating the current understanding of the science.


  8. Bill 8

    …prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change…

    And there it is right there, straight from the horses mouth – there is no intention to do anything. Quite clearly the plan is to ‘batton down the hatches’. No plan to avoid 2 degrees C. No plan to avoid 4 degrees C. Just ‘prepare our communities’ for …well, there is no possible preparation for 4 degrees C, so he must be refering to preparation for 2 degrees C. Shame we’re heading for 4 degrees C though, innit?

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Its gonna be very very messy. And the kids in high school today are going to have to deal with the worst of it.

      • Afewknowthetruth 8.1.1

        I often wonder how young people are going to react when they finally work out how much they have been lied to by their elders…… especially so-called community leaders. Will they reinvent the guillotine or will a piece of rope over a lamppost do?

  9. Afewknowthetruth 9

    Like all politicians, Obama is a lying toad. He has no intention of doing anything about climate change, Indeed, his administration is pushing as hard as it can to get the Keystone pipeline constructed, against the wishes of numerous communities along the route, in order to bring the dirtiest oil known to humanity -extracted from so-called tar sands of Athabasca, Alberta, at horrendous energy cost, horrendous environmental cost and horrendous greenhouse gas emission cost.

    In addition to that, the Obama administration is in favour of fracking, deep-water drilling and drilling in the Arctic.

    Obama must think we are uninformed and stupid. Oh, I forgot; most people are.

  10. JonL 10

    He always talks the talk – but abjectly fails to walk the walk! Give up on the words – look at the actions!
    By deeds, the Obama administration has been more fascist than the Bush administration! And it’s only getting worse.
    Our politicians seem to be modelling their actions on US lines, which is even worse, but,
    at least we have some opposition here (and I don’t include Labour!)

    Obama is a bought and paid for, spineless shill, just like virtually all the other US Senators and Congressmen. I wouldn’t cross the road to piss on him if he were on fire!

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