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Does Obama Mean It This Time on Climate?

Environment  (tags: animals, climate-change, CO2emissions, destruction, environment, globalwarming, greenhousegases, habitatdestruction, healthconditions, nature, oceans, politics, pollution, protection, research, science, Sustainabililty, trees, water, weather, wildlife, wo )

- 1943 days ago -
President Obama pleased--and surprised--many environmentalists with his remarks on climate change in his second inaugural speech on Monday. "We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children -->

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Kit B (276)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 7:14 am
(Image Credit: cyborgwitch/Shutterstock)

President Obama pleased—and surprised—many environmentalists with his remarks on climate change in his second inaugural speech on Monday. "We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," Obama said. "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." It wasn't just a fleeting mention, an obligatory nod to climate change alongside a host of other base-pleasing agenda items. In a short, 2000-word, 15-minute speech, Obama used nine separate sentences to lay out his belief that dealing with climate and finding sustainable energy sources are an obligation to posterity.

"I was pleasantly surprised," says Felice Stadler, senior director of the climate and energy program at the National Wildlife Federation. "It was the first time that we heard a clear signal from him that he believes in the science."

But like other enviros, Stadler tempers her enthusiasm with caution. She hopes Obama's comments on climate change mean he will put serious political weight behind the issue in his second term. But what Obama will actually propose in terms of policy—and how hard he'll push for those proposals—remains to be seen. "I think the time is now to continue the conversation and not to sit quietly and wait for some undefined moment in the future," Stadler argues.

There are good reasons to believe Obama may act. The economy now looks brighter than it did four years ago, and health care reform is out of the way, which creates an opportunity for Obama to deal with a legacy issue like climate change. But "the proof is in pudding," says Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth. "We'll know in next few months how serious he is on climate change." Pica, whose group was the first environmental group to formally endorse Obama back in 2008, now dubs himself a "skeptical Obama environmentalist." He gives the president's first term a "C, maybe a C+," noting that he's "feeling a little generous... because of the inaugural address."

Melinda Pierce, deputy national campaign director for Sierra Club, says her group is now putting all its attention on Obama. Congress "has become a place where good ideas go to die," Pierce says. "We are narrowly, myopically focused on the kind of actions that can come from the executive branch... I don't have great hopes of what Congress can deliver."

As Pierce hinted, there's a long list of things Obama could do fairly quickly to demonstrate his commitment to the environment: denying the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, finalizing greenhouse gas rules for new power plants, writing rules for planet-warming emission from existing power plants, and improving fuel economy standards for long-haul trucks and other heavy vehicles like they did for cars and light trucks, to name a few.

The first few weeks of his second term will provide an opportunity for Obama to prove his commitment to the goals he voiced Monday morning, Pierce notes. Nearly all of the members of the "Green Dream Team" he appointed in the first term have signaled their plans to leave: the heads of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Interior, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have made formal announcements, and several others are expected to follow suit. Green groups will look at the president's choices to head those agencies as an early indicator of his plans for the second term.

"We're happy that President Obama was reelected, but we can't let that happiness overshadow the amount of work we have to do," said FOE's Pica. "We can't give him free passes."

By: Kate Sheppard | Mother Jones |

Tamara Hayes (185)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 8:04 am
One can only hope that for once, the rhetoric will turn into action. We cannot afford for it not to. This is a hopeful sign yes, but, we have seen hopeful signs before and found disappointment on the other side. Thank you Kit for the share.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 8:33 am

At least someone in a leadership position has finally made a pubic statement. Whether or not something moves forward on this may be in hands of Congress. That is not good for us.

David C (131)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 8:45 am

keep sending him your emails, letters, cards, and petitions....

Past Member (0)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 8:53 am
For one of two candidates that openly ran in fear fast from any mention of climate change during the campaign, Obama has, at last, managed to say something on the subject. The problem is that we are all running out of time. Talk won't stop climate change. We need action.

Craig Pittman (52)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 4:15 pm
I too am pleased and surprised to hear these words from the President. I will be both delighted and surprised to these these words become significant actions. We can certainly hope so.
Thanks for the story Kit.

pam w (139)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 5:04 pm
Let's hope so! He understands the need.

Lin Penrose (92)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 5:26 pm
Thanks Kits. This particular climate change, is here for however long it takes to stabilize. There is no stopping the cycle in place, but perhaps, some modification by we humans will help. May be to late even for a slight improvement.

We humans have not just been tinkering with the planet, we waged and continue a whole scale war on our home. Subdue Nature to humans terms, seemed to be the call to arms for thousands of years and continues. In my view, our current world environmental condition is Thanks to some religious/political leaders/fanatics through out our historical time on this earth. Climate change is a normal cycle, but we humans have potentially, made it sooner and probably more severe. We must "hang on" for the ride and quit intentionally killing other life forms. They may be our survival net, though I'm not sure we deserve one.

Julie E (405)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 8:08 pm
I am going to be open minded and say yes he does mean it.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 8:59 pm
Hope so Cheers

De D (96)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 10:37 pm
I think so.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday January 23, 2013, 11:39 pm
Hope so too. Thanks Kit.

MmAway M (505)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 12:00 am
Not going to hold my breath...but, he has 4 years to do what he said he was going to do 4 years ago. IMHO he need to tell Ken Salazar to Giddy UP!!! PRONTO

Robert O (12)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 12:17 am
Thanks Kit. If anybody would do anything about it it would be President Obama since he seems to have a good grasp and understanding of important issues that go right over the heads of the conservatives that just don't care.

Faye S (23)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 12:32 am
I believe Obama will do his very best- I totally agree with Robert O. Let's keep encouraging the President and help him achieve what we all need to have done!

Giana P (398)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 2:04 am
Let's hope he means it and that some action will follow his hopeful words.

cecily w (0)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 3:50 am
President Obama has already acted to reduce a major cause of climate change--population growth. By spearheaing the Contraceptive Mandate and Medicaid Expansion, he has increased the availability and affordability of contraceptive medications, devices and procedures.

The President is not omnipotent. For example, he thwarted development of the Keystone XL Pipeline but yesterday 53 U.S. Senators (including some Democrats) signed a letter ramping up this development.

Sam E M (0)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 4:00 am
His children are growing up fast and you can bet they'll be pushing him to match action to words.

Ben O (171)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 4:10 am
I wish this was 40 years ago...

Past Member (0)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 5:36 am
I think he talked about climate change more than he had for the past 4 years.

Daniel Partlow (179)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 5:46 am
I sure hope so. He could pick several from the long list and get started ASAP!!

Ro H (0)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 6:17 am

Bruno Moreira (61)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 7:06 am
noted thanks

Anna Undebeck (256)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 7:15 am
noted. And hoping for the best

Wim Zunnebeld (144)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 7:17 am
Hoping for the best

Kit B (276)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 8:40 am

We must overcome the corporate monied interests that want no change, and own most of Congress. Obama needs your support, your voice.

Arielle S (313)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 10:47 am
Better late than never. Now it's up to US to keep the pressure on and this means convincing the naysayers that we NEED to do this - we must also convince them that it would create new jobs. When Obama says, "We the People....", it means he is counting on us to help....

Kit B (276)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 12:15 pm

True Arielle and Obama will be using the same outreach he used for the election to ask for that support. The "ball" will be in our court. We can act and do something positive or shut-up.

Mitchell D (87)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 12:17 pm
Well, I must have misplaced my crystal ball, do not "know" whether or not he really means it, this time, but I sure as hell hope so,
This time, he may feel unhindered by the prospect of a coming election, and go something like full bore after the bull and stonewalling of the power industry, and its lackeys in congress.
A president, despite the inertia of congress, has the opportunity to LEAD the culture from his/her "Bully Pulpit," give it a sense of direction, for better, or for worse (Ron Reagan and the greed years).

Talya H (10)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 4:14 pm
Let's hope so!

greenplanet e (155)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 4:45 pm
I hope that those nine sentences really do mean something and mean action to slow down anthropogenic climate change.

Jelica R (144)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 5:51 pm
I do not expect much. Do you think that Lisa Jackson will announce her stepping down if Obama means to do anything about climate? Also, let's see who will be the next Secretary of the Interior; Raul Grijalva, endorsed by 238 environmental and social justice organizations, or somebody who will follow Ken Salazar's footsteps. Announced changes in Pres. Obama Cabinet were not signalling a new political course. While we wait for words to be confirmed with actions, we must keep doing our best to avert the worst consequences of climate change.

Jelica R (144)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 6:03 pm
Tens of thousands of Americans are making plans to be in Washington DC on February 17th to tell President Obama to move forward on climate and reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Forward On Climate - February 17th. Join us.

Jelica R (144)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 6:35 pm
If you want Rep. Raul Grijalva to be the next Secretary of Interior, please sign these petitions:

President Obama: appoint environmental champion Rep. Raul Grijalva as our next Secretary of the Interior

Make Rep. Raul Grijalva the Secretary of the Interior

Protect the environment and wildlife with Raul Grijalva for Interior Secretary

Replace Ken Salazar with Raul Grijalva and help save our wildlife

Appoint Raul Grijalva America's Next Interior Secretary

Also, note Tamara's C2NN submission and help get more signatures: Please Sign!! Tell President Obama: Appoint Raul Grijalva US Interior Secretary

Michela M (3964)
Friday January 25, 2013, 5:13 pm

Thanks! Posted in:  ORANGUTANS: Men of the Forest
in:  CLIMATE CHANGE: News, Videos - New!!
Please Join & Invite friends to Join
ORANGUTANS: Men of the Forest
together with Sumatran Tigers (Java & Bali Tigers already EXTINCT), Elephants, Rhinos, Clouded Leopards, Sun Bears, Wildlife, Biodiversity they face Extinction!! Only 300 Sumatran Tigers left on Earth!!! 300 Football Fields of Rainforests are CLEARED every hour in SE Asia to produce Palm Oil: a hidden, not labelled, unhealthy ingredient in the products we buy. We MUST do WHATEVER is possible to SAVE them all!! AGAINST: Corporate Control, Deforestation, Illegal Logging, Global Warming, Pollution, CO2Emissions, Indigenous Peoples Displacement, Pet Trade, GMO Food, Vivisection… Also other Primates, as Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Gibbons, & Monkeys for Vivisection are dealt in this Group. Petitions/Info/Videos/Pics are here.
Please!! Join, Sign, Invite friends to Join!! Individually: we are one DROP, all together: we are an OCEAN!! ALL together we can make a difference!! Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world -Margaret Mead Thanks!! Michela

Solitary Eagle (324)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 7:12 am
I hope he means it and intend to remind him of what he said at every turn.

Muriel Servaege (53)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 10:53 am
I hope he really means what he said because it doesn't seem to be the case yet. Therefore, at this stage, I suppose he simply needs some more time.

Kit B (276)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 11:09 am

I think we need to hold his feet to fire. The United States acting alone will not resolve the climate or pollution issues, this must be full international agreement, enforced and supported fully by every country.

Rose Becke (141)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 3:29 pm
I really hope he does Thanks Kit

Süheyla C (234)
Wednesday January 30, 2013, 12:57 pm
Thank you Kit
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