Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Obama Warms To Climate Change

On January 14, 2013, Barack Obama was reinaugurated as President of the United States of America.  In his speech, aimed as much at posterity and those who will write the history books as it was at those who heard it, President Obama addressed the usual topics of gravitas, such as poverty, education, human rights, and the economy.  However, he gave surprising pride of place, between social programs and war, to climate change, pledging his administration to this politically - but not scientifically - contentious issue:
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 is 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.
Obama was hot on the trail of climate change, warmed to his hot button topic, and struck while the iron was hot.  It would be cold comfort if, through inaction, his speech merely amounted to hot air.  So, cooler minds must prevail if climate change is to be stopped cold.