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Sunday, September 25, 2016

President Barack Obama presented his plan to combat the dangerous effects of climate change during a major speech at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.

“The question is not whether we need to act,” Obama said. “The overwhelming judgment of science, of chemistry, and physics, and millions of measurements has put all that to rest.”

“The question is now whether we will have the courage to act before it’s too late,” he added.

President Obama laid out his administration’s new “climate action plan,” which would include new federal regulations on carbon pollution from power plants, increased funding for clean energy technology with the goal of doubling wind and solar electricity generation by 2020, introducing new energy-efficiency standards, and issuing new permits for new renewable energy projects on public lands, among other initiatives.

The president also addressed the controversial Keystone XL pipeline extension, which would transport 830,000 barrels of crude oil a day, primarily from tar sands in Alberta to refineries in Texas. The extension has divided many of the president’s supporters; while labor groups tend to favor the massive construction project, environmentalists fear its negative climate impact and the potential for a disastrous spill. While Obama did not divulge his decision on the project — he is not expected to issue a final verdict until this winter — the president insisted that “allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation’s interests.” He added, “Our national interest would be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.”

Almost all of President Obama’s proposals would be carried out through executive actions, sidestepping Congress. With a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, there is almost no hope for any significant congressional action on climate change; to wit, in a prebuttal to Obama’s speech, House Speaker John Boehner scoffed that the president’s proposal is “absolutely crazy.

Obama took a shot at Boehner and his House colleagues in his address, saying, “We don’t have time for a meeting of the flat-earth society.”

The president’s remarks echoed a speech he made in Berlin earlier this month, when Obama labeled climate change as “the global threat of our time,” and warned that “for the sake of future generations, our generation must move toward a global compact to confront a changing climate before it is too late. That is our job. That is our task. We have to get to work.”

Unlike Obama’s speech in Germany, however, the world wasn’t watching the president on Tuesday afternoon. Although the speech was arguably one of the most significant of his term, none of the major cable news networks carried it live.

Watch President Obama’s speech below:

AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

  • charleo1

    I felt a sense of the difficulty it must be at times, to be the President of the Country.
    As I also wondered if placing the podium in the direct sun was stagecraft for the speech, or just the work of a thoughtless ground crew. They couldn’t have picked a hotter spot for a President to come, and make a speech on global warming. And,
    I also felt the courage, and the sense of responsibility many of our Presidents have displayed at those times they must be the lone voice in the wilderness, speaking truth. I heard a quote today that opined, that to be a leader, first you need some followers. But, sometimes leaders just do what they know to be right. Daniel Boone had a simple philosophy. “Make sure you’re right, then go ahead!” The President knows he’s right on this issue. The evidence that we are changing the climate, by the sheer volume of carbon man is now releasing into the atmosphere, is so overwhelming, the science in such agreement, it must be ignored to be denied. Absolutely crazy, says Speaker Boehner. Yes, we would be absolutely crazy, to ignore the greatest environmental challenge the human species has ever faced, until it’s too late.

  • Michael Kollmorgen

    When the cable, news services didn’t even carry the speech live (some do usually), that should show people how important the issue of global warming is.

    People WILL start finding out how important it is though when they can’t even buy food at any cost to put on their dinner plates, when they have to live in slant-walled block houses and/or start considering living totally underground, surviving on Mushrooms and each other for food.

    In the meantime, I’m going to start designing homes for totally underground living space.

    • RobertCHastings

      The survivalists, the “end timers” and all the others who are preparing for the end of the world appear to believe that living underground is an option. It isn’t, for when the atmosphere reaches the point that it has reached on Venus from a similar greenhouse effect the atmosphere that is usable to humans will no longer exist. Best to start designing a space capsule to take you and your loved ones someplace more hospitable.
      I used to read a lot of science fiction as a teen, and several stores I read crop up. There was one the depicted what was left of the human race on a giant space craft designed to give the impression of living on a planet. Over generations, it finally reached its destination, a more hospitable planet and the inhabitants were shocked to realize their “planet” was not. There was another in a series that depicted humans living below ground because their sun was waning and the surface had become too cold. Amazing how life seems to mimic fantasy.

      • Michael Kollmorgen

        There is also a theory that IF a civilization were to leave Earth and go to another star system at our level of technology as it is today, by the time they arrived there, they would look totally different, a completely different human being in shape and form.

        They might be almost entirely Brain with very little skeletal muscles or bone. I think after a few hundred or so generations, they probably would very much look like a Squid; 4 appendages that were legs and arms with a central mass holding the brain and perhaps a small partial hard shell to protect the body from too much radiation exposure..

        These guys on the Space Station experience major bone loss even with very heavy duty exercise sessions on it.

        We live on a planet that we term 1G. That means to survive anywhere, we have to experience 1G gravity 24 hours a day to maintain our muscles and bone structure. Anything less, we’ll turn to Jelly. Anything more and we’ll grow much shorter, more massive.

        • RobertCHastings

          Like me, you are ENTIRELY too much into science fiction.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            No, my friend, this is not science fiction. This is scientific fact.

            This is all in the Laws of Physics as we understand these laws today………..

            You are right though, I love science fiction. I’m a major Trekkie.

            Have you read Dune yet? I have their complete set of novels. I warn you, it’s addictive as hell.

          • RobertCHastings

            “Dune” with Kyle McLachlan will always be one of my favorites, along with “Blade Runner”. Frank Herbert’s novels are, indeed, addictive, and it was extremely heartening to see his son carry on the tradition, although the son’s books do not live up to the father’s.
            I have seen theories of how other DNA based lifeforms might look on other planets in other environments, and these are largely conjecture, although the principles upon which the conjecture is based are solid. L. Ron Hubbard’s theory, upon which he bases Scientology, is that we were brought here from someplace outside our System, by aliens who are largely quite similar to us, even down to their bellicosity.

  • howa4x

    The president is right. Currently the technology isn’t there to produce clean coal and the commercials are just industry lies. Every time there is a technological leap there is a displacement of certain industries. Coal will eventually be totally replaced by natural gas since it is cheaper to transport and burns cleaner. They can’t keep blowing the tops of mountains off in W va and turning rivers there into sludge pits from the runoff because it is cheaper for Peabody coal to mine that way.Republicans who have never cared once for the people’s health have always sided with industry. Coal produces mercury as a by product of combustion and it is getting into our food supply and water. Republicans are on the wrong side of the debate and look to the idiots in the tea party to try to yell down the scientific community like they did on health care reform but the evidence is mounting and only damn fools now don’t believe it. The tea party will eventfully drag the republican party down on this issue. They are the Flat earth society the president talks about too stupid to understand science and would burn all those books if they could. The president is right not to deal with them and the moderate cowards in the republican party who know better but are afraid of these Neanderthals. It is a shame that we have to fight with the tealiban to protect their own children because this is what this debate is really about.

  • Lovefacts

    If only California or Colorado weren’t suffering from a global warning induced 4-5 year drought, I’d consider converting a cave into a house–a la the homes in Spain.

    As I’ve said repeatedly, the problem is ignorance due to lack of education. As long as we allow our legislators to continue cutting spending on education rather than cutting corporate welfare and/or raising taxes on the super-wealthy, this will continue.

    • RobertCHastings

      Absolutely right. C.S. Lewis, renowned author of the Narnia series, penned another series called “Perelandra” in which powerful forces here threatened to denude the planet through unthinking pursuit of wealth. For something written 60 years ago, it was amazingly prescient.

      • Michael Kollmorgen

        Well, Soylent Green was made in 1973. That was 40 years ago. Even earlier was Metropolis in 1927. People have been predicting the overwhelming power of greed and the power of Corporations for many years.

        Even Dune is Corporate-Based. Spice Must Flow!

        • RobertCHastings

          I had forgotten about “Metropolis’, one of MY favorites of all time. Its story is timeless and would not benefit much at all from being modernized and colorized. The spice must end.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            Yea, when they colorize the old black n white movies or try to remake them, they never really do a good job of it.

            Nothing like the old black n white sci-fi movies. I don’t remember many of their titles, have been trying to collect some of them from the 50s.

            The Crawling Eye
            The Day The Earth Stood Still
            Kronos
            The Man With The X-Ray Eyes

            Yummy:)

          • RobertCHastings

            Forbidden Planet, the only movie Leslie Nielsen did that WAS NOT a comedy (although a little campy). Some recent sci-fi movies have been takeoffs on the older ones, like “8mm” and “The Thing”. Another of my favorites was “Them”, with Natalie Wood. Every time I get near hornets or crush one of those big black ants and smell formic acid, that movie immediately comes to mind.
            I have no use for Tom Cruise and he didn’t disappoint me with his rendering of “The Day The Earth Stood Still”.
            Thanks for that much-needed foray down memory lane.

          • Michael Kollmorgen

            The Thing has three movies attributed to that title; 2011, 1982 and 1951. The 1982 version is probably the best one.

            As in the final closing scene of the 1951 original, as the news reporter states: keep watching the Skies:)

            I’m looking for anything from the 50s involving Aliens and Brains, or Brains in general.

            Yea, I thought the second TDTESS was a flop. I did like the main theme of the movie though; mankind destroying the planet. And, We ALL were going to pay for it too.

            Might come true one of these days.

            Have a nice evening:)

  • tdm3624

    I look forward to us as a nation embracing green energy. It might be more costly today, but in the future I would expect a nice return on our investment, monetarily, environmentally, and health wise. We have the best scientists and engineers in the world. I would love to see what they could do with public and financial support.