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President Obama: America Must Lead on Addressing the Threat of Climate Change

Barack_Obama_2013If you played Joe Romm’s climate change inauguration drinking game, you may be too drunk to read this. President Obama devoted a long paragraph of his inaugural address to the issue, and stated emphatically that it was America’s responsibility to lead in combating the “threat” of climate change.

In highlighting the threat, President Obama mentioned that extreme storms, droughts, and fires have wreaked havoc at home. And as he spoke, American allies abroad grappled with their own climate-related issues, from flooding in Indonesia to heat records in Australia.

But importantly, he also characterized the climate threat as an opportunity for American leadership in the global transition to sustainable energy, and emphasized that the issue cannot be separated from broader national goals of “economic vitality” and “national treasure.” In short, it’s not just an environmental issue; it’s an issue of national renewal, strength and security.

Here is Obama’s full statement on climate change in the inaugural address.

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 snow capped 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.

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