Obama Throws Down on “Climate Change which Cannot Be Denied”.
November 22, 2011
Drawing a dramatic contrast between his position and the waffling, flip flops, and science denial of the GOP presidential field, President Obama has, for the first time in many months, forcefully underlined his commitment to combatting climate change in an address to the Australian parliament. (full address here)
Mr. Obama told the Parliament, “..we need growth that is sustainable, and this includes the clean energy that creates green jobs, and combats climate change – which cannot be denied.”
Implicitly making a sharp contrast with GOP presidential candidates who almost universally deny the overwhelming scientific evidence and consensus on global climate, the President, while acknowledging the issue was “not without controversy..” – to some laughter in the gallery – declared that, ”as countries with large carbon footprints, the United States and Australia have a special responsibility to lead.”
Compare to Mitt Romney’s recent brain-dead declaration that “I exhale carbon dioxide, and I don’t want those guys following me around with a meter to see if I’m breathing too hard”, and Newt Gingrich’s acrobatic, amoral evasions on the issue.
Last week, Bill Mckibben asked “Has Global Warming Become a Campaign issue?” , noting the President’s recent Keystone Pipeline decision.
Let’s assume the obvious then: that one part of their recent calculations that led to the postponement decision might just be the suspicion that they will actually win votes thanks to the global-warming question in the next election.
For one thing, global warming denial has seen its apogee. The concerted effort by the fossil-fuel industry to underwrite scientific revision met its match last month when a team headed by Berkeley skeptic and prominent physicist Richard Muller -- with funding from the Koch Brothers, of all people — actually found that, what do you know, all the other teams of climate-change scientists were, um, right. The planet was indeed warming just as fast as they, and the insurance companies, and the melting ice had been insisting.
Still, scientific studies only reach a certain audience. Weird weather is a far more powerful messenger. It’s been hard to miss the record flooding along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, and across the Northeast; the record drought and fires across the Southwest; the record multi-billion dollar weather disastersacross the country this year; the record pretty-much everything-you-don’t-want across the nation. Obama certainly noticed. He’s responsible for finding the cash every time some other state submerges.
As a result, after years of decline, the number of Americans who understand that the planet is indeed warming and that we’re to blame appears to be on the rise again. And ironically enough, one reason may be the spectacle of all the tea-partying GOP candidates for the presidency being forced to swear fealty to the notion that global warming is a hoax. Normal people find this odd: it’s one thing to promise Grover Norquist that you’ll never ever raise taxes; it’s another to promise that you’ll defeat chemistry and physics with the mighty power of the market.
See this week’s other postings for more evidence on how this might play out…..