Obama Uses Strongest Climate Language Ever

September 1, 2015

First 5 or 6 minutes has strong descriptions of climate impacts, followed by solutions.

Sobering assessment of trends, harsh words for climate deniers. “..those who want to ignore the science, they are increasingly alone, they are on their own shrinking island..”

“..this is not simply a danger to be avoided, this is an opportunity to be siezed..”

“..any leader willing to take a gamble on a future like that..any so-called leader who does not take this issue seriously, or treats it like a joke, is not fit to lead…”

More please.


ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — President Barack Obama is painting a doomsday scenario for the Arctic and beyond if climate change isn’t dealt with fast: entire nations submerged underwater, cities abandoned and refugees fleeing in droves as global conflict breaks out.

It’s a harrowing image of a future that Obama insists is inevitable, unless the world follows his lead by making sweeping cuts to greenhouse gases.

Obama opened his three-day trip Monday with a speech calling global warming an escalating crisis already disturbing Alaskans’ way of life.

“We will condemn our children to a planet beyond their capacity to repair,” Obama said. Alluding ironically to the threat of rising seas, he castigated leaders who deny climate change as “increasingly alone — on their own shrinking island.”

The President mentioned thawing permafrost, warming and acidifying oceans, in the strongest language yet heard from a sitting President on this issue.

19 Responses to “Obama Uses Strongest Climate Language Ever”

  1. Blah, Blah, Blah. That man talks masterfully. Thas about it. If he said “We’ve ALREADY condemned our children to a planet beyond their capacity to repair” I’d give him props. But alas, just content to keep polishing the brass on the Titanic. Did anyone ask him why, if he knows the doomsday scenario did he approve Shell’s drilling in the arctic? Or open the Gulf of Mexico back up to drilling? Or increase pipeline capacity through the U.S. or brag about how much oil and natural gas the U.S. is extracting on his watch? Probably not. Kabuki Theater is what that trip was. Nothing more. 🙂

    • rayduray Says:

      Nothing more?

      I’m thinking that this photo opportunity for the President may be record setting in terms of the number of barrels of fuel necessary to haul the President on Air Force One, his staff with the limosines on the Alternative Air Force One, the press entourage and the security patrol around the lovely and desirably scenic state of Alaska with the catered meals coming in via air freight burning god knows how much jet fuel in the bargain.

      If Barack Obama were an honest broker about this Alaska business, he would have announced his environmental agenda from the Oval Office or better yet the vegetable garden at the White House and started out by saying, “look here, it is the height of hypocrisy for me to go joy riding aloft on the shoulders of Denali with a carbon footprint of egregious proportions. If I weren’t such a hypocrite, why, I’d walk out to microphones here at the White House under my own ambulatory power and disdain the Presidents of the past who squandered the nation’s future with the follies of the American media news cycle. Is it time for sackcloth and ashes? Damn straight. Let’s turn off the jet engines, let us come to our senses.”

      Oh, wait a minute. Jimmy Carter tried that. And the people hated it. They didn’t want to know it was time to stop wasting the planet for our immediate gratification….

      Carry on, Mr. President, enjoy Dillingham.

      • firstdano Says:

        Air Force One!




      • HAHA! I stand corrected Ray. Our Advertiser Of The Year In-Chief did leave a gargantuan carbon foot print on his much ballyhooed sojourn up to the Great Not So White anymore North. LOL!

        • greenman3610 Says:

          This is a bullshit argument. One might as well argue that the President should not use computers, telephones, televisions, or an ipad.
          I’ve heard the same argument made whenever scientists go on a trip to gather data, in fact, I read it the other day on a message board, suggesting that scientists should not gather field data or go to conferences so as to not appear “hypocritical” – and this was my response, – which applies to the President as well as scientific researchers:
          Teleconferencing? But that uses electricity…!

          Perhaps scientists should stop using computers, calculators, paper,
          any tools of the modern era. Or anything manufactured using
          fossil fuel, – or wood harvested from forests, —
          or living and working in buildings and houses, —
          how much energy does it take to put an earth observing satellite up?

          and for God’s sake
          stop eating meat.. (well, there might be something to that..)

          This is just more bullshit along the lines of “..if you’re against
          climate change/oil drilling/pollution/urban sprawl/wars for oil,, why do you have a car?” -which I’ve been hearing
          I have a car because we’ve built a backassward
          transportation system that keeps most people from participating in
          society, having a job, even getting food – if they don’t have one.
          It’s part of what we’ve
          been screaming about since the seventies, dammit.
          We aren’t in trouble because scientists are doing research
          and going to meetings, we are in trouble because we
          have been burning coal and cutting down
          forests for 250 years.
          We’re in trouble because we’ve allowed those made wealthy
          by fossil extraction to dominate our political process.
          If, by not going to a meeting, a scientist could stop the
          plane from taking off, then this line of argument would
          make sense.

          By all means, telecommute. A huge share of the interviews
          I do are by Skype, and it works great – better all the time.
          But irreplaceable things happen when people meet face to
          So let’s push for less unnecessary travel, and
          new types of aircraft fuel – but that is decades away. The replacements
          for coal and gas fired electricity are here now, and only being held up
          by a dishonest political system and media, and the
          bullshitters who bring up these kinds of “there is
          no climate change because Al Gore flies in planes” distractions.

  2. Don Osborn Says:

    oldspeak speaks like Eyore, why do anything. You seem to want to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Obama has done more than any other leader on climate change in the face of implacable opposition from Congress. Has he done some things I wish would not happen, yes. BUT overall he is leading the way and helping to bring the rest of the world (esp China and India) along. Support what has been and is being done and then push for more. Otherwise, you are actually siding with the Republican Do Nothings.

    • Gingerbaker Says:

      Your answer sort of implies that Obama could not act unilaterally to do more. So, a really good question, that I have yet to see addressed anywhere, is:

      What could Obama do unilaterally despite Congress?

      If I were President, I would do as much as humanly possible. I have no idea what he actually could do if he really put his mind to it. But, Cheney and Bush prosecuted an illegal war based on orchestrated lies, killed a million innocent Iraqis, and personally profited billions of dollars by this effort – and they are not in jail; so I am guessing the sky is pretty much the limit if you actually have brass balls.

      I would imagine he has the power to instruct the Department of Energy to do whatever he wants. He could define policy that would make it virtually impossible to build any new fossil fuel infrastructure. He could give the DofE a new mission – to design a new 100% renewable energy system and smart grid and send out invitations for bids.

      He could have the Dept. of Justice get to work on the acquisition of land for manifest destiny construction of that new system.

      He could have them draw up the necessary paperwork to declare that new energy system a matter of National Security. And then he could order it built by fiat and would no longer need the approval of Congress. And if the Republicans in Congress objected too loudly, he could have them arrested.

      He could have the charter of Fox News revoked for failing to report news as per the public interest, and have it taken off the air. He could have the DofJ arrest the Koch brothers and the other paid, lying propagandists and have them frog marched to the International Criminal Court for Crimes against Humanity.

      I’m guessing there is quite a lot he might do if he truly wanted to.

      • 1happywoman Says:


        I’m guessing that if Obama acted unilaterally in those ways you suggest, Republican-controlled states and Republican members of Congress would immediately file lawsuits alleging that he overstepped his authority, like they did with his executive action on immigration:


        I expect they would ask for injunctive relief until the lawsuits could be heard and, depending on the judge’s view of whether the Republicans would likely ultimately prevail, preliminary injunctions might be issued.

        I don’t know this for sure. I majored in philosophy in college, not political science.

      • redbbs Says:

        Since about 2010 President Obama has used the blanket term pollution for emitted carbon dioxide. This is neither an accident nor a display of inexactitude.

        Under the Clean Air act the Supreme Court has upheld the EPA’s right to regulate pollution that flows beyond state borders.

        Saddled with a criminally negligent Congress the only lever left for the President to pull is the EPA’s regulatory authority on coal burning power plants.

        It’s as effective as we can hope for in this America.

    • Don, by all means, do something if it makes you feel better…. But don’t expect it to make the rapidly deteriorating conditions of global ecology any better at this point. Congress, Obama, India, China, Republicans, their actions or inaction matters little at this stage of Earth’s 6th Mass Extinction event (the greatest and fastest proceeding one on record by the way) This extinction train has no breaks, and it’s speeding up all the time. We’d all do well to stop deluding ourselves into thinking we can “fix this”.

  3. […] Climate Crocks has already covered this, but I’ve been busy (lazy?) and so thought I would post this too. It’s a speech by US President, Barack Obama, in Alaska, at a meeting about Global Leadership in the Arctic. It’s a remarkably powerful speech and he seemed incredibly well informed. The first half is particularly good, and I could not find something that the usual suspects could justifiably criticise. To be clear, that’s not me suggesting that they won’t find something to criticise (because ignorant pedants always do), just that he seemed to say things carefully and was clearly well advised. […]

  4. Nick Tedesco Says:

    It’s not all talk. He did recently make available $1 billion in loan guarantees for clean energy projects. Read all about it – http://solar-power-now.com/the-white-house-adds-1-billion-in-clean-energy-lending/

  5. redskylite Says:

    While outside of the U.S.A, watching one of our very few local T.V channels, I was shocked as climate change was actually mentioned today as part of the President’s visit. Needed a reminder as it’s the first time this year it’s been mentioned on T.V. I’ve read all the other Arctic nations agreed with the President (even Russia), but no major country has signed any pledges. Still looking forward to the Bear Grylls scene later.

    Wonder who you will choose next ?

  6. redskylite Says:

    He has pledged support and aid to those communities affected by climate change, and that will be considerable in Alaska. This will mean a lot to the folk who live in fear from the sea burying there homes and homesteads, and I understand he is the first sitting president to even visit Alaska (not sure about the standing ones).

    It has received good worldwide coverage, and despite the fuel used by air-force one, it has at least brought attention to the problem.


  7. Could Obama do more?
    Google: Youths Sue Obama Seeking to Outlaw Climate Pollution

  8. […] came out, well, smokin’ on climate the other day, at the beginning of his Climate themed arctic […]

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