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Those who already feel the effects of a changing climate don’t have time to deny it—they’re busy dealing with it. The firefighters who brave longer wildfire seasons. The farmers who see crops wilted one year, and washed away the next. Western families worried about water that’s drying up.
After Tuesday's speech on climate change, President Obama followed up this morning in his weekly address, insisting that the problem is real, it's not going away and that no matter what deniers believe, it simply must be dealt with—or else.
The cost of these events can be measured in lost lives and livelihoods, lost homes and businesses, and hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency services and disaster relief. And Americans across the country are already paying the price of inaction in higher food costs, insurance premiums, and the tab for rebuilding.

The question is not whether we need to act. The question is whether we will have the courage to act before it’s too late.

Those are words we've been waiting to hear for quite some time, and very welcome words they are. He outlined some of the tenets of the climate change plan he unveiled earlier this week, including instructing the EPA to work with states and businesses to cut carbon pollution; working with communities to build resilient infrastructure to withstand climate change impacts; and to help America—and other countries—transition to cleaner energy.
This is the fight America can and will lead in the 21st century. But it will require all of us, as citizens, to do our part. We’ll need scientists to design new fuels, and farmers to grow them.  We’ll need engineers to devise new technologies, and businesses to make and sell them. We’ll need workers to man assembly lines that hum with high-tech, zero-carbon components, and builders to hammer into place the foundations for a new clean energy age. We’ll need to give special care to people and communities unsettled by this transition. And those of us in positions of responsibility will need to be less concerned with the judgment of special interests and well-connected donors, and more concerned with the judgment of our children.
He urged listeners to educate themselves, their loved ones, their friends and colleagues on the issues involved in climate change, and he closed the morning's address on a note of exhortation about what we owe not just to our planet, now, but to future generations. Worry greatly, he implied, about how we will be judged.
We will be judged—as a people, as a society, and as a country—on where we go from here. The plan I have put forward to reduce carbon pollution and protect our country from the effects of climate change is the path we need to take. And if we remember what’s at stake— the world we leave to our children—I’m convinced that this is a challenge that we will meet.
Amen.

To read the transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
June 29, 2013

Hi everybody. A few days ago, I unveiled a new national plan to confront the growing threat of a changing climate.

Decades of carefully reviewed science tells us our planet is changing in ways that will have profound impacts on the world we leave to our children. Already, we know that the 12 warmest years in recorded history have all come in the last 15, and that last year was the warmest in American history. And while we know no single weather event is caused solely by climate change, we also know that in a world that’s getting warmer than it used to be, all weather events are affected by it—more extreme droughts, floods, wildfires, and hurricanes.

Those who already feel the effects of a changing climate don’t have time to deny it—they’re busy dealing with it. The firefighters who brave longer wildfire seasons. The farmers who see crops wilted one year, and washed away the next. Western families worried about water that’s drying up.

The cost of these events can be measured in lost lives and livelihoods, lost homes and businesses, and hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency services and disaster relief. And Americans across the country are already paying the price of inaction in higher food costs, insurance premiums, and the tab for rebuilding.

The question is not whether we need to act. The question is whether we will have the courage to act before it’s too late.

The national Climate Action Plan I unveiled will cut carbon pollution, protect our country from the impacts of climate change, and lead the world in a coordinated assault on a changing climate.

To reduce carbon pollution, I’ve directed the Environmental Protection Agency to work with states and businesses to set new standards that put an end to the limitless dumping of carbon pollution from our power plants.  We’ll use more clean energy and waste less energy throughout our economy.

To prepare Americans for the impacts of climate change we can’t stop, we’ll work with communities to build smarter, more resilient infrastructure to protect our homes and businesses, and withstand more powerful storms.

And America will lead global efforts to combat the threat of a changing climate by encouraging developing nations to transition to cleaner sources of energy, and by engaging our international partners in this fight— for while we compete for business, we also share a planet. And we must all shoulder the responsibility for its future together.

This is the fight America can and will lead in the 21st century. But it will require all of us, as citizens, to do our part. We’ll need scientists to design new fuels, and farmers to grow them.  We’ll need engineers to devise new technologies, and businesses to make and sell them. We’ll need workers to man assembly lines that hum with high-tech, zero-carbon components, and builders to hammer into place the foundations for a new clean energy age. We’ll need to give special care to people and communities unsettled by this transition. And those of us in positions of responsibility will need to be less concerned with the judgment of special interests and well-connected donors, and more concerned with the judgment of our children.

If you agree with me, I’ll need you to act. Educate your classmates and colleagues, your family and friends. Speak up in your communities. Remind everyone who represents you, at every level of government, that there is no contradiction between a sound environment and a strong economy—and that sheltering future generations against the ravages of climate change is a prerequisite for your vote.

We will be judged—as a people, as a society, and as a country—on where we go from here. The plan I have put forward to reduce carbon pollution and protect our country from the effects of climate change is the path we need to take. And if we remember what’s at stake— the world we leave to our children—I’m convinced that this is a challenge that we will meet.

Thank you, and have a great weekend.
 

###

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 07:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Hawks, Climate Change SOS, and DK GreenRoots.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Obama's speech Tuesday ... (15+ / 0-)

    was extremely good (not perfectly but extremely good) from the staging (President and audience in the sun on a hot June day with media in the shade ...) to the President's style (opening, he took off his dark coat with "I don't know about you but it is too hot for a coat and you can take yours off too ..." And, when the audience cheered, his line "Come on, it isn't that sexy.") to the power of the language / rhetoric to much (not all) of the substance.

    It is frustrating, however, that the speech has been glossed over by a huge number of outlets.  No major outlet ran it in its entirety -- unless we could the Weather Channel as "major".  And, for example, not even Daily Kos ran a live blog of the speech on the front page.

    The speech merits watching and far more attention .. truly ... it is a powerful speech, not just in climate but also rhetorical terms, and for this site Obama made some pretty strong political comments (about the need for climate to become a political litmus test in voting, among other things).

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 07:07:57 AM PDT

  •  GOP won't argue the science....they'll scream... (5+ / 0-)

    'JOB KILLER'.....cept for maybe Inhofe,

  •  Great news 4 John McCain, better 4 us. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dragon5616
  •  i would like to see (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cynndara, stewarjt, Joe Bacon

    obamas actions and policies match his rhetoric which imo it has not up to now.

  •  And what about Keystone, Mr. President? (8+ / 0-)

    You going to put your money where your mouth is? Somehow, I doubt it...

    Catch St. Louis' progressive talk show, The Murdock Report, every Tuesday @ noon! Stream or download it: www.wgnu920am.com I do the twit thing too @SmokinJoesTruth

    by Da Rat Bastid on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 07:37:07 AM PDT

  •  Put on Fox to see if they'd cover record heat wave (5+ / 0-)

    in the West, record rain and humidity in the northeast. Wouldn't you know, they're concerned to point out evils of...Obama Care and how liberal groups really REALLY aren't being targeted by the IRS anywhere like fine teabagger groups.

    "They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."

    by TofG on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 07:44:54 AM PDT

    •  Followup: Fox did bri efly (without any connection (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      88kathy

      to climate change) show a map and allude to the western heatwave. Then jump back to Healcare "Privacy concerns."

      Say what you will, Ailes has them on target.

      "They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."

      by TofG on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 07:47:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The hottest temperature on record was (0+ / 0-)

      Death Valley in July 10, 1913. So I guess fox is still out foxing.

      give the NRA the Royal Flush join Stop The NRA

      by 88kathy on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 09:10:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  To Paraphrase Mark Twain... (5+ / 0-)

    Not enough people talk about the weather, and the Republicans won't do anything about it.

    THe problem with Climate Change is by the time it becomes too obvious to ignore, it will be rather too late. Yesterday I wrote up the aftermath of a big storm system that really soaked a good chunk of Pennsylvania and New York state.

    Now summer is the time of year you expect thunderstorms - but something like this is just a bit larger than the norm. It caused a lot of damage - I don't know what the dollar amount is, but it has to be in the range of millions, probably hundreds of millions by the time it's all added up.

    Was this just a freak occurrence, or is this going to become more and more common? It's not as obvious as a giant hurricane or the melting of the north polar ice cap. You can't nail down a single event like this as being directly caused by Climate Change - you end up talking about probabilities and whether or not they'll be becoming more likely.

    But you don't need a major event to have an effect worth worrying about. If storms like the one that just passed through are part of a trend, the cumulative effect will be like death by a thousand cuts. It will add up over time.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 07:47:18 AM PDT

    •  Right now, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse

      Pennsylvania feels like the convergence zone or something.  Spates of hot weather intermixed liberally with thunderstorms.

      At least the grass is green (I'm a glass half full kind of guy).

      (-6.38, -7.03) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

      by Lonely Liberal in PA on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 08:28:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So much of what we do (0+ / 0-)

      at this point will be reactive, as in dealing with the destruction we should have worked to prevent but didn't.

      To be fair, I have not read Obama's speech from Tuesday. Also, I recognize he's proposing executive branch actions, and those are limited to some degree.

      But what concerns me is his consistent conservative approach to so many issues (on some he's more moderate). Every time he speaks on issues of energy and climate change, he sneaks in "clean coal," which is just so ridiculous. So it's hard for me to take him seriously if he's still pushing imaginary/"unicorn" solutions instead of what we desperately need - a complete, radical overhaul of our energy policy. And we can't do that unless we address and seriously regulate our economic structure which treats the earth as our own personal and infinite all-you-can-eat-buffet and trash dump.

      Again, I will look to the speech and judge his actions as things progress. But I have very little faith in him, and considering the potential actions from Congress in opposition, even less faith that change (from government) is possible.

      Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth. - Lucy Parsons

      by cruz on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 08:57:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes. What about Keystone.................... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe Bacon

    I don't trust this president anymore.  He talks.. and he does things that don't match his rhetoric or worse.....don't live up to his promises.  To endorse Keystone speaks volumes more that his usual smiling, well elucidated, verbal smoke screens.  
    I no longer have an ability to trust him within me...it's too murky now.  Too much cognitive dissonance between his likable persona and his real actions or lack thereof.

    •  My reaction ... (0+ / 0-)

      is that we need to leverage -- cheer him for speaking and giving direction for (some) good actions -- to pressure him to continue to speak about climate and to take ever stronger measures.

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 08:05:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Right on! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jeff Simpson

      And I'd like to add:

      what about mercury emissions regulations?!

      what about much stronger Cafe standards?!

      what about boosting renewables with stimulus funds?!

      what about extending the wind ptc?!

      what about strengthening shipping emissions regulations?!

      what about interstate emissions regulations?!

      what about support for vehicle electrification?!

      If all that doesn't get done, then it's all just a bunch of flowery rhetoric!!!

      Oh wait... The Obama Administration did get all that done...

      it just seems like some liberals weren't paying attention.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 08:22:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Keystone Fight Continues (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jeff Simpson

      But putting the first-ever carbon pollution regulations on new and existing coal-fired power plants is a huge deal and will make this industry no longer "cheap energy."

      Coal can't compete unless it is allowed to pollute our climate, air, and water for free

      For taking this bold step, the President has my full support.

      "Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed." -- Vaclav Havel

      by greendem on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 11:47:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Going in the Right Direction (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, mightymouse, greendem

    Finally, a step in the right direction. Now I'd like to see members of Congress take this up.

  •  Amen to that too. (0+ / 0-)

    That's all we're going to get on this. I would say that the chances that Obama will do anything that has anything but a token effect on carbon dioxide emission is asymptotic to nil. There will need to be as much national will as putting a man on the moon - times about 100, as the vast economic disruption caused by serious reduction in fossil fuel will be fought by the biggest corporations on earth. Every tea party idiot will scream about Mexico! China! India! It's all unfair! even if Obama would make a serious proposition.
    Obama is focused now on advancing the US security state, that way we can deal with global warming (protests) at the end of a gun.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 08:20:45 AM PDT

  •  President Obama (0+ / 0-)

    always gives good speeches.  But I'm tired of speeches.  I want to see action.  His support of new EPA guidelines for coal plants is a nice start.  I thoroughly approve of his pushing through new automotive efficiency standards.  THIS is what I want to see more of, not just hot air.  Speeches were irrelevant to the majority of working-class Americans when I was a child forty years ago.  These days, they don't even televise most of them any more.  Nobody cares except the press corps.  Speeches were the television ads of the 19th century.  It's now the 21st, and nobody sits still to watch or listen to them.  Most people who pay any attention at all read an online transcript.  So frankly, I think he should release a transcript of all the Serious Statements, go on kids' TV and play with some muppets to reach out to the general populace, and spend the rest of the time getting a few Republican arms in a half-Nelson and twisting them hard in the back room.  Or get on the ball searching for an Attorney General who will put some banksters in jail.

  •  way to go Mr. President! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, greendem

    Obama's leadership is essential here.

    Glad he is making the connex betw. weather and climate change.

    Keep up the good work!

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 08:32:07 AM PDT

  •  It's CLIMATE HELL; not climate change Mr. Pres (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up!.....The Denial Era is over....Welcome to CLIMATE HELL!

    by Churchill on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 09:02:01 AM PDT

  •  All well and good, but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, RainyDay

    President Obama should have been doing this in his first term when he had the political capital of 60 votes in the senate and a majority in the house. Instead he pushed a flawed health care reform bill that punishes young people, working poor, and small businesses.

    He caved in to powerful insurance company lobbyists and Wall St. sharks who put profits ahead of medical care and Obama condoned that.

    Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering. If you like hypocrite Obama, you'll love hypocrite Hillary.

    by harris stein on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 09:27:06 AM PDT

  •  Well, I must say that I am pleasantly surprised (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse

    that he had the sense to stop invoking the economic growth meme this time.  Maybe there is hope for him and us, after all.

    Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

    by lehman scott on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 09:59:28 AM PDT

  •  Is it me or is the WH not in synch with the news (0+ / 0-)

    cycle?
    Not to be a negative nancy, but this weeks weekly address seems awfully out of synch with the news of the week.  Don't get me wrong, love the topic but some much more significant other news happened this week that had good dem. support. He could have reinforced the position and seem more relevant. For example, DOMA ruling, Texas State Special session, the voting rights act or the even the immigration bill.  Climate change topic just makes it seem like the WH is irrelevant to the current happenings.

  •  Time to put climate pressure on Congress (0+ / 0-)

    Here is an action alert by a green group.
    http://ow.ly/...

    Congress received 700,000 letters in less than 72 hours after this speech.

    The media may not be paying attention, but the American people are. They want action Now.

    "Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed." -- Vaclav Havel

    by greendem on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 11:54:10 AM PDT

  •  while our universities endorse the denial... (0+ / 0-)

    .... putting their sports logos on 28% of limbaugh stations and many others as well

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 02:20:36 PM PDT

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