Despite Economic Hard Times, Obama Promises Action on Global Warming

By Eliza Strickland | November 19, 2008 5:35 pm

Obama videoIn a signal that president-elect Barack Obama will take a drastically different approach to global warming than the outgoing Bush administration, Obama sent a video message to a group of governors who had gathered to discuss climate policy. He reiterated his campaign promise to establish a nationwide cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide emissions as soon as possible, and repeated his ambitious goals: “We will establish strong annual targets that set us on a course to reduce emissions to their 1990 levels by 2020 and reduce them by an additional 80 percent by 2050,” he said [Reuters].

President George W. Bush famously pledged to tackle global warming when campaigning for the presidency in 2000, but backtracked when in office, saying that the science had not yet been settled. In contrast, Obama made clear that he had no intention of retreating from his campaign promises despite the worsening economic climate, and said that the science is beyond dispute. “Now is the time to confront this challenge once and for all,” Obama said. “Delay is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response. The stakes are too high, the consequences too serious” [San Francisco Chronicle].

Obama also repeated his pledge to invest $15 billion per year in a host of energy projects including solar, wind, nuclear, and “clean coal” (not all of which is music to environmentalists’ ears), and says that these investments will counterbalance the economic impact of forcing industries to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. In his videotaped address, Obama said his energy policies will actually create five million new jobs “that can’t be outsourced,” as well as reduce expensive oil imports (and that climate change, left unchecked, will damage the economy further) [Scientific American]. However, Obama will have to convince Congress to go along with his ambitious plans, which may be a tall task; some congressional leaders have suggested that global warming legislation just isn’t feasible until the economy recovers.

Representatives of foreign nations were also present at the governors’ meeting, and Obama addressed his message in part to them, saying that in office he will “help lead the world toward a new era of global cooperation on climate change.” His statement comes just a month before a United Nations-sponsored meeting on the international response to global warming, and it may well buoy the flagging global momentum on climate change. The European Union, which has long led the world in aggressively addressing global warming, has lately gotten cold feet about its own ambitious carbon targets, with poorer members like Poland arguing that such goals are unaffordable in a depressed global economy. Big developing nations like China, India and Brazil, which will be responsible for the majority of future carbon emissions, have meanwhile remained reluctant to do much about climate change as long as the U.S. stays on the sideline [Time].

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  • Bob Burk

    I am very skeptical of the so called “consensus.” If one spends a little time on the web, one will find that many scientist, including contributors to the IPCC, who skeptical to varinging degrees. We need to free ourselves from our independence from foreign oil but cap and trade and carbon tax are leftest schemes. Spend a little more time on the web and you will find developing technologies replace most if not all of the demand for foreign oil within the next five years. Government programs such as tax credits and subsidies do not and will not lead the best new technologies, they wiill only support political contributors, the corn lobby is an excellent example. We have safe technology to use nuclear power in our own backyards which could reduce our reliance on fossil fuels today. Cheap and very efficient solar technology is very near mass manufactor. Don’t buy into the scare. Don’t buy into the girly man Arnold’s claims that chapporal and sage brush burning in California is a result of global warming. This stuff has always burned out of control about every decade (from a member of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection) or so. If these rich people want to build in these areas, it is their fault, controlled burns have been nearly banned by leftist enviromentalists. They know that this stuff will burn anyway but the political agenda is the real goal.

  • Brian Mangravite

    A couple years ago I read a statistic that convinced me humanity has nothing to with global warming. The statement was: all human activity adds about 250 million (with an “m”) tons of carbon to the atmosphere each year. Whereas all other natural sources combined add about 300 billion (with a “b”) tons per year. Which means that all human activity results in a little less than one tenth of one percent. If that’s the case, how can ANYTHING we do have any significant impact on carbon related global warming? Adds strength to the argument that it’s just a natural cyclical occurence. Unless something’s wrong with those figures. Anyone have any other data to share?

  • miggs

    The premise of this headline is flawed. Why is that we’d take action DESPITE tough economic times? Fighting global warming can HELP the economy; therefore, a tough economy makes action even more important — especially if we focus on energy recycling. That means cogeneration, combined heat & power, waste heat recovery, etc. I’m associated with Recycled Energy Development, a company that turns manufacturers’ waste heat into clean power and steam — thereby cutting greenhouse gases AND power costs. That’s the best way to be both pro-business and pro-profit. EPA and DOE estimates say we could cut our nation’s global warming pollution by 20% with more energy recycling. That’s what Obama should be talking about more.

  • Matt

    I am confused… is it “global warming” or “global climate change”?? This article, and all of the “experts”, seem to use this term interchangeably. Before we “confront this challenge” for which the “consequences are too serious”, so serious in fact that we would willingly plunge our economy into a black hole of propoganda based policies that would kill American business, why dont we first make it clear what exactly we are facing? Which consequences are we battling? Warming? Cooling??

    Doesnt anybody notice that the left is now beginning to change their term to “global climate change” because it is all encompassing?? It gives them free reign to propogandize any policy they want to fight a VAPOR! Even the “inconvenient” Al Gore nows talks of “global climate change”, although he was awarded a Nobel prize for insisting on the existence of man made Global Warming!

    What about claims that the Earth has actually begun a cooling cycle in the last decade?? What about the claim that the temperature of Mars warmed in lock step with the warming of the Earth?? We all read these articles… what about the many ice ages and warming periods the Earth has already experienced? The mass extinctions? The reversals of the magnetic poles? The volcanoes? The flooding? The rains?? And we would kill our economy because we think that COW POOP has an effect??

    The self righteous idealism and hipocracy (i.e. how did Al Gore get to this UN symposium on global warming? A wooden ship?) backed by propoganda and self hating “feel-gooders” will send us into socialism so quick you will not even notice your freedoms melting away. Sadly, the loss of our freedoms will most likely be welcomed with open arms by a majority of the unthinking public.


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