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.
An excerpt of President Obama's inaugural address today. It has been widely remarked upon that the address was both more specific on policies than expected, and that climate change was given a prominent mention.
1.5 of the 18 minutes of the speech was devoted to the issue. That may not sound like a lot, but given the deafening silence on the campaign trail, and for much of his first term, it is significant.
Obama made an explicit link between climate change and extreme weather events, and cast the nation's response to the threat as both its duty to future generations and an economic necessity.
Here's how it has been received in the press:
- NYT: Climate change was the "most prominent policy vow" in the speech, but the politics are not going to get any easier. Obama's "recalibrated strategy" will involve working around entrenched conservative opposition through regulation rather than seeking political compromises.
- Guardian: Obama expressed his desire to tackle the issue more "forcefully" than he has for months and also reaffirmed the science of climate change. Sustainable energy was discussed in the context of climate change rather than energy security.
- ABC: Obama's focus on climate change is a first for an inaugural address, but energy reform is likely to stop at the Republican-dominated Congress.