Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Speech Shows U.S. Lacks Adequate and Timely Climate Change Plan
President Barack Obama said in his 2015 State of the Union speech last Monday that his first duty as Commander-in-Chief is to defend the United States of America. Presumably, he meant defend our country against foreign aggressors attempting to inflict military harm to our citizens, properties, infrastructures and country as a whole.
President Obama also said in that “as Americans, we have a profound commitment to justice”.
He also stated that “for all that we’ve endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back; for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this: The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong.”
But the shadow of crisis Barack was speaking about was clearly an economic one, not the shadow of the global warming and accompanying environmental crisis. In fact, our current and future climate is at least as important, if not more so, then our economy. We nor any other countries would have much of an economy at all if Earth’s temperatures started to rapidly accelerate, in response to our continued loading of the atmosphere with greenhouse gases. Our country needs to take much more forceful and immediate actions to limit our daily emissions. We are causing a great injustice to the rest of the world and to all succeeding generations if we don’t. But that is what will result if we don’t start reducing our emissions by taking unprecedented actions. We will need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as we can get them.
Barack Obama said this in his speech: “And no challenge — no challenge — poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.” For those needed convincing, he elaborated as follows:
“2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record. Now, one year doesn’t make a trend, but this does — 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century.”
“I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act. Well, I’m not a scientist, either. But you know what — I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.”
He then talked about his accomplishments so far on the climate change front:
“That’s why, over the past six years, we’ve done more than ever before to combat climate change, from the way we produce energy, to the way we use it. That’s why we’ve set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history. And that’s why I will not let this Congress endanger the health of our children by turning back the clock on our efforts. I am determined to make sure American leadership drives international action. In Beijing, we made an historic announcement — the United States will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution, and China committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions. And because the world’s two largest economies came together, other nations are now stepping up, and offering hope that, this year, the world will finally reach an agreement to protect the one planet we’ve got.”
But it is questionable whether such an agreement at this late stage of the game – the first Climate Summit was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992 – 24 years ago can be enough to return to sustainability. Greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere over time; they don’t just dissipate and vanish.
Barack closed out his speech with:
“Looking to the future instead of the past. Making sure we match our power with diplomacy, and use force wisely. Building coalitions to meet new challenges and opportunities. Leading — always — with the example of our values. That’s what makes us exceptional. That’s what keeps us strong. And that’s why we must keep striving to hold ourselves to the highest of standards — our own.”
“My only agenda for the next two years is the same as the one I’ve had since the day I swore an oath on the steps of this Capitol — to do what I believe is best for America.”
“I want our actions to tell every child, in every neighborhood: your life matters, and we are as committed to improving your life chances as we are for our own kids.”
“I want future generations to know that we are a people who see our differences as a great gift, that we are a people who value the dignity and worth of every citizen — man and woman, young and old, black and white, Latino and Asian, immigrant and Native American, gay and straight, Americans with mental illness or physical disability.”
“I want them to grow up in a country that shows the world what we still know to be true: that we are still more than a collection of red states and blue states; that we are the United States of America.”
“My fellow Americans, we too are a strong, tight-knit family. We, too, have made it through some hard times. Fifteen years into this new century, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and begun again the work of remaking America. We’ve laid a new foundation. A brighter future is ours to write. Let’s begin this new chapter — together — and let’s start the work right now.”
“Thank you. God bless you. (Applause.) God bless this country we love. Thank you.”
The shadow of earth’s global warming crisis has not passed; it will be with all of us for a very long time; but with grit, hard work, ingenuity, by everyone, it may be overcome. We must be determined enough to turn the clock back on the greenhouse effect. Unless all of us care a whole awful lot, and start changing our ways, global warming will continue to worsen. Earth could ultimately become unlivable, for any kind of life.
Human Activities Adding to the Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming
It is of the utmost importance to the continued sustainability of life on earth that humans reduce the amount of greenhouse gases they cause to be emitted to the atmosphere to the minimum amount possible, over their lifetime, because greenhouse gases emitted to the atmosphere have a cumulative effect, meaning they increase in force by successive additions, resulting in a stronger greenhouse effect when those greenhouse gases combine with past, present, and future emissions, and cause the earth’s surface to warm, its polar cap and Antarctica ice to melt, as do Greenland and mountainous glacial ice, causing ocean water levels to rise, and the world ecology to be disrupted.
Full text of President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Speech