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

About Mike Neuman

Identical twin; Long-time advocate of protection of our environment; Married; Father to three sons; Grandfather to one granddaughter; Born and raised in Wisconsin; Graduate of University of Wisconsin; post graduate degrees in agricultural economics and Water Resources Management fro UWMadison; Former School Crossing Guard for City of Madison; Bike to Work for 31 years with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Retired from DNR in 2007; Biked to school crossing guard site 2 X daily for 7 years retiring in 2019; in addition to being an advocate of safeguarding our environment, I am also an advocate for humane treatment of animal, children, and people in need of financial resource for humane living. I am presently a Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Madison, Wisconsin. I oppose all long (>500 miles) distance travel (via fossil fuel burning) for nonessential purposes and all ownership of more than one home. I am opposed to militarism in any form particularly for the purpose of monetary gain. I am a Strong believer in people everywhere having the right to speak their minds openly, without any fear of reprisal, regarding any concerns; especially against those in authority who are not acting for the public good?in a timely fashion and in all countries of the world not just the U S.. My identical twin, Pat, died in June 2009. He was fired from his job with the National Weather Service despite having a long and successful career as a flood forecaster with the Kansas City National Weather Service. He took a new position in the Midwest Regional Office in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, Pat’s work for the NWS went sour after he began to see the evidence for concern about rising global temperatures shortly after relocating to Minneapolis, and how they appeared to effect of flooding on the Red River that flows out of Canada before entering the U.S. in North Dakota. . Pat and I conversed on a regular basis with other scientists on the Yahoo Group named “Climate Concern “ and by personal email. The NWS denied his recommendation to give his public presentation o n his research at the “Minneapolis Mall of America” in February 2000, which deeply affected h,im. I will h He strongly believed the information ought be shared with the public to which I concurred. That was the beginning of the vendetta against my brother, Patrick J. Neuman, for speaking strongly of the obligations the federal government was responsible for accurately informing the citizenry. A way great similar response to my raising the issue of too many greenhouse gases being emitted by drivers of vehicles on Wisconsin highway system, my immediate supervisors directed: “that neither global warming, climate change nor the long term impacts upon the natural resources of Wisconsin from expansion of the state highway system were to be any part of my job requirements, and that I must not communicate, nor in a memorandum to all the bureau, shall any person who works in the same bureau I do communicate with me, neither verbally on the phone, by email.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: