FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Excerpt: "Now it's time for us in the climate and progressive movements to do our job as citizens and demand that he [President Obama] do the same on climate. It's time, long past time, for Barack Obama to break his own self-imposed silence on climate."

President Barack Obama gives his acceptance speech to supporters in Chicago, Ill., early Wednesday morning. (photo: The Washington Post)
President Barack Obama gives his acceptance speech to supporters in Chicago, Ill., early Wednesday morning. (photo: The Washington Post)


Obama, Climate, History

By Ted Glick, Reader Supported News

08 November 12

 

t was worth staying up 'til 2 a.m. last night to hear Barack Obama's victory speech. The brother sure can bring it when he is inspired.

Now it's time for us in the climate and progressive movements to do our job as citizens and demand that he do the same on climate. It's time, long past time, for Barack Obama to break his own self-imposed silence on climate.

When did this silence begin? A piece in last week's British newspaper The Guardian reminded me of how far back it goes: to a meeting the White House organized for leaders of environmental groups in March of 2009 at the Old Executive Office building next to the White House. At that meeting, according to the Guardian, aides to Obama made it clear that they did not plan to talk much about climate and that they wanted their supporters to do the same.

As participant Betsy Taylor put it: "What was communicated in the presentation was: 'This is what you talk about, and don't talk about climate change.' I took away an absolutely clear understanding that we should focus on clean energy jobs and the potential of a clean energy economy rather than the threat of climate change."

"The message stuck. Subsequent campaigns from the Obama administration and some environmental groups relegated climate change to a second-tier concern," said Taylor.

And now here we are, at the end of a year that has seen epic drought, record-breaking heat waves, extensive forest fires, alarming Arctic sea ice melt and Superstorm Sandy. It is clear that we are now in a new normal as far as our climate and weather goes.

As New York governor Andrew Cuomo said, some parts of the country are experiencing "100-year storms every couple of years."

Working with others, I did everything I could up to the very end to break the silence during the presidential election campaign. By and large, we failed as far as the candidates and the debates went. Even after Sandy, Romney said nothing about climate change in his speeches, and Obama said very little.

However, our "end the silence" campaign did succeed in building buzz in the media about this huge, distressing dynamic. And it's absolutely essential that we keep building that buzz, keep building the pressure, make it impossible for the Obama administration not to speak up and take action on the rapidly deepening and most important issue human civilization has ever faced.

What the world needs is for father Barack Obama, concerned citizen Barack Obama, man of history Barack Obama to internalize that his legacy, how history and future generations remember him, will be completely bound up with what he does or does not do going forward on this issue.

Open and strong leadership on climate will be a political winner for those politicians who make this a top issue, as numerous polls this year have shown.

And the world, including many of its political leaders, would respond positively to version 2.0 of the Obama administration's approach in the international arena. The world is crying out, almost literally, for smart, determined, and visionary leadership on the climate crisis.

Starting today, let's do all in our power, let's come together as a movement, to help our re-elected president rise to the demands of history and of our wounded planet, and to the needs of human society. We literally can't accept anything less.



Ted Glick has been a progressive activist and organizer since 1968. Past writings and other information can be found at http://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on twitter at http://twitter.com/jtglick.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.


 

Comments   

We are concerned about a recent drift towards vitriol in the RSN Reader comments section. There is a fine line between moderation and censorship. No one likes a harsh or confrontational forum atmosphere. At the same time everyone wants to be able to express themselves freely. We'll start by encouraging good judgment. If that doesn't work we'll have to ramp up the moderation.

General guidelines: Avoid personal attacks on other forum members; Avoid remarks that are ethnically derogatory; Do not advocate violence, or any illegal activity.

Remember that making the world better begins with responsible action.

- The RSN Team

 
-25 # Doc E 2012-11-08 08:32
Ted: I always tell my liberal amigos who are being lied to or lie about Global Cooling of 30-40 years ago, Global Warming of a few years ago, to now "climate change" that if they want to reduce their carbon foot print, to simply quit breathing. A lot of CO2 will be reduced this way. Stop the bs about this. The best enviornment is done by a healty society where economically better off poeple can demand a higher standard.
 
 
+13 # BradFromSalem 2012-11-08 09:18
What?

First we stop breathing. Next those that weren't stupid enough to follow the stop breathing plan create a healthy society because the CO2 from the formerly living has disappeared where the survivors are better off economically? I get it, the survivors take part in mass grave robbing! Oh oh, I do hope you bury those bodies, they might give off methane during decomposition.

I got a better idea for you. Stop listening to Rush Limbaugh for "facts". Limbaugh is a humor show just like Jon Stewart, except Rush creates entirely original material and Stewart uses reality. Guess who is funnier?
 
 
+8 # dkonstruction 2012-11-08 10:02
Quoting Doc E:
Ted: I always tell my liberal amigos who are being lied to or lie about Global Cooling of 30-40 years ago, Global Warming of a few years ago, to now "climate change" that if they want to reduce their carbon foot print, to simply quit breathing. A lot of CO2 will be reduced this way. Stop the bs about this. The best enviornment is done by a healty society where economically better off poeple can demand a higher standard.


right, it's only those Koch Brothers funded scientists that aren't lying to us about global warming/climate change....like Richard A. Muller, professor of physics at UC Berkeley, MacArthur Fellow and co-founder of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project whose Berkeley project was heavily funded by the Charles Koch Charitable Foundation and who recently published a piece entitled: "The Conversion of a Climate Skeptic." Hey, if you can't trust a projectand scientist funded by the Koch Brothers who can you trust?

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/opinion/the-conversion-of-a-climate-change-skeptic.html?_r=4&pagewanted=all
 
 
+12 # ruttaro 2012-11-08 10:02
When will this nonsense end? Will facts persuade the deniers? I doubt it but here goes a feeble attempt at changing feeble mindedness.
The question is how do we know human beings are the source for the steep rise in CO2 in the atmosphere? Start with what we know. We know we are way past the ppm range historically found in ice samples. We know through the samples going back 400,000 years that the rise in temperature and the rise in CO2 have almost perfectly corresponded. The steep rise in the amount of CO2 starts around the time of the industrial revolution- and it is increasing. How can we be sure it is the burning of fossil fuels and not some natural occurence like volcanos? Because there are three types of carbon: carbon 12 which comes from burning organic material (fossil fuels), carbon 13 which is from volcanos and carbon 14 which is radioactive and doesn't last a long time. What the ice sample and air sample show is a dramatic increase in carbon 12 and that only comes from burning of fossil fuels. It directly corresponds with our activity of burning fossil fuels. What CO2 we exhale is easily absorbed by plants, the balance of nature. By the massive amounts of carbon 12 through fossil fuel burning, we have overwhelmed the system. The CO2 cannot be absorbed naturally so the Earth is out of balance and we are starting to pay the price.

Doc E, Look at physics, chemistry and the evidence. And maybe listen to your liberal amigos.
 
 
+6 # Texas Aggie 2012-11-08 11:07
Your response illustrates one of the biggest differences that mark the left from the right. The left works with facts, reality, while the right indulges in fantasy and faith, and totally ignores coming disaster, even when it smacks them in the face.

As one of the commenters mentioned, facts don't mean anything to a modern "conservative." They equate them with opinions. Use facts to argue with a modern "conservative" and they just remark on how everyone has the right to their own opinion.
 
 
0 # RLF 2012-11-09 05:31
This is a problem with the science community. They are so busy publishing or perishing that they are not policing their own ranks. They have to make it where if a scientists creates junk science they are disbarred...or some such similar treatment. If they don't do this, all of the sciences will be distrusted because we are being told on a daily basis that ridiculously unhealthy things are fine for us and that makes us distrustful of science. When fake, paid for by industry science ends, the entire community will get it's credibility back...and not until then.
 
 
+9 # BradFromSalem 2012-11-08 08:35
Here is the optimistic viewpoint.

President Obama's first agenda item is to pull us back (or rescue us after) from the fiscal cliff. In doing so he forces the Republicans to sign off on maintaining Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid while raising taxes on the wealthy. The "grand bargain" will be handful of concessions such as not touching capital gains and possibly a high ceiling on the mortgage deduction.
Climate Change then becomes his second agenda item, where he includes a multi-tiered jobs program as part of a comprehensive energy change policy.


My pessimistic/rea listic viewpoint.
The Grand bargain is agenda item number one. The wealthy pay more taxes, but not much, and there are cuts to eligibility for the 3 big "entitlements". The ceiling on items like mortgage deductions are much lower and Health Insurance is no longer deductible while corporate taxes go way down.
Agenda number 2 is Jobs. Climate change will get mention but its importance is lowered as part of the jobs package. Republicans are thrilled that science and common sense are being ignored. Unfortunately, while employment soars, most of the new jobs are in cleaning up after monster storms, while the banks make even more money.

Best scenario: Obama tells the Republicans to pass the Progressive caucus plan to avoid the cliff. End of story. On January 2, he announces a national climate emergency.
 
 
+3 # solarpete 2012-11-08 09:17
Ted

All excellent points. A really powerful document for climate deniers is this Exxon document - FYI....it is as clear as clear can be only those who just WILL NOT see will see this one....

http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/global_warming/exxon_report.pdf
 
 
+3 # 4yourinformation 2012-11-08 09:44
"When did this silence begin? A piece in last week's British newspaper The Guardian reminded me of how far back it goes: to a meeting the White House organized for leaders of environmental groups in March of 2009 at the Old Executive Office building next to the White House. At that meeting, according to the Guardian, aides to Obama made it clear that they did not plan to talk much about climate and that they wanted their supporters to do the same."

This is what I hate about Dem politics. Everyone just falls in line we move to the right, to the right, to the right.

How pathetic.
 
 
-2 # HowardMH 2012-11-08 09:53
Obama the Wimp can’t say anything about the Republicans unless he is standing with a crowd of 10 to 20 thousand screaming supporters at a rally. Obama the Wimp has been right down the hall from the White House Press room for almost four years now and how many times has he gone into the press room during the daily briefings to the news media and actually “Called out any Republican Senate or House Member” for not cooperating with Obama the Wimps plans the republicans have been disapproving? HE SHOULD BE DOING IT EVERY DAY HE IS IN THE WHITE HOUSE, BUT Obama the Wimp wouldn’t want to heart anyone’s bealing.
(Bealing is what my daughter said when she got spanked – when she was 2, because she couldn’t say feelings yet. “Daddy, you hurt my beeling”.
I think is is over 2 yrs old. Maybe he should start acting like it.
 
 
+4 # dkonstruction 2012-11-08 11:00
Quoting HowardMH:
Obama the Wimp can’t say anything about the Republicans unless he is standing with a crowd of 10 to 20 thousand screaming supporters at a rally. Obama the Wimp has been right down the hall from the White House Press room for almost four years now and how many times has he gone into the press room during the daily briefings to the news media and actually “Called out any Republican Senate or House Member” for not cooperating with Obama the Wimps plans the republicans have been disapproving? HE SHOULD BE DOING IT EVERY DAY HE IS IN THE WHITE HOUSE, BUT Obama the Wimp wouldn’t want to heart anyone’s bealing.
(Bealing is what my daughter said when she got spanked – when she was 2, because she couldn’t say feelings yet. “Daddy, you hurt my beeling”.
I think is is over 2 yrs old. Maybe he should start acting like it.


Excellent use of cut and paste to make the same comment here as you did in another post....may as well cut and paste my response then...

A grown man hitting a 2-year old kind of says it all.
 
 
+4 # BradFromSalem 2012-11-08 12:44
That reminds me of how impressed I was with my then future father-in-law, boasting about tricking my future wife when she was about 4 years old. He told her she could only get something if it was under $1. She found something that cost 79 cents. Guess what he told her.

People that hit a 2 year old and boast about fooling a 4 year old have very little credibility.
 
 
+6 # DaveM 2012-11-08 10:16
America is a nation that solves problems. Here is at least a partial solution to several:

We have idle factories and unemployed workers. How about a government initiative to get people to open those factories, employ those workers, and manufacture renewable energy products? We'd have people back at work, make a contribution toward America's energy needs AND the need to reduce pollution, and we would increase individual self-reliance for every American who bought the products.

The factories are there, the people are there, the technology is there. How much can this cost? Surely not nearly as much as even one of the various "bailouts" which have merely brought us more of the same.
 
 
0 # X Dane 2012-11-09 13:25
DaveM.

EXCELLENT SUGGESTION...No w would that not be a fantastic project for Romney and his many millions???? He could show the country that he REALLY CAN CREATE JOBS, ....and prove that maybe he is a patriot after all!!!
 
 
+3 # Smokey 2012-11-08 12:22
The public's interest in climate change - as measured by public opinion polls - has actually DECREASED since the year 2008. Yeah, I suppose that part of the blame can be dumped on Romney and the Koch brothers. Still, I suggest that it's time for progressives to rethink the situation.

The big environmental groups followed Obama's instructions in 2009. (See "Guardian" report.) Much got said about "green jobs," but it's still not clear what this means. (Mowing the lawn? Is that a "green job"?)

Building windmills is a great idea. However, what's being proposed is a "trickle down " strategy. Supposedly, if we build enough windmills, and if everybody stops using gasoline and coal, the climate will heal itself during the next 20-50 years.

Problem? The country was hit very hard by droughts, crop failures, forest fires, hurricanes, and other bad stuff. In response, the big conservation groups kept saying, "Change your lightbulbs, and keep building windmills, and everything will be fine."

What's needed is a new strategy that looks at immediate problems. The climate change problem has arrived. We need to raise people above the poverty level, so that they can deal with this new reality. In some nations, people need to consume more energy, not less, in order to survive.
 
 
+4 # dkonstruction 2012-11-08 13:41
It's about more than just building windmills. There is also solar and geo-thermal not to mention increasing energy efficiency in everything from vehicles to our bldgs....we could be employing millions of unemployed people to retrofit every building in the country to make them energy efficient.

I agree that simply telling people to change there lightbulbs and build more windmills is not sufficient but i don't know any serious environmentalis t/climate change people that are saying this
 
 
-6 # Doc E 2012-11-08 12:52
OK Boys & Girls, time for some basic science classes. When you exhale, which means breathing out, BTW, you exhale what gas as a result of O2 being absorbed as a reult in inhalation(brea thing in)? Next ? after this one is answered.
 
 
+4 # dkonstruction 2012-11-08 13:12
What's my prize for guessing CO2? Problem is that this myth has been dispelled as well (but then of course you never responded to ruttaro's thoughtful and informative comment) e.g.,

http://www.edf.org/sites/default/files/5279_GlobalwarmingAttributuion.pdf

or this one....

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2009/08/7_billion_carbon_sinks.html

See Doc, in your world perhaps people only exhale but in the real world people also inhale so what we exhale first had to be inhaled (unless you're bill clinton)...you are trying to make people believe that humans produce the carbon magically in our bodies and then exhale it when the reality is that we had to inhale it in the first place and so at best it's a wash....in fact, we actually exhale alot less than we inhale as the Slate piece points out:

The average human exhales about 2.3 pounds of carbon dioxide on an average day. (The exact quantity depends on your activity level—a person engaged in vigorous exercise produces up to eight times as much CO2 as his sedentary brethren.) Take this number and multiply by a population of 7 billion people, breathing away for 365.25 days per year, and you get an annual CO2 output of 2.94 billion tons. International carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion for 2008 topped 34.7 billion tons. So the human race breathes out about 8.5 percent as much carbon as we burn.
 
 
+3 # ruttaro 2012-11-08 14:34
Doc E,

I'm curious as to how you gat the 'Doc"? Was it because you enganed in a rigorous program of research, deep emersion in the literature to demonstrate familiarity with theory and discussion, training in research methods and inquiry? Or was it obtained as an honorary degree? Did you receive it as a 'nickname' and thus means a lot to you and your family and friends? Or was it a BS degree from the University of Bull S**t? Now, Doc E, I'm not making this into a personal attack; at least I hope not becasue I don't like those tactics. But you are peddling some really noxious dung here. As dkonstruction above shows you the math and the logic, as others have mentioned above and below, at least give reason based on fact a better, more thorough review. At least then the 'Doc' means you use objective analysis to arrive at conclusions and not (God forbid if you do this) listen to the factually challenged like Limbaugh. OK, in all seriousness, there are huge consequences awaiting the next generations and the most vulnerable in this world will be the first to experience the worst. Believing in nonsense when so much is at stake may not affect you or your loved ones, but a moral and ethical person does not stop their considerations of their actions at just themselves or loved ones. A moral person places a much greater weight on what they do and how it affects others, even the unborn. Which should be a slam-dunk for the right to life folks.
 
 
+2 # solarpete 2012-11-08 12:59
Smokey

The "plan" or strategy that you are referring to can be read at: www.rmi.org

It is done in GREAT detail, peer reviewed by highest quality people, including oil company executives. It is call Re-iventing Fire

http://www.rmi.org/ReinventingFire
 
 
+1 # readerz 2012-11-09 05:46
I have watched the arctic sea ice (and the antarctic) every day in 2012. I've been paying attention to the melting of glaciers causing a temporary gain in sea ice in the antarctic (don't think that will last for more than a few years, because it is caused by the destruction of glaciers on land, and much worse danger). Greenland had a total surface melt in July 2012 for the first time, and lots of water running into crevices and under the ice sheet, and lots of calving glaciers. This is an unstoppable show almost...

Except for a few herders in Siberia, who are bulldozing down trees (dark warming sources) and returning areas to grasslands, and the re-freeze this fall started from the Siberian land, not the arctic ice as usual. It may be too late overall, but there are many such management plans that can increase the northern ice and begin to protect the world's jet stream and water temperatures, and it only takes a relatively small effort.

I am glad that at least Pres. Obama pushed for higher gas mileage, but we should have just about gotten rid of fossil fuels by now.

Oh, global warming? Conservatives BELIEVE in it, and have for years (just won't tell their cannon fodder followers). They've been building ships; negotiating between US, Canada, Russia, Denmark (Greenland), and others; sending the USGS to survey the continental shelf for oil and methane... why would Rumhead have said that "Russia is our biggest enemy?" Arctic oil baby.
 
 
0 # X Dane 2012-11-09 14:15
readerz
I am curious, what is your profession? Is it in a professional way you are watching the glaciers and sea ice?
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN