The President went overseas to ramp up his rhetoric on climate. The speaker of the house kept his head in the ground, denouncing any new plan for domestic action on climate change as “absolutely crazy.”
But at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin Wednesday Obama returned to the moral argument:
Peace with justice means refusing to condemn our children to a harsher, less hospitable planet. The effort to slow climate change requires bold action. And on this, Germany and Europe have led.
In the United States, we have recently doubled our renewable energy from clean sources like wind and solar power. We’re doubling fuel efficiency on our cars. Our dangerous carbon emissions have come down. But we know we have to do more — and we will do more.
With a global middle class consuming more energy every day, this must now be an effort of all nations, not just some. For the grim alternative affects all nations — more severe storms, more famine and floods, new waves of refugees, coastlines that vanish, oceans that rise. This is the future we must avert. This is the global threat of our time. And for the sake of future generations, our generation must move toward a global compact to confront a changing climate before it is too late. That is our job. That is our task. We have to get to work.
We have heard strong words from the president in the past on climate, so like most of you, I will reserve judgment on these remarks. They certainly do not sound compatible with approving the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, a gateway to one of the largest and dirtiest pools of carbon in the world.
But before making the Keystone decision in several months, team Obama has promised to announce a series of domestic actions in the next several days. In DC yesterday, Heather Zichal, the President’s climate aide, didn’t provide specifics but “spoke broadly, however, of bolstering energy efficiency, expanding clean energy on public lands and using various “tools” — including the Clean Air Act — to address climate.”
Hopefully, none of what he proposes will require congressional approval, because this is how Speaker Boehner responded to news of these plans:
“I think this is absolutely crazy. Why would you want to increase the cost of energy and kill more American jobs at a time when American people are asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’ “
It is, of course, the true cost of energy that is killing the climate — and the switch to cleaner burning sources is the only sustainable source of energy jobs.
But what can you expect from the man who once said, “The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical.”