Obama forceful about climate change

2013-01-22 07:30
US President Barack Obama (Jewel Samad, AFP)

US President Barack Obama (Jewel Samad, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - US President Barack Obama vowed to make climate change a priority as he was sworn in on Monday to a second term, using some of his most forceful language yet despite uncertain political prospects.

In an inaugural address that kept largely to lofty but general prose, Obama zeroed in on the battle against climate change as a specific goal for his presidency's next four years after setbacks in his first mandate.

"We the people still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," Obama said to applause before a crowd of hundreds of thousands.

Speaking from the steps of the US Capitol where the rival Republican Party controls the House of Representatives, Obama acknowledged the path "will be long and sometimes difficult" but responded directly to climate sceptics.

"Some may still deny the overwhelming judgement of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms," Obama said.

Describing the transition to green technology as a job creator for the nation, which is the world's largest carbon emitter after China, Obama said: "America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it."

"That's how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure - our forests and waterways, our crop lands and snow-capped peaks.

"That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That's what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared."

With memories fresh of super-storm Sandy and record-breaking temperatures, Obama has already indicated that climate change would be one of his second term priorities along with reforming the immigration system and tightening gun rules.

Republicans not green

But climate legislation faces opposition from many Republicans who contest scientists' view that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are causing climate change and argue that curbing industrial emissions would be too costly.

In a recent opinion article in The Washington Times, Republican Representatives David McKinley and Morgan Griffith accused the administration of "destroying a way of life" in towns that mine coal, the most carbon-intensive major energy source.

Alden Meyer, a veteran watcher of the climate change debate at the Union of Concerned Scientists, called Obama's speech a "clarion call" but acknowledged the difficulties of passing legislation in Congress.

Meyer said it was more likely that Obama would pursue his first-term strategy of taking executive measures, such as tightening emission standards from power plants.

"I don't think given the current divide in the Congress that there is much prospect of action on an economy-wide climate bill in the next year or two, but I think that could shift by the latter part of the president's second term, because clearly public awareness is increasing," Meyer said.

"This is an issue like immigration or gay rights that they can't afford to be on the wrong side of history on," Meyer said of lawmakers.

A plan backed by Obama to start a "cap-and-trade" plan with the first nationwide restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions failed in 2010 in the Senate, even with the president's Democratic Party in control.

The European Union has cap-and-trade systems in place and some experts attribute the lack of US legislation for the slow pace of global talks on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, with China insisting on clearer commitments.

While the idea is in its infancy, a growing number of US experts have discussed imposing a direct carbon tax similar to one in Australia, which would allow the United States both to reduce emissions and close its yawning debt.

A draft government report recently warned that without action, the US could face growing storms, fires, droughts, floods and disease and a temperature rise of up to 5.6°C later this century.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  climate change
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
10 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

ANCYL: Not voting would be blasphemy

Not voting in the forthcoming elections would be blasphemy, the ANCYL says in a statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of struggle icon Nelson Mandela's Rivonia trial speech.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Apple iPad 3 Black 64GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 4G

Retina Display Finally the incredible Retina display technology from the iPhone...

From R7699.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you by...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.