Obama talks about climate impacts and adaptation at G-8—now should take the message to U.S. public


In his remarks on climate change and clean energy at the G8 summit on July 9, President Obama said, right up front: “The science is clear and conclusive, and the impacts can no longer be ignored. Ice sheets are melting. Sea levels are rising. Our oceans are becoming more acidic, and we’ve already seen its effects on weather patterns, our food and water sources, our health and our habitats. So every nation on this planet is at risk.”  Leading with science and emphasizing the impacts of climate disruption to convey a sense of urgency is a good thing to see as part of the President’s framing of the issue – something we have not seen much of in how he has talked to the U.S. public about climate and energy policy.  The President should lead public opinion by consistently emphasizing the consequences of inaction as a key driver of the need for an energy transformation.

The President also included the following in his remarks at the G8 summit (a good statement, worth reading in full):

[A]s I wrestle with these issues politically in my own country, I’ve come to see that it is going to be absolutely critical that all of us go beyond what’s expected if we’re going to achieve our goals.
During the course of our three days in L’Aquila, we’ve taken also a number of significant steps forward; I want to briefly highlight them.

This week, the G-8 nations came to a historic consensus on concrete goals for reducing carbon emissions. We all agreed that, by 2050, developed nations will reduce their emissions by 80 percent and that we will work with all nations to cut global emissions in half.

This ambitious effort is consistent with limiting global warming to no more than two degrees Celsius, which, as our declaration explicitly acknowledged for the first time, is what the mainstream of the scientific community has called for.

In addition, we agreed to substantially increase financial resources to help developing nations create low-carbon growth plans and deploy clean-energy technologies.  We also recognize that climate change is already happening, and so we’re going to have to help those affected countries adapt, particularly those who are least able to deal with its consequences because of a lack of resources.
So we are looking at providing significant financial assistance to help these countries.
… [emphasis added]

See our earlier posts:
President Obama should lead in talking about the consequences of inaction on climate change

US climate change impacts report shows immediate need for action—White House must lead in preparing

Video link and key quotes from White House briefing on global climate change impacts report

When Obama says climate change is “a matter of urgency and of national security” he needs to say why

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