NY Times editorial echoes our view that Obama must speak out on climate change threat


An August 10 editorial in the New York Times (“A Real Bill for the Climate”) calls on President Obama, as we have done, to start communicating the urgency of the climate change problem and its threat to the planet, and get beyond the easy “green jobs” message that his administration and its supporters have been using to sell climate legislation. Right now, Senators are putting a combination of political warfare, anti-government-problem-solving ideology, and fossil energy interests ahead of dealing with the problem

Post by Rick Piltz

On June 16 I said to Grist:  “It seems to me that so far the White House has adopted a messaging strategy on climate that very heavily emphasizes green jobs and clean energy, which is crucial, but that doesn’t have much of a vocabulary for impacts. It seems to me that you’re really taking one of your weapons off the table if you never talk about why it’s so important to do something [about climate change]. What are the consequences of not doing something?”

An August 10 editorial in the New York Times (“A Real Bill for the Climate”) includes this:

What this country does not need in 2009 is another energy bill, even a better one. What it needs is a climate bill, one committed to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases in a way that engages the whole economy and forces major technological change. Without such a bill, America will lose the race against time on climate…

Yet there are small but disturbing signs that what this country might have to settle for is another energy bill. The atmosphere in the Senate is just short of mutinous….

The White House seems oddly disengaged. It has been a while since President Obama has issued a full-throated plea for a climate bill, and when his aides talk about the issue, they talk about things that are easy to sell — “energy security” and “green jobs” — rather than pushing for tough measures needed to cap emissions.

They must start doing so, if not tomorrow, the moment the Senate returns after Labor Day. The planet cannot wait much longer for serious action. The last few months have brought a mountain of new data, including an M.I.T. study suggesting that the planet could be warming much faster than previously thought. The only possible response is a strong, demanding climate bill.

See our earlier posts:
Obama talks about climate impacts and adaptation at G-8—now should take the message to U.S. public (posted on July 12)

Open Letter to the President and Members of Congress from 20 leading scientists and scholars (posted on June 22)

President Obama should lead in talking about the consequences of inaction on climate change (posted on June 18)

MIT modeling study doubles earlier projected warming, poses challenge for impacts research (posted on May 29)

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