President Obama should communicate the scientific conclusions that show why it is necessary to undertake the massive task of decarbonizing the energy system, and the potential consequences of inaction, says the Washington Post Capital Weather Gang blog today. Failure to do so would be “a mistake that may cost the planet dearly.” This reflects what we have been saying since the election: President Obama should start talking about climate change—which is not the same as talking about clean energy.
Capital Weather Gang
September 1, 2009
…Although Mr. Obama came into office pledging to chart a new course on climate science and policy, he has largely pitched climate change legislation on “clean energy” and “green jobs” grounds, and has not addressed the scientific reasoning behind his desire to enact new climate policies. This is a mistake that may cost the planet dearly, in addition to any political ramifications for the president….
To date, Obama’s lone accomplishment on climate change science has been the release of a report on the potential impacts in June, but it essentially summarized the results of 21 studies commissioned by the Bush Administration. Furthermore, the White House has been sluggish in reorganizing the U.S. Global Change Research Program in a way that puts it on a path to producing scientific reports that policy makers can use—a major criticism of those studies completed under Bush….
To address the public’s questions, President Obama needs to lay out the scientific case for action, including what studies show about the potential costs of inaction. Thus far, he has neglected to use his bully pulpit to hammer a climate science message home, thereby helping to fuel skepticism about climate science and lend support to the building backlash against the policies he favors….
The bottom line is that if President Obama wants action to be taken on climate change under his watch, he needs to speak up, and not just about green jobs and clean energy, as worthwhile as they are….
See our earlier posts:
When Obama says climate change is “a matter of urgency and of national security” he needs to say why
NY Times editorial echoes our view that Obama must speak out on climate change threat
Obama talks about climate impacts and adaptation at G-8—now should take the message to U.S. public
President Obama should lead in talking about the consequences of inaction on climate change
On the U.S. Global Change Research Program:
White House science & budget offices must lead in revitalizing federal climate research
Part 2: John Holdren Senate testimony Senate testimony on new directions for climate research and information service