Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Reflections on Obama on Climate Change

Busy as I've been with summer work, I didn't get around to listening to President Obama's climate change speech until last night.  In case you are in the same situation, the video is here and a full transcript is here.

What a terrific speech.  I really liked Obama's observation that those who say that environmental regulation will harm the economy lack faith in American ingenuity.  He gave a lot of good examples of how regulation has led to innovation that has been good for both the economy and the environment.   This message would have broad appeal if people would listen. 

Another highlight was Obama's remark that Keystone XL should not go forward if it would “significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution,” commented upon at Legal Planet by Steve Weissman.

I also appreciated Obama's calling out that environmental protection has not always been and should not be such a partisan issue.  I knew, for example, that the Clean Air Act was signed by President Nixon, but I didn't realize that it passed the House and Senate almost unanimously (with just one no vote in the House).  Wow. 

And, finally, I liked how Obama made references throughout about the importance of this issue to today's children.  As I've said before, I don't get why more parents and grandparents aren't demanding strong action.  As Obama put it:  "And someday, our children, and our children’s children, will look at us in the eye and they’ll ask us, did we do all that we could when we had the chance to deal with this problem and leave them a cleaner, safer, more stable world?"  

- Lesley McAllister

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/environmental_law/2013/07/reflections-on-obama-on-climate-change.html

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Comments

"I really liked Obama's observation that those who say that environmental regulation will harm the economy lack faith in American ingenuity."

Why not have faith that before disaster strikes American ingenuity will solve the problem of too much carbon in the air ?

Posted by: anon | Jul 8, 2013 11:41:37 AM

This is well said but perhaps unduly optimistic given that the "fix is in" already on the Keystone XL and fracking thus rendering public participation merely a democratic gloss on an apparent fait accompli

Posted by: John T. Maher | Jul 3, 2013 10:05:56 AM

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