Commentary: Obama Does Not Believe Global Warming a Civil-War or World-War-II Scale Crisis
President Barack Obama evidently does not believe that fossil-fueled global warming is a nation-threatening crisis, despite repeated scientific warnings that a full-scale mobilization must be enacted now to avert global catastrophe. At the top of his list for accomplishments before the end of his term, instead of a redirection of the national and global economy towards rapid decarbonization, is the goal of beginning “the process of rebuilding the middle class and the ladders into the middle class.”In response to The New Yorker’s David Remnick’s question of “what he felt he must get done before leaving office,” Obama said:
I think we are fortunate at the moment that we do not face a crisis of the scale and scope that Lincoln or F.D.R. faced.
Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt were president at the start of the Civil War and World War II, respectively.
Obama’s presidency has been marked by a backing away from a sense of urgency about the climate crisis. “Obviously there’s great urgency in dealing with a threat to the entire planet,” Obama said as a candidate in 2007. In an October 2007 speech, he called global warming “the planet’s greatest threat,” “the issue that will determine the very future of life on this Earth,” “a fact that threatens our very existence,” and “the most urgent challenge of this era.”
“Global warming is not a someday problem, it is now,” he said. He pledged “to phase out a carbon-based economy that’s causing our changing climate.” “As President, I will lead this commitment,” he promised.
Six and half years later, global carbon pollution has continued to rise rapidly, fueled in no small part by Obama’s “all of the above” support for increased oil drilling, fracking, and coal mining.
After years of near-to-total silence on the ravages of a polluted climate to the nation, Obama started his second term with a new promise for action.
“As a President, as a father, and as an American, I’m here to say we need to act,” he said in June 2013.
It looks he doesn’t actually feel the urgency of his own words.