Obama's disconnect with America on the climate issue

Here’s the latest poll from Bloomberg on most important issues facing the country:

Bloomberg_poll_092209

Climate change ranks dead last in importance. Source: PollingReport.com

Now compare what the American People think to what Obama thinks in his UN speech today.

The following is the text of Obama’s speech as prepared for delivery today at the UN:

Good morning. I want to thank the Secretary-General for organizing this summit, and all the leaders who are participating. That so many of us are here today is a recognition that the threat from climate change is serious, it is urgent, and it is growing. Our generation’s response to this challenge will be judged by history, for if we fail to meet it — boldly, swiftly, and together — we risk consigning future generations to an irreversible catastrophe.

No nation, however large or small, wealthy or poor, can escape the impact of climate change. Rising sea levels threaten every coastline. More powerful storms and floods threaten every continent. More frequent drought and crop failures breed hunger and conflict in places where hunger and conflict already thrive. On shrinking islands, families are already being forced to flee their homes as climate refugees.

The security and stability of each nation and all peoples — our prosperity, our health, our safety — are in jeopardy. And the time we have to reverse this tide is running out.

And yet, we can reverse it. John F. Kennedy once observed that “Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man.” It is true that for too many years, mankind has been slow to respond to or even recognize the magnitude of the climate threat. It is true of my own country as well. We recognize that. But this is a new day. It is a new era. And I am proud to say that the United States has done more to promote clean energy and reduce carbon pollution in the last eight months than at any other time in our history.

We’re making our government’s largest ever investment in renewable energy — an investment aimed at doubling the generating capacity from wind and other renewable resources in three years. Across America, entrepreneurs are constructing wind turbines and solar panels and batteries for hybrid cars with the help of loan guarantees and tax credits — projects that are creating new jobs and new industries. We’re investing billions to cut energy waste in our homes, buildings, and appliances — helping American families save money on energy bills in the process. We’ve proposed the very first national policy aimed at both increasing fuel economy and reducing greenhouse gas pollution for all new cars and trucks — a standard that will also save consumers money and our nation oil. We’re moving forward with our nation’s first offshore wind energy projects. We’re investing billions to capture carbon pollution so that we can clean up our coal plants. Just this week, we announced that for the first time ever, we’ll begin tracking how much greenhouse gas pollution is being emitted throughout the country. Later this week, I will work with my colleagues at the G20 to phase out fossil fuel subsidies so that we can better address our climate challenge. And already, we know that the recent drop in overall U.S. emissions is due in part to steps that promote greater efficiency and greater use of renewable energy.

Most importantly, the House of Representatives passed an energy and climate bill in June that would finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy for American businesses and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. One committee has already acted on this bill in the Senate and I look forward to engaging with others as we move forward.

Because no one nation can meet this challenge alone, the United States has also engaged more allies and partners in finding a solution than ever before. In April, we convened the first of what have now been six meetings of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate here in the United States. In Trinidad, I proposed an Energy and Climate Partnership for the Americas. We’ve worked through the World Bank to promote renewable energy projects and technologies in the developing world. And we have put climate at the top of our diplomatic agenda when it comes to our relationships with countries from China to Brazil; India to Mexico; Africa to Europe.

Taken together, these steps represent an historic recognition on behalf of the American people and their government. We understand the gravity of the climate threat.

We are determined to act. And we will meet our responsibility to future generations.

But though many of our nations have taken bold actions and share in this determination, we did not come here today to celebrate progress. We came because there is so much more progress to be made. We came because there is so much more work to be done.

It is work that will not be easy. As we head towards Copenhagen, there should be no illusions that the hardest part of our journey is in front of us. We seek sweeping but necessary change in the midst of a global recession, where every nation’s most immediate priority is reviving their economy and putting their people back to work. And so all of us will face doubts and difficulties in our own capitals as we try to reach a lasting solution to the climate challenge.

But difficulty is no excuse for complacency. Unease is no excuse for inaction. And we must not allow the perfect to become the enemy of progress. Each of us must do what we can when we can to grow our economies without endangering our planet — and we must all do it together. We must seize the opportunity to make Copenhagen a significant step forward in the global fight against climate change.

We also cannot allow the old divisions that have characterized the climate debate for so many years to block our progress. Yes, the developed nations that caused much of the damage to our climate over the last century still have a responsibility to lead. And we will continue to do so by investing in renewable energy, promoting greater efficiency, and slashing our emissions to reach the targets we set for 2020 and our long-term goal for 2050.

But those rapidly-growing developing nations that will produce nearly all the growth in global carbon emissions in the decades ahead must do their part as well. Some of these nations have already made great strides with the development and deployment of clean energy. Still, they will need to commit to strong measures at home and agree to stand behind those commitments just as the developed nations must stand behind their own. We cannot meet this challenge unless all the largest emitters of greenhouse gas pollution act together.

There is no other way.

We must also energize our efforts to put other developing nations — especially the poorest and most vulnerable on a path to sustainable growth. These nations do not have the same resources to combat climate change as countries like the United States or China do, but they have the most immediate stake in a solution. For these are the nations that are already living with the unfolding effects of a warming planet — famine and drought; disappearing coastal villages and the conflict that arises from scarce resources. Their future is no longer a choice between a growing economy and a cleaner planet, because their survival depends on both. It will do little good to alleviate poverty if you can no longer harvest your crops or find drinkable water.

That is why we have a responsibility to provide the financial and technical assistance needed to help these nations adapt to the impacts of climate change and pursue low-carbon development.

What we are seeking, after all, is not simply an agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions. We seek an agreement that will allow all nations to grow and raise living standards without endangering the planet. By developing and disseminating clean technology and sharing our know-how, we can help developing nations leap-frog dirty energy technologies and reduce dangerous emissions.

As we meet here today, the good news is that after too many years of inaction and denial, there is finally widespread recognition of the urgency of the challenge before us. We know what needs to be done. We know that our planet’s future depends on a global commitment to permanently reduce greenhouse gas pollution. We know that if we put the right rules and incentives in place, we will unleash the creative power of our best scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs to build a better world. And so many nations have already taken the first steps on the journey towards that goal.

But the journey is long. The journey is hard. And we don’t have much time left to make it. It is a journey that will require each of us to persevere through setback, and fight for every inch of progress, even when it comes in fits and starts. So let us begin. For if we are flexible and pragmatic; if we can resolve to work tirelessly in common effort, then we will achieve our common purpose: a world that is safer, cleaner, and healthier than the one we found; and a future that is worthy of our children. Thank you.

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Ron de Haan

It’s not only Obama who’s “disconnected.
Just read what Energy Secretary Chu is telling the American People.
You behave like teenage kids he says.
Stop paying your taxes is what I say.
http://blogs.wsj.com/environmentalcapital/2009/09/21/steven-chu-americans-are-like-teenage-kids-when-it-comes-to-energy/

Ron de Haan

By the way, thanks for posting this.

CodeTech

Ouch – zerobama is invoking JFK.
I’d like to see anyone demonstrate a single individual that has been forced to flee from rising waters caused by manmade climate change…
Also, “And I am proud to say that the United States has done more to promote clean energy and reduce carbon pollution in the last eight months than at any other time in our history”, while factually correct, fails to point out the reason is his party’s disastrous attempt to financially ruin the entire first world and destroy all industry in the United States.

Phillip Bratby

To use scientific terminology, the speech was a load of bollocks from start to finish (am I allowed to say that?)

Good grief! I may be sick. How on earth do we elect people who have such little knowledge and facts. Even my 99 year old mother knows more.

Interesting Presidential comments in light of the Arctic sea ice being 24% larger than just two years ago or the Antarctic sea ice being 1 million square kilometers larger than 12 months ago. Suppose he also doesnt know much about the low solar activity.
Socialism trumps science once again.

Henry chance

Is Europe angry about this or are we just being told Europe has issues with our ambivalence?
I don’t have a problem with strong energy consumption because we consume so much producing crops.
Resident Obama’s teleprompter is soft on facts and science as it is soft on economics.

CarsonH

Yawn……
The more the data shows they are wrong, the more they poster and scream: “The sky is falling”.
The American people (I’m in Canada) will remind the Dems and the Nobama who’s boss. The day of reckoning will be sweet.

Gordon Ford

The first paragraph is good but the speech all falls apart in the second paragraph. Sea level rise is not universal, its falling in many areas. My lawn ends at the Pacific ocean and in 20 years I’ve seen no evidence of sea level change. Tropical storms are at near historic lows. Are crop failures increasing, we hear little about starvation caused by floods or drought! He definitely needs a new speech writer.

R Shearer

Does anyone wish to shout, “You lie!”?

Greg, San Diego, CA

One World Government – that is all that Obama has in his head these days. He will use the AGW hoax to help bring down this great country (along with his Obamacare hoax, and the Stimulus hoax) and make us subservient to the socialist governments of the world.
Not on my watch!!! We need to strengthen our resolve to continue to fight these efforts – for now and for the futures of our children and grandchildren.

Joel Shore

Of course, polls have also shown that there is a vast disconnect between what the general public in the U.S. thinks about climate change and what scientists, especially those active in studying climate science think: http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf
The reason we call leaders “leaders” is that we sometimes expect them to lead, not just to follow. And, we expect them to rely on the best expert judgment, not just rely on public opinion polls.
It is also worth noting that your comparison here is really apples-to-oranges. While the vast majority of the American public may not put climate change at the top of the list in terms of issues facing the country right now, the polling data also shows that it does not follow that all, or even most, of the people who don’t rank it the #1 issue want nothing to be done about it. See for example here http://www.zogby.com/News/ReadNews.cfm?ID=1730 :

A majority of likely voters – 71% – favors the American Clean Energy and Security Act recently passed by the House of Representatives, and two-thirds (67%) believe Congress is either doing the right amount (22%) or should be doing more (45%) to address global warming, new Zogby International telephone poll shows. Just 28% believe that Congress is doing too much.

What this shows is that how Americans respond depends strongly on what question you ask them and how you ask it. (And, I am not claiming the Zogby framing of the question is the best.)

Paul C

Since when does what the American people want matter to those at the top?
Silence Peasants!

Jason Bair

You Lie!

Jeremy

Yes it is very much like Churchill’s “We will Fight them on the Beaches” speech only we are most likely dealing with natural climate variations that have been going on for thousands and millions of years.
Meanwhile there are many American’s who have recently lost their jobs, their homes and are on the street hungry and without even health care coverage…at least the Bankers were able to buy hathe latest Porsches and Aston Martins with taxpayer funded bonuses…

PaulH

It’s always easy to promise paradise. After all, it’s just over the horizon and only 10 or 40 years away. Today’s problems will surely seem trivial by then. LOL

Steven Hill

Rollerball

This is the most pathetic speech ever made by an American President in the last 100 years in my opinion. And believe me, that includes a ton of terrible speeches. Obama completely ignores the vagaries of the models, he completely ignores the failure of the predictions for both “storms” and temperature claims. Instead, it is a conclusion drawn from data that is contradictory and inconclusive. In addition, notwithstanding these facts, he makes a speech pledging more “bailout” for other countries which will accelerate the bankruptcy of his own country.
And yet some would refer to him as a patriot. I don’t think so.

michel

Yes, this is quite dangerous. It is going to blow up, and it will take sensible, moderate environmentalism with it, and we will all lose heavily from that.

tim c

This is just another way for him to push for global governance and the lowering of the American standard of living .Facts mean nothing to a progressive.

Adam from Kansas

Apparently it may be a sign that people think climate change isn’t the apocalyptic threat it’s made out to be.
Could be people are starting to understand how extra CO2 is good for the biosphere and that it can’t have too much warming effect at the current level.
Perhaps people are noticing the ice is starting to increase, hurricanes aren’t increasing in number and strength, and temps. not consistant with a coming thermal apocalypse.
When it comes to climate and such. We’re at that stage again where it seems solar cycle 24 will start up (or go into another long quiet spell like last time), and TAO is showing some stronger positive anomalies at the right edge of their chart despite Unisys showing the ‘non’ Nino still stagnant.

“On shrinking islands, families are already being forced to flee their homes as climate refugees.”
Sea level has risen about an inch in the last couple of decades. If an inch causes their home to be uninhabitable, what did they do they do when it was stormy?

George E. Smith

Well I actually heard the beginning of his speech on the radio this morming; and I can alwasy tell when the BS is erupting. The man speaks with the most affected speech delivery, when he is just mouthing nonsense; the way he gets his esses tied up in his tongue you ust know it is fake to the core.
A recent poll of yuppies who stated that they voted for this man for President of the United States, and though he is doing a good job also revealed when given a multiple choice quiz (four choices) of well known Obamaisms, revealed that these people knew absolutely nothing about him, and were quite unaware of highly controversial positions he has publicly taken.
So we live in a country run by idiots; but idiots who were voted into power by their peer idiots.
And like some tyrants of the past; who wrote books about what they planned to inflict on humanity once they achieved the power to do it; this one also wrote books laying out his intentions; yet people voted for him anyhow.
And too late, they may yet read his books; to find out in arrears what they should have known up front.
Seems like Jim Jones had a similar unfortunate bunch of followers.

Russ R.

“Climate change ranks dead last in importance.”
As it should. The public understands the difference between a real problem, and a possible problem.
How about we link the amount of effort, we devote to reducing our GHG emission, with the actual temperature? The fact that this is not discussed tells me more about the “experts”, than all the rhetoric they have produced.
So far, we have it about right. Study it, talk about it, and when we find the need to act, we act. We have a long way to go, before there is any need to act.

K-Bob

“Later this week, I will work with my colleagues at the G20 to phase out fossil fuel subsidies so that we can better address our climate challenge.”
Is anyone aware of what these subsidies are? Helping poor people pay their electric bills?

Mr Lynn

“Carbon pollution”!!
One abject falsehood after another, and at the root of it all:
“Carbon pollution”!
Time to shout from the rooftops,
“CO2 IS GOOD FOR PLANTS, GOOD FOR THE EARTH, AND GOOD FOR YOU!”
/Mr Lynn

John Silver

A second civil war brewing, eh?

Manfred

“everybody wants to be useful”
(quote Thomas the Tank Engine)

With the Dot.Com bust, the subprime/real-estate bust, “Cap and Trade” is the next big scam. Hold on to your wallets.

Pofarmer

Is Barack Hussein possibly jumping a shark here?
EVERYTHING can’t be a catastrophe caused by somebody else.

myrick

So he truly has the arrogance to think that we can “control” the climate. Or need to.

MartinGAtkins

And already, we know that the recent drop in overall U.S. emissions is due in part to steps that promote greater efficiency and greater use of renewable energy.
Earth to Obama….. It’s the economy stupid.

Stephen Brown

“And already, we know that the recent drop in overall U.S. emissions is due in part to steps that promote greater efficiency and greater use of renewable energy.”
And it’s a very SMALL part. Almost all of the reduction in what are smeared as ’emissions’ comes from factories and businesses which have shut up shop and closed because of the awful state of the economy.
On an entirely different tangent, can ANYONE name just one coastal village anywhere in the world which has had to have been abandoned solely because of sea level rise?

Stoic

Mr Obama, you are a great man but you have been very poorly advised. Carbon dioxide is not pollution. It is essential to life.

Don B

President Obama failed to state that one of the most horrific dangers of climate change is that Oregon could be invaded by tamarisk. 🙂
http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2009/09/climate_change_could_mean_more.html

whitty

“Rising sea levels threaten every coastline. More powerful storms and floods threaten every continent. More frequent drought and crop failures breed hunger and conflict in places where hunger and conflict already thrive. On shrinking islands, families are already being forced to flee their homes as climate refugees.”
Uhm, examples, please? Oh, it’s those “model predictions?” Fine then.
Gotta love the self-loathing liberals.

>We’re making our government’s largest ever investment in renewable energy — an investment aimed at doubling the generating capacity from wind and other renewable resources in three years.<
Last time I checked, 2 x 0 = 0
Well, it is a close analogy. Wind and solar power account for 0.00167 of the energy needs of the USA (one sixth of one percent per Keith Rattie, CEO of Questar Corp.). Doesn't amount to a hill of beans considering energy demands in the USA were increasing at 1-2% a year prior to the current recession.

No, you can´t .

Ron de Haan

Health and Climate Bill, onslaught of oppression!
Nice to hear that from an US politician.
http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/59759-rohrabacher-health-and-climate-bills-threaten-onslaught-of-oppression

Jeff in Ctown (Canada)

Propaganda!
I hope he fails to pass his green laws, because Canada (is just going to follow his lead.

Richard deSousa

Stupid speech. It will be even stupider when Washington DC and the entire N.E. gets snow bound this entire winter. With those volcanoes erupting in Kamkatcha and Alaska, it’s coming.

Retired Engineer

Bad Science! (and other snippable thoughts)

Don B

I should have explained the joke, about “Oregon could be invaded by tamarisk,” (13:25:49) which is salt cedar, which thrives in drought conditions. Contrary to some claims, the Pacific Northwest snowpack has been growing in recent years.
http://www.iceagenow.com/Pacific_Northwest_Snow_Pack-the_True_Story.htm
Obama will never hear about increasing snowpacks from the people he has appointed to shield him from these inconvenient truths.

H.R.

“[…] We know that our planet’s future depends on a global commitment to permanently reduce greenhouse gas pollution. […]”
Who’s “we”? Did the President have a mouse in his pocket?
From the polls there doesn’t seem to be a lot of “we” out there.

L

Mr. O’s rapidly growing probiscis is becoming a threat to other people’s eyes!

Mike T

The problem with the public having such little interest in Climate Change is that the politicians can get away with doing almost anything they like and that same public wont realise how they are being fleeced from all angles. Lack of interest means lack of knowledge – no listening to any discussion or arguments against government proposals.

“The journey is hard. And we don’t have much time left to make it.”
Is that the “journey” to end global warming? Or is it the “journey” to end climate change?
If he’s talking about ending global warming, we already ran out of time 5-10 years ago when the globe stopped warming… But we’ll get another shot at ending global warming when the PDO switches positive again in about 25-30 years.
If he’s talking about ending climate change, his delusions of grandeur syndrome has worsened.

TERRY46

Now this makes since of importance.Dead last and were going to spent billions with a CAPITAL B. on something that is nothing more than A cycle.Where is the outrage .When Presient Bush was in the White House all we heard was how we could use the money being spent on the war in Iraq to help the people in the U.S. Now Obama is spending it faster than they can print it and were still in Iraq and were going to send more troops,40000, to AfghanIstan and the media says nothing.I thought Obama was going to bring the troops home???

JC

The final sentence says it all.
“and a future that is worthy of our children.”
Whenever a politician says it’s “for the children” grab your wallet and run for cover.

Dr A Burns

Climate change is a wonderful issue for politicians because it can be used to gain support from both greenies, industry and the public simply by a new tax system.
New taxes are politically expedient for politicians. For example, the ignorant Australian masses even voted in a new government when we were promised a new tax … the GST (Goods and Services). The masses are easily convinced without having to rely on science or logic. The best motivator of all, is to use fear.
Australia has lost 70% of its natural vegetation by deforestation and land clearing. It is the world’s leader in species loss. However addressing these critical issues is politically difficult. It is far easier for politicians to divert attention to nonsensical issues such as AGW … and to promise us more taxes, that will do nothing for the environment.