Guest essay by Eric Worrall
President Obama visited Yosemite National Park via helicopter, to demand an end to people paying “lip service” to natural beauty and the climate crisis.
Obama at Yosemite attacks ‘lip service’ to natural beauty amid climate inaction
Barack Obama warned on Saturday that climate change could ravage many of America’s vaunted national parks, criticizing political opponents who “pay lip service” to areas of natural beauty while opposing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
During a visit to Yosemite national park, Obama said climate change was “no longer a threat, it’s a reality”. The first sitting president to visit Yosemite since John F Kennedy in 1962 said the famed glacial valley was already experiencing changes due to rising temperatures.
“Here in Yosemite, meadows are drying up, bird ranges are shifting farther northward, mammals are being forced further upslope,” Obama said. “Yosemite’s famous glacier, once a mile wide, is almost gone. We are also facing longer, more expensive wildfire seasons.
“Rising temperatures could mean no more glaciers in Glacier national park, no more Joshua trees in Joshua Tree national park. Rising seas can destroy vital ecosystems in the Everglades and at some point could even threaten icons like the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. That’s not the America I want to pass on to the next generation.”
Obama said: “We can’t treat it like it’s someone else’s problem, it shouldn’t lead to careless suggestions that we don’t get serious about carbon emissions or that we scrap an international treaty that we spent years putting together to deal with this.
Obama’s visit to Yosemite via helicopter caused major congestion in a park already heaving with summer visitors. Yosemite advised people to enter the park either before 8am or after 6pm to avoid the worst of the disruption. All parking, trails and climbing routes in the Lower Yosemite Falls area were shut down to allow Obama, wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia to do some hiking.
I mean, seriously? When President Obama demands that we can’t treat climate like someone elses problem, he clearly doesn’t include himself as part of that “we”.
I will start believing President Obama thinks climate is a serious issue, when he finds a way to burn less than a month of my fossil fuel budget, on a single helicopter trip to give a climate speech which demands an end to “lip service”.