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A New Presidential Term for Climate Change

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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President Obama’s second term has begun with a strong stance in support of a U.S. transition to a clean energy economy. In the second-term President’s inauguration speech yesterday, he zeroed in on climate change and its implications for future generations.  Weaving together themes from the U.S. Constitution and the 2009 carbon cap-and-trade debates, President Obama stated that:

“We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.

The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries, we must claim its promise. That’s how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure — our forests and waterways, our crop lands and snow-capped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.”

In the wake of last fall’s Superstorm Sandy, the President has already signaled to policymakers on Capitol Hill that climate legislation will be a top priority for his second term in office.

Note: Plugged In’s David Wogan has spent significant time discussing the climate change debate in the United States. To see these posts and add to the lively commenting going on there, go to:

  1. Weekend Reading: “What We Know About Climate Change” (link)
  2. It’s time to accept the facts about climate change and move on (link

President Obama being sworn into his second term in office

Photo Credit:

  1. Picture of Inauguration address by Farragutful and found with Creative Commons. Used under this license.
  2. Picture of President Obama being sworn in for his second term by White House photographer Pete Souza.  It exists in the public domain.
Melissa C. Lott About the Author: An engineer and researcher who works at the intersection of energy, environment, technology, and policy. Follow on Twitter @mclott.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. Crasher 5:17 pm 01/22/2013

    At least Obama is switched on and knows the reality of Climate change. Whether he will be allowed to implement any thing to start addressing the coming issues is another story. I hope for the world sake he is successful.

    Link to this

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