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The President: Thank you, Georgetown!
Everybody, please be seated.
And my first announcement today is that you should all take off
your jackets.
I'm going to do the same.
It's not that sexy, now.
It is good to be back on campus,
and it is a great privilege to speak from the steps of this
historic hall that welcomed Presidents going back
to George Washington.
I want to thank your President, President DeGioia,
who's here today.
I want to thank him for hosting us.
I want to thank the many members of my Cabinet
and my administration.
I want to thank Leader Pelosi and the members of Congress
who are here.
We are very grateful for their support.
And I want to say thank you to the Hoyas in the house for
having me back.
It was important for me to speak directly to your
generation, because the decisions that we make now and
in the years ahead will have a profound impact on the world
that all of you inherit.
On Christmas Eve, 1968, the astronauts of Apollo 8 did a
live broadcast from lunar orbit.
So Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, William Anders -- the first
humans to orbit the moon -- described what they saw,
and they read Scripture from the Book of Genesis to the rest
of us back here.
And later that night, they took a photo that would change
the way we see and think about our world.
It was an image of Earth -- beautiful; breathtaking;
a glowing marble of blue oceans, and green forests,
and brown mountains brushed with white clouds,
rising over the surface of the moon.
And while the sight of our planet from space might seem
routine today, imagine what it looked like to those of us
seeing our home, our planet, for the first time.
Imagine what it looked like to children like me.
Even the astronauts were amazed.
"It makes you realize," Lovell would say,
"just what you have back there on Earth."
And around the same time we began exploring space,
scientists were studying changes taking place
in the Earth's atmosphere.
Now, scientists had known since the 1800s that greenhouse gases
like carbon dioxide trap heat, and that burning fossil fuels
release those gases into the air.
That wasn't news.
But in the late 1950s, the National Weather Service began
measuring the levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere,
with the worry that rising levels might someday disrupt the
fragile balance that makes our planet so hospitable.
And what they've found, year after year,
is that the levels of carbon pollution in our atmosphere have
increased dramatically.
That science, accumulated and reviewed over decades,
tells us that our planet is changing in ways that will have
profound impacts on all of humankind.
The 12 warmest years in recorded history have all come
in the last 15 years.
Last year, temperatures in some areas of the ocean reached
record highs, and ice in the Arctic shrank to its smallest
size on record -- faster than most models had
predicted it would.
These are facts.
Now, we know that no single weather event is caused solely
by climate change.
Droughts and fires and floods, they go back to ancient times.
But we also know that in a world that's warmer than it used to
be, all weather events are affected by a warming planet.
The fact that sea level in New York, in New York Harbor,
are now a foot higher than a century ago -- that didn't cause
Hurricane Sandy, but it certainly contributed to the
destruction that left large parts of our mightiest city
dark and underwater.
The potential impacts go beyond rising sea levels.
Here at home, 2012 was the warmest year in our history.
Midwest farms were parched by the worst drought since the Dust
Bowl, and then drenched by the wettest spring on record.
Western wildfires scorched an area larger than
the state of Maryland.
Just last week, a heat wave in Alaska shot temperatures
into the 90s.
And we know that the costs of these events can be measured in
lost lives and lost livelihoods, lost homes, lost businesses,
hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency services
and disaster relief.
In fact, those who are already feeling the effects of climate
change don't have time to deny it -- they're busy
dealing with it.
Firefighters are braving longer wildfire seasons,
and states and federal governments have to figure out
how to budget for that.
I had to sit on a meeting with the Department of Interior and
Agriculture and some of the rest of my team just to figure out
how we're going to pay for more and more expensive fire seasons.
Farmers see crops wilted one year, washed away the next;
and the higher food prices get passed on to you,
the American consumer.
Mountain communities worry about what smaller snowpacks will mean
for tourism -- and then, families at the bottom of the
mountains wonder what it will mean for their drinking water.
Americans across the country are already paying the price of
inaction in insurance premiums, state and local taxes,
and the costs of rebuilding and disaster relief.
So the question is not whether we need to act.
The overwhelming judgment of science -- of chemistry and
physics and millions of measurements -- has put all
that to rest.
Ninety-seven percent of scientists, including,
by the way, some who originally disputed the data,
have now put that to rest.
They've acknowledged the planet is warming and human activity
is contributing to it.
So the question now is whether we will have the courage to act
before it's too late.
And how we answer will have a profound impact on the world
that we leave behind not just to you,
but to your children and to your grandchildren.
As a President, as a father, and as an American,
I'm here to say we need to act.
I refuse to condemn your generation and future
generations to a planet that's beyond fixing.
And that's why, today, I'm announcing a new national
climate action plan, and I'm here to enlist your generation's
help in keeping the United States of America a leader --
a global leader -- in the fight against climate change.
This plan builds on progress that we've already made.
Last year, I took office -- the year that I took office,
my administration pledged to reduce America's greenhouse gas
emissions by about 17 percent from their 2005 levels by the
end of this decade.
And we rolled up our sleeves and we got to work.
We doubled the electricity we generated from wind and the sun.
We doubled the mileage our cars will get on a gallon of gas by
the middle of the next decade.
Here at Georgetown, I unveiled my strategy
for a secure energy future.
And thanks to the ingenuity of our businesses,
we're starting to produce much more of our own energy.
We're building the first nuclear power plants in more than three
decades -- in Georgia and South Carolina.
For the first time in 18 years, America is poised to produce
more of our own oil than we buy from other nations.
And today, we produce more natural gas than anybody else.
So we're producing energy.
And these advances have grown our economy,
they've created new jobs, they can't be shipped overseas --
and, by the way, they've also helped drive our carbon
pollution to its lowest levels in nearly 20 years.
Since 2006, no country on Earth has reduced its total carbon
pollution by as much as the United States of America.
So it's a good start.
But the reason we're all here in the heat today is because we
know we've got more to do.
In my State of the Union address,
I urged Congress to come up with a bipartisan,
market-based solution to climate change,
like the one that Republican and Democratic senators worked on
together a few years ago.
And I still want to see that happen.
I'm willing to work with anyone to make that happen.
But this is a challenge that does not pause
for partisan gridlock.
It demands our attention now.
And this is my plan to meet it -- a plan to cut carbon
pollution; a plan to protect our country from the impacts of
climate change; and a plan to lead the world in a coordinated
assault on a changing climate.
This plan begins with cutting carbon pollution by
changing the way we use energy -- using less dirty energy,
using more clean energy, wasting less energy
throughout our economy.
Forty-three years ago, Congress passed a law called
the Clean Air Act of 1970.
It was a good law.
The reasoning behind it was simple: New technology can
protect our health by protecting the air we breathe
from harmful pollution.
And that law passed the Senate unanimously.
Think about that -- it passed the Senate unanimously.
It passed the House of Representatives 375 to 1.
I don't know who the one guy was -- I haven't looked that up.
You can barely get that many votes to name a post
office these days.
It was signed into law by a Republican President.
It was later strengthened by another Republican President.
This used to be a bipartisan issue.
Six years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that greenhouse gases are
pollutants covered by that same Clean Air Act.
And they required the Environmental Protection
Agency, the EPA, to determine whether they're a threat
to our health and welfare.
In 2009, the EPA determined that they are a threat to both our
health and our welfare in many different ways -- from dirtier
air to more common heat waves -- and, therefore,
subject to regulation.
Today, about 40 percent of America's carbon pollution comes
from our power plants.
But here's the thing: Right now, there are no federal limits to
the amount of carbon pollution that those plants can pump
into our air.
We limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury and
sulfur and arsenic in our air or our water,
but power plants can still dump unlimited amounts of carbon
pollution into the air for free.
That's not right, that's not safe, and it needs to stop.
So today, for the sake of our children,
and the health and safety of all Americans,
I'm directing the Environmental Protection Agency to put an end
to the limitless dumping of carbon pollution from our power
plants, and complete new pollution standards for both new
and existing power plants.
I'm also directing the EPA to develop these
standards in an open and transparent way,
to provide flexibility to different states with different
needs, and build on the leadership that many states,
and cities, and companies have already shown.
In fact, many power companies have already begun modernizing
their plants, and creating new jobs in the process.
Others have shifted to burning cleaner natural gas instead
of dirtier fuel sources.
Nearly a dozen states have already implemented or are
implementing their own market-based programs
to reduce carbon pollution.
More than 25 have set energy efficiency targets.
More than 35 have set renewable energy targets.
Over 1,000 mayors have signed agreements
to cut carbon pollution.
So the idea of setting higher pollution standards for our
power plants is not new.
It's just time for Washington to catch up with the rest
of the country.
And that's what we intend to do.
Now, what you'll hear from the special interests and
their allies in Congress is that this will kill jobs and crush
the economy, and basically end American free enterprise
as we know it.
And the reason I know you'll hear those things is because
that's what they said every time America sets clear rules and
better standards for our air and our water
and our children's health.
And every time, they've been wrong.
For example, in 1970, when we decided through the Clean Air
Act to do something about the smog that was choking our cities
-- and, by the way, most young people here aren't old enough to
remember what it was like, but when I was going to school in
1979-1980 in Los Angeles, there were days where folks
couldn't go outside.
And the sunsets were spectacular because of all the pollution
in the air.
But at the time when we passed the Clean Air Act to try to get
rid of some of this smog, some of the same doomsayers were
saying new pollution standards will decimate the auto industry.
Guess what -- it didn't happen.
Our air got cleaner.
In 1990, when we decided to do something about acid rain,
they said our electricity bills would go up,
the lights would go off, businesses around the country
would suffer -- I quote -- "a quiet death."
None of it happened, except we cut acid rain dramatically.
See, the problem with all these tired excuses for inaction is
that it suggests a fundamental lack of faith in American
business and American ingenuity.
These critics seem to think that when we ask our
businesses to innovate and reduce pollution and lead,
they can't or they won't do it.
They'll just kind of give up and quit.
But in America, we know that's not true.
Look at our history.
When we restricted cancer-causing chemicals in
plastics and leaded fuel in our cars,
it didn't end the plastics industry or the oil industry.
American chemists came up with better substitutes.
When we phased out CFCs -- the gases that were depleting the
ozone layer -- it didn't kill off refrigerators or
air-conditioners or deodorant.
American workers and businesses figured out how to do
it better without harming the environment as much.
The fuel standards that we put in place just a few years ago
didn't cripple automakers.
The American auto industry retooled, and today,
our automakers are selling the best cars in the world at a
faster rate than they have in five years -- with more hybrid,
more plug-in, more fuel-efficient cars for
everybody to choose from.
So the point is, if you look at our history,
don't bet against American industry.
Don't bet against American workers.
Don't tell folks that we have to choose between the health of our
children or the health of our economy.
The old rules may say we can't protect our
environment and promote economic growth at the same time,
but in America, we've always used new technologies -- we've
used science; we've used research and development and
discovery to make the old rules obsolete.
Today, we use more clean energy -- more renewables and natural
gas -- which is supporting hundreds of thousands
of good jobs.
We waste less energy, which saves you money at the pump and
in your pocketbooks.
And guess what -- our economy is 60 percent bigger than it was 20
years ago, while our carbon emissions are roughly back to
where they were 20 years ago.
So, obviously, we can figure this out.
It's not an either/or; it's a both/and.
We've got to look after our children;
we have to look after our future;
and we have to grow the economy and create jobs.
We can do all of that as long as we don't fear the future;
instead we seize it.
And, by the way, don't take my word for it --
recently, more than 500 businesses,
including giants like GM and Nike,
issued a Climate Declaration, calling action on climate change
"one of the great economic opportunities
of the 21st century."
Walmart is working to cut its carbon pollution by 20 percent
and transition completely to renewable energy.
Walmart deserves a cheer for that.
But think about it.
Would the biggest company, the biggest retailer in America --
would they really do that if it weren't good for business,
if it weren't good for their shareholders?
A low-carbon, clean energy economy can be an engine of
growth for decades to come.
And I want America to build that engine.
I want America to build that future -- right here in the
United States of America.
That's our task.
Now, one thing I want to make sure everybody
understands -- this does not mean that we're going to
suddenly stop producing fossil fuels.
Our economy wouldn't run very well if it did.
And transitioning to a clean energy economy takes time.
But when the doomsayers trot out the old warnings that these
ambitions will somehow hurt our energy supply,
just remind them that America produced more oil than
we have in 15 years.
What is true is that we can't just drill our way out of the
energy and climate challenge that we face.
That's not possible.
I put forward in the past an all-of-the-above energy
strategy, but our energy strategy must be about more than
just producing more oil.
And, by the way, it's certainly got to be about more than just
building one pipeline.
Now, I know there's been, for example,
a lot of controversy surrounding the proposal to build a
pipeline, the Keystone pipeline, that would carry oil from
Canadian tar sands down to refineries in the Gulf.
And the State Department is going through the final stages
of evaluating the proposal.
That's how it's always been done.
But I do want to be clear: Allowing the Keystone pipeline
to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our
nation's interest.
And our national interest will be served only if this project
does not significantly exacerbate the problem
of carbon pollution.
The net effects of the pipeline's impact on our
climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether
this project is allowed to go forward.
It's relevant.
Now, even as we're producing more domestic oil,
we're also producing more cleaner-burning natural gas than
any other country on Earth.
And, again, sometimes there are disputes about natural gas,
but let me say this: We should strengthen our position as the
top natural gas producer because,
in the medium term at least, it not only can provide safe,
cheap power, but it can also help reduce
our carbon emissions.
Federally supported technology has helped our businesses drill
more effectively and extract more gas.
And now, we'll keep working with the industry to make drilling
safer and cleaner, to make sure that we're not seeing methane
emissions, and to put people to work modernizing our natural gas
infrastructure so that we can power more homes and businesses
with cleaner energy.
The bottom line is natural gas is creating jobs.
It's lowering many families' heat and power bills.
And it's the transition fuel that can power our economy with
less carbon pollution even as our businesses work to develop
and then deploy more of the technology required for the even
cleaner energy economy of the future.
And that brings me to the second way that we're going to reduce
carbon pollution -- by using more clean energy.
Over the past four years, we've doubled the electricity that we
generate from zero-carbon wind and solar power.
And that means jobs -- jobs manufacturing the wind
turbines that now generate enough electricity to power
nearly 15 million homes; jobs installing the solar panels that
now generate more than four times the power at less cost
than just a few years ago.
I know some Republicans in Washington dismiss these jobs,
but those who do need to call home -- because 75 percent of
all wind energy in this country is generated
in Republican districts.
And that may explain why last year,
Republican governors in Kansas and Oklahoma and Iowa -- Iowa,
by the way, a state that harnesses almost 25 percent of
its electricity from the wind -- helped us in the fight to extend
tax credits for wind energy manufacturers and producers.
Tens of thousands good jobs were on the line,
and those jobs were worth the fight.
And countries like China and Germany are going all in
in the race for clean energy.
I believe Americans build things better than anybody else.
I want America to win that race, but we can't win it if
we're not in it.
So the plan I'm announcing today will help us
double again our energy from wind and sun.
Today, I'm directing the Interior Department to green
light enough private, renewable energy capacity on public lands
to power more than 6 million homes by 2020.
The Department of Defense -- the biggest energy
consumer in America -- will install 3 gigawatts of renewable
power on its bases, generating about the same amount of
electricity each year as you'd get from burning 3 million
tons of coal.
And because billions of your tax dollars continue to
still subsidize some of the most profitable corporations in the
history of the world, my budget once again calls for Congress to
end the tax breaks for big oil companies,
and invest in the clean-energy companies that will
fuel our future.
Now, the third way to reduce carbon pollution is to
waste less energy -- in our cars, our homes, our businesses.
The fuel standards we set over the past few years mean that by
the middle of the next decade, the cars and trucks we buy will
go twice as far on a gallon of gas.
That means you'll have to fill up half as often;
we'll all reduce carbon pollution.
And we built on that success by setting the first-ever standards
for heavy-duty trucks and buses and vans.
And in the coming months, we'll partner with truck makers to do
it again for the next generation of vehicles.
Meanwhile, the energy we use in our homes and our businesses and
our factories, our schools, our hospitals -- that's responsible
for about one-third of our greenhouse gases.
The good news is simple upgrades don't just cut that pollution;
they put people to work -- manufacturing and installing
smarter lights and windows and sensors and appliances.
And the savings show up in our electricity bills
every month -- forever.
That's why we've set new energy standards for appliances like
refrigerators and dishwashers.
And today, our businesses are building better ones that will
also cut carbon pollution and cut consumers' electricity bills
by hundreds of billions of dollars.
That means, by the way, that our federal government also has
to lead by example.
I'm proud that federal agencies have reduced their greenhouse
gas emissions by more than 15 percent since I took office.
But we can do even better than that.
So today, I'm setting a new goal: Your federal government
will consume 20 percent of its electricity from renewable
sources within the next seven years.
We are going to set that goal.
We'll also encourage private capital to get off the
sidelines and get into these energy-saving investments.
And by the end of the next decade,
these combined efficiency standards for appliances and
federal buildings will reduce carbon pollution by at least
three billion tons.
That's an amount equal to what our entire energy sector emits
in nearly half a year.
So I know these standards don't sound all that sexy,
but think of it this way: That's the equivalent of planting 7.6
billion trees and letting them grow for 10 years -- all while
doing the dishes.
It is a great deal and we need to be doing it.
So using less dirty energy,
transitioning to cleaner sources of energy,
wasting less energy through our economy is where we need to go.
And this plan will get us there faster.
But I want to be honest -- this will not get us there overnight.
The hard truth is carbon pollution has built up in our
atmosphere for decades now.
And even if we Americans do our part,
the planet will slowly keep warming for some time to come.
The seas will slowly keep rising and storms will get more severe,
based on the science.
It's like tapping the brakes of a car before you come to a
complete stop and then can shift into reverse.
It's going to take time for carbon emissions to stabilize.
So in the meantime, we're going to need to get prepared.
And that's why this plan will also protect critical sectors of
our economy and prepare the United States for the impacts of
climate change that we cannot avoid.
States and cities across the country are already taking it
upon themselves to get ready.
Miami Beach is hardening its water supply
against seeping saltwater.
We're partnering with the state of Florida to restore Florida's
natural clean water delivery system -- the Everglades.
The overwhelmingly Republican legislature in Texas voted to
spend money on a new water development bank as a
long-running drought cost jobs and forced a town to truck in
water from the outside.
New York City is fortifying its 520 miles of coastline as an
insurance policy against more frequent and costly storms.
And what we've learned from Hurricane Sandy and other
disasters is that we've got to build smarter,
more resilient infrastructure that can protect our homes
and businesses, and withstand more powerful storms.
That means stronger seawalls, natural barriers,
hardened power grids, hardened water systems,
hardened fuel supplies.
So the budget I sent Congress includes funding to support
communities that build these projects,
and this plan directs federal agencies to make sure that any
new project funded with taxpayer dollars is built to withstand
increased flood risks.
And we'll partner with communities seeking help to
prepare for droughts and floods, reduce the risk of wildfires,
protect the dunes and wetlands that pull double duty as green
space and as natural storm barriers.
And we'll also open our climate data and NASA climate imagery to
the public, to make sure that cities and states assess risk
under different climate scenarios,
so that we don't waste money building structures that don't
withstand the next storm.
So that's what my administration will do to support the work
already underway across America, not only to cut carbon
pollution, but also to protect ourselves from climate change.
But as I think everybody here understands,
no nation can solve this challenge alone -- not even one
as powerful as ours.
And that's why the final part of our plan calls on America to
lead -- lead international efforts to combat
a changing climate.
And make no mistake -- the world still looks
to America to lead.
When I spoke to young people in Turkey a few years ago,
the first question I got wasn't about the challenges that part
of the world faces.
It was about the climate challenge that we all face,
and America's role in addressing it.
And it was a fair question, because as the world's largest
economy and second-largest carbon emitter,
as a country with unsurpassed ability to drive innovation and
scientific breakthroughs, as the country that people around the
world continue to look to in times of crisis,
we've got a vital role to play.
We can't stand on the sidelines.
We've got a unique responsibility.
And the steps that I've outlined today prove that we're willing
to meet that responsibility.
Though all America's carbon pollution fell last year,
global carbon pollution rose to a record high.
That's a problem.
Developing countries are using more and more energy,
and tens of millions of people entering a global middle class
naturally want to buy cars and air-conditioners of their own,
just like us.
Can't blame them for that.
And when you have conversations with poor countries,
they'll say, well, you went through these stages of
development -- why can't we?
But what we also have to recognize is these same
countries are also more vulnerable to the effects of
climate change than we are.
They don't just have as much to lose,
they probably have more to lose.
Developing nations with some of the fastest-rising levels of
carbon pollution are going to have to take action to meet this
challenge alongside us.
They're watching what we do, but we've got to make sure that
they're stepping up to the plate as well.
We compete for business with them,
but we also share a planet.
And we have to all shoulder the responsibility for keeping the
planet habitable, or we're going to suffer the
consequences -- together.
So to help more countries transitioning to cleaner sources
of energy and to help them do it faster,
we're going to partner with our private sector to apply private
sector technological know-how in countries that transition
to natural gas.
We've mobilized billions of dollars in private capital
for clean energy projects around the world.
Today, I'm calling for an end of public financing for new coal
plants overseas -- (applause) -- unless they deploy
carbon-capture technologies, or there's no other viable way for
the poorest countries to generate electricity.
And I urge other countries to join this effort.
And I'm directing my administration to launch
negotiations toward global free trade in environmental goods and
services, including clean energy technology,
to help more countries skip past the dirty phase of development
and join a global low-carbon economy.
They don't have to repeat all the same mistakes that we made.
We've also intensified our climate
cooperation with major emerging economies like India and Brazil,
and China -- the world's largest emitter.
So, for example, earlier this month,
President Xi of China and I reached an important agreement
to jointly phase down our production and consumption of
dangerous hydrofluorocarbons, and we intend to take more steps
together in the months to come.
It will make a difference.
It's a significant step in the reduction of carbon emissions.
And finally, my administration will redouble our
efforts to engage our international partners in
reaching a new global agreement to reduce carbon pollution
through concrete action.
Four years ago, in Copenhagen,
every major country agreed, for the first time,
to limit carbon pollution by 2020.
Two years ago, we decided to forge a new agreement beyond
2020 that would apply to all countries,
not just developed countries.
What we need is an agreement that's ambitious -- because
that's what the scale of the challenge demands.
We need an inclusive agreement -- because every country has
to play its part.
And we need an agreement that's flexible -- because different
nations have different needs.
And if we can come together and get this right,
we can define a sustainable future for your generation.
So that's my plan.
The actions I've announced today should send a
strong signal to the world that America intends to take bold
action to reduce carbon pollution.
We will continue to lead by the power of our example,
because that's what the United States of America
has always done.
I am convinced this is the fight America can, and will,
lead in the 21st century.
And I'm convinced this is a fight that America must lead.
But it will require all of us to do our part.
We'll need scientists to design new fuels,
and we'll need farmers to grow new fuels.
We'll need engineers to devise new technologies,
and we'll need businesses to make and sell
those technologies.
We'll need workers to operate assembly lines that hum with
high-tech, zero-carbon components,
but we'll also need builders to hammer into place the
foundations for a new clean energy era.
We're going to need to give special care to people and
communities that are unsettled by this transition -- not just
here in the United States but around the world.
And those of us in positions of responsibility,
we'll need to be less concerned with the judgment of special
interests and well-connected donors,
and more concerned with the judgment of posterity.
Because you and your children,
and your children's children, will have to live with the
consequences of our decisions.
As I said before, climate change has become a partisan issue,
but it hasn't always been.
It wasn't that long ago that Republicans led the way on new
and innovative policies to tackle these issues.
Richard Nixon opened the EPA.
George H.W. Bush declared -- first U.S. President
to declare -- "human activities are changing the
atmosphere in unexpected and unprecedented ways."
Someone who never shies away from a challenge, John McCain,
introduced a market-based cap-and-trade bill
to slow carbon pollution.
The woman that I've chosen to head up the EPA, Gina McCarthy,
she's worked -- (applause) -- she's terrific.
Gina has worked for the EPA in my administration,
but she's also worked for five Republican governors.
She's got a long track record of working with industry and
business leaders to forge common-sense solutions.
Unfortunately, she's being held up in the Senate.
She's been held up for months, forced to jump through hoops no
Cabinet nominee should ever have to -- not because she lacks
qualifications, but because there are too many in the
Republican Party right now who think that the Environmental
Protection Agency has no business protecting our
environment from carbon pollution.
The Senate should confirm her without any further
obstruction or delay.
But more broadly, we've got to move beyond
partisan politics on this issue.
I want to be clear -- I am willing to work with anybody --
Republicans, Democrats, independents, libertarians,
greens -- anybody -- to combat this threat on behalf
of our kids.
I am open to all sorts of new ideas, maybe better ideas,
to make sure that we deal with climate change in a way that
promotes jobs and growth.
Nobody has a monopoly on what is a very hard problem,
but I don't have much patience for anyone who denies that this
challenge is real.
We don't have time for a meeting of
the Flat Earth Society.
Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel
safer, but it's not going to protect you from
the coming storm.
And ultimately, we will be judged as a people,
and as a society, and as a country on where
we go from here.
Our founders believed that those of us in positions of power are
elected not just to serve as custodians of the present,
but as caretakers of the future.
And they charged us to make decisions with an eye on a
longer horizon than the arc of our own political careers.
That's what the American people expect.
That's what they deserve.
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?
And I want to be able to say, yes, we did.
Don't you want that?
Americans are not a people who look backwards;
we're a people who look forward.
We're not a people who fear what the future holds; we shape it.
What we need in this fight are citizens who will stand up,
and speak up, and compel us to do what this moment demands.
Understand this is not just a job for politicians.
So I'm going to need all of you to educate your classmates,
your colleagues, your parents, your friends.
Tell them what's at stake.
Speak up at town halls, church groups, PTA meetings.
Push back on misinformation.
Speak up for the facts.
Broaden the circle of those who are willing to stand up
for our future.
Convince those in power to reduce
our carbon pollution.
Push your own communities to adopt smarter practices.
Remind folks there's no contradiction between a sound
environment and strong economic growth.
And remind everyone who represents you at every level of
government that sheltering future generations against the
ravages of climate change is a prerequisite for your vote.
Make yourself heard on this issue.
I understand the politics will be tough.
The challenge we must accept will not reward us with a clear
moment of victory.
There's no gathering army to defeat.
There's no peace treaty to sign.
When President Kennedy said we'd go to the moon within the
decade, we knew we'd build a spaceship and we'd
meet the goal.
Our progress here will be measured differently -- in
crises averted, in a planet preserved.
But can we imagine a more worthy goal?
For while we may not live to see the full realization of our
ambition, we will have the satisfaction of knowing that the
world we leave to our children will be better off for
what we did.
"It makes you realize," that astronaut said all those years
ago, "just what you have back there on Earth."
And that image in the photograph,
that bright blue ball rising over the moon's surface,
containing everything we hold dear -- the laughter of
children, a quiet sunset, all the hopes and dreams of
posterity -- that's what's at stake.
That's what we're fighting for.
And if we remember that, I'm absolutely sure we'll succeed.
Thank you.
God bless you.
God bless the United States of America.


President Obama Speaks on Climate Change

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Kevin Chen 發佈於 2019 年 6 月 10 日
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