On June 25, 2013, a sweltering day in Washington D.C., President Obama unveiled his Climate Action Plan during at speech at Georgetown University. Years from now, will we look back at this event as a key milestone in the fight against climate change? I hope so.
The President’s Climate Action Plan
During his speech, President Obama stated science tells us “…the planet is warming and human activity is contributing to it”. He said we need to act now and shared his plan to fight climate change as well as live with the consequences. He gave an overview of the three main focus areas of his Climate Action Plan which are:
- Cut Carbon Pollution in America
- Prepare the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change
- Lead International Efforts to Address Global Climate Change
At the end of his remarks, the President summed up the challenge that lies ahead,
“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.”
The Bottom Line
While watching the speech live on the Internet, I felt proud to be an American and to hear the President of the United States go on the record stating climate change is a problem and that we must to do something about it.
Disappointingly, the bar seems to be set low, with drawn out time frames. 2020 and 2030 are a long time from now. Americans often seem to be at our best—our most innovative, collaborative, and competitive selves emerge—when we are told something is impossible or when our abilities are called into question. I believe we can do much, much more and there is no reason we can’t raise the bar ourselves.
Judge for Yourself
If you didn’t have an opportunity to see President Obama’s June 25, 2013, Climate Change speech live, take this opportunity to watch it via video or read the transcript.
- The White House – President Obama’s Plan to Fight Climate Change Infographic
- The White House – The President’s Climate Action Plan