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Weekly Address: President Obama – Climate Change Can No Longer Be Ignored

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.


From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President spoke about his commitment to combatting the threat of climate change and to keeping ourselves and future generations safe. The effects of climate change can no longer be denied or ignored – 2014 was the planet’s warmest year recorded, and 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have happened this century.

Climate change poses risks to our national security, our economy, and our public health. The President has already taken historic steps to address climate change, but there’s more that the United States and the international community can do. That’s why next Wednesday, on Earth Day, in the latest part of his effort to call attention to and act on the threat of climate change, the President will visit the Florida Everglades and speak about the threat that climate change poses to our economy and to the world.

Transcript: Weekly Address: Climate Change Can No Longer Be Ignored

Hi everybody.  Wednesday is Earth Day, a day to appreciate and protect this precious planet we call home.  And today, there’s no greater threat to our planet than climate change.

2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record.  Fourteen of the 15 hottest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century.  This winter was cold in parts of our country – as some folks in Congress like to point out – but around the world, it was the warmest ever recorded.

And the fact that the climate is changing has very serious implications for the way we live now.  Stronger storms.  Deeper droughts.  Longer wildfire seasons.  The world’s top climate scientists are warning us that a changing climate already affects the air our kids breathe.  Last week, the Surgeon General and I spoke with public experts about how climate change is already affecting patients across the country.  The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security.

And on Earth Day, I’m going to visit the Florida Everglades to talk about the way that climate change threatens our economy.  The Everglades is one of the most special places in our country.  But it’s also one of the most fragile.  Rising sea levels are putting a national treasure – and an economic engine for the South Florida tourism industry – at risk.

So climate change can no longer be denied – or ignored.  The world is looking to the United States – to us – to lead.  And that’s what we’re doing.  We’re using more clean energy than ever before.  America is number one in wind power, and every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008.  We’re taking steps to waste less energy, with more fuel-efficient cars that save us money at the pump, and more energy-efficient buildings that save us money on our electricity bills.

So thanks in part to these actions, our carbon pollution has fallen by 10 percent since 2007, even as we’ve grown our economy and seen the longest streak of private-sector job growth on record. We’ve committed to doubling the pace at which we cut carbon pollution, and China has committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions.  And because the world’s two largest economies came together, there’s new hope that, with American leadership, this year, the world will finally reach an agreement to prevent the worst impacts of climate change before it’s too late.

This is an issue that’s bigger and longer-lasting than my presidency.  It’s about protecting our God-given natural wonders, and the good jobs that rely on them.  It’s about shielding our cities and our families from disaster and harm.  It’s about keeping our kids healthy and safe.  This is the only planet we’ve got.  And years from now, I want to be able to look our children and grandchildren in the eye and tell them that we did everything we could to protect it.

Thanks everybody, and have a great weekend.

Bolding added.



  1. And years from now, I want to be able to look our children and grandchildren in the eye and tell them that we did everything we could to protect it.

    Every day should be Earth Day.

  2. President Obama Holds a Town Hall with BlogHer and SheKnows

    This afternoon, President Obama traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina for a special town hall event, co-hosted with leading women’s sites BlogHer and She Knows. During the conversation, the President talked with working women about some of the issues they care the most about — such as paying for child care or sending their children to college.

    Dianna Jolly, a Charlotte resident who introduced the President at today’s event, wrote him a few months ago explaining how it’s growing more difficult for her just to get by. “As part of the middle class,” she said, “I know how it feels to work hard every day, and — even with a college education and a full-time job — find it harder and harder to make ends meet.”

    In his remarks and answers at today’s town hall, the President made clear that more hardworking and middle-class Americans deserve the chance to get ahead, and explained the steps that he’s taking to fix the problem.

    President Obama also highlighted the fact that it’s Tax Day, and explained how his proposed budget would cut taxes for 44 million working and middle-class Americans, including:

       – More than 5 million middle-class families who needs help paying for child care

       – More than 8 million families and students who need help paying for college

       – 30 million workers save for retirement

       – 13 million low-wage workers

    “That’s who our tax code should benefit. Working Americans who are out there struggling every day, doing the right thing, supporting their families and trying to get a leg up in this new economy.”

    — President Barack Obama


  3. Wisconsin Agency Bans Talk of Climate Change

    The ban approved Tuesday sharply divided elected officials overseeing the obscure Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, prompting the only Democrat on the three-person panel to say it symbolizes “a very dangerous trend” in state politics.

    The restriction, approved by a 2-1 vote, prevents 10 staff members at the BCPL from communicating about climate change, including about its potential impacts on 77,000 acres of state timberland. The board uses the income from it for public education projects.

    Employees are also required to notify the board’s three elected commissioners before answering email inquiries about global warming, and a reference on the board’s website to the effects of climbing temperatures on invasive forest species was recently deleted.

    The rule change was a whack at the executive secretary of the board, Tia Nelson, the daughter of Gaylord Nelson, and her pro-Earth speaking engagements and testimony before Congress. And to remind all you hippies and tree huggers that Wisconsin, in the hands of Republican statewide office holders, won’t listen to any of your whining!!!

    Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day back in 1970:

    The idea came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land.

    As a result, on the 22nd of April, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

    Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. “It was a gamble,” Gaylord recalled, “but it worked.”

    Gaylord Nelson was also the governor of Wisconsin from 1959 to 1963. He must be rolling over in his grave.

  4. From a presser with Italian Prime Minister Renzi

    President Obama: Let me just say this about Loretta Lynch.  We’ve actually seen some outbreaks of bipartisanship and common sense in Congress over the last couple of weeks.  Yesterday I signed the SGR fix that initiates not only some real reforms around how our health care system works, but expands insurance for children.  We just talked about what I think was at least a constructive process to resolve the question of congressional involvement in Iran.

    And yet, what we still have is this crazy situation where a woman who everybody agrees is qualified, who has gone after terrorists, who has worked with police officers to get gangs off the streets, who is trusted by the civil rights community and by police unions as being somebody who is fair and effective and a good manager — nobody suggests otherwise — who has been confirmed twice before by the United States Senate for one of the biggest law enforcement jobs in the country, has been now sitting there longer than the previous seven Attorney General nominees combined.  And there’s no reason for it.  Nobody can describe a reason for it beyond political gamesmanship in the Senate on an issue completely unrelated to her.

    This is the top law enforcement job in the country.  It’s my Attorney General who has to interact with his Italian counterparts, or her Italian counterparts, in dealing with counterterrorism issues, in dealing with Interpol, in dealing with our national security, in coordinating with our FBI.  What are we doing here?

    And I have to say that there are times where the dysfunction in the Senate just goes too far.  This is an example of it.  It’s gone too far.  Enough.  Enough.  Call Loretta Lynch for a vote.  Get her confirmed.  Put her in place.  Let her do her job.  This is embarrassing, a process like this.

  5. Brownback signs spectacularly punitive Kansas welfare bill

    Not satisfied with cratering his state’s economy, cutting education budgets and rescinding long-established job protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender workers, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday signed a punitive, intrusive and counterproductive measure placing wholly unnecessary restrictions on how Kansas relief recipients can spend their benefits.[…]

    It also places a $25 daily limit on ATM withdrawals using the debit cards issued to recipients under the state/federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program, which is what’s left of America’s welfare program. That renders the cards useless for major spending, such as paying the rent, but it does mean that users will pile up ATM fees at $1 per withdrawal, plus bank fees.

    Plus, since their is no $25 bill, the fee is actually on $20 making it possible for a $500 withdrawal for rent to cost the recipient $25.

    Brownback says “just get one of our non-existent Kansas jobs!”:

    “The primary focus of the bill is to get people back to work,” Brownback said, according to the Kansas City Star. “Because that’s where the real benefit is getting people off public assistance and back into the marketplace with the dignity and far more income there than the pittance that government gives them.”

    What makes this a sick joke is that Brownback’s policies have made jobs in Kansas even harder to come by, in comparison to the country as a whole. Federal figures released in January showed that Kansas job growth was 1.3% in 2014, a period encompassing draconian tax cuts that Brownback promised would turn Kansas into a turbocharged jobs machine. The national average was 2.3%. Neighboring Missouri, which didn’t slash taxes, was up 1.6%.

  6. Settlement reverses some cuts to Ohio early voting

    The deal, announced Friday morning between Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, and the ACLU, undoes some but not all of the damage to voting access caused by last year’s cuts. It restores one day of Sunday voting and adds weekday evening hours, but lets stand the elimination of a week when Ohioans had been able to register and vote all in one day.

    It also ensures that all counties will have the same voting schedule – something Husted had named as a priority and that voting rights advocates too say will reduce confusion.

    The restoration of the early voting is a BHD:

    Dale Ho, the director of the ACLU’s voting rights project, also considered it to be a move in the right direction. “Thousands of Ohioans rely on early voting opportunities as their only chance to cast a ballot in an election,” Ho said. “This is a victory for all those who know that a healthy democracy depends on the participation of its people.”

    But the elimination of same-day voter registration is a setback to ballot access in Ohio. In 2012, more than 90,000 Ohioans voted during that period, according to the ACLU’s complaint.*

    But it may be outweighed by the restored Sunday and evening hours. According to an expert analysis presented during the court fight over the cuts, only 4,211 of those 90,000 people who voted during Golden Week also registered during that time. The rest were already registered. Meanwhile, nearly 30,000 people voted on the final Sunday of early voting.  

  7. From AP

    “An emergency order requiring trains hauling crude oil and other flammable liquids to slow down as they pass through urban areas and a series of other steps to improve the safety were announced Friday by the Dept. of Transportation.

    The Obama administration has been under intense pressure from members of Congress as well as state and local officials to ensure the safety of oil trains that traverse the country after leaving the Bakken region of North Dakota. To get to refineries on the East and West coasts and the Gulf of Mexico, oil shipments travel through more than 400 counties, including major metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia, Seattle, Chicago, Newark and dozens of other cities.”

  8. Republicans Pass Tax Cuts for the Rich that Increase Deficit By $270 Billion

    It passed with a partisan 240-179 vote. […]

    Those 5,400 estates, or 0.2% of taxpayers, need this relief. These are desperate times; they might be forced to sell that second home.

    And you wouldn’t want them second homeless, would you? Then they’d be stuck with just one home, and what kind of monster does that to aristocrats?  They’re sensitive souls, the vast majority of whom don’t even work for an honest wage, but instead live off their investments and government handouts.

    Reuters notes that repealing the tax would boost the federal deficit by $269 billion over 10 years, so the deficit hawks are all over this unacceptable government handout, right? Right? Buller?

    Ed Kilgore noticed that only 7 Democrats defected and voted for this bill, good news as it differentiates the two parties

    … this means Democrats will have no problem making this an issue of “partisan differentiation.” If you think it will become impossible for people to “succeed” in this country if they cannot pass along unlimited wealth without taxation to their heirs, you are very likely a Republican, albeit of a kind who would make Teddy Roosevelt roll over in his grave. If you think a five-million-dollar-plus exemption-plus complete non-taxation of estates where there is a surviving spouse- is probably enough to accommodate family farms and small businesses, you are probably a Democrat.

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