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Thursday, January 31, 2013

What Can Obama Actually Do About Climate Change?

President Barack Obama highlighted climate change during his second inaugural address on Jan. 21, 2013. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

President Barack Obama highlighted climate change during his second inaugural address on Jan. 21, 2013. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

President Barack Obama didn’t talk much about climate change during his first term, but he’s been getting more vocal about it lately.

He talked about it when he accepted his party’s nomination for a second time:

“Climate change is not a hoax. more droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. they are a threat to our children’s future. and in this election you can do something about it.”

He answered a question about it at his first news conference after his November win:

“I am a firm believer that climate change is real, that it is impacted by human behavior and carbon emissions. And as a consequence, I think we’ve got an obligation to future generations to do something about it.”

And he highlighted it in his second inaugural address:

“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”

Washington Post environmental reporter Juliet Eilperin writes that in the president’s inaugural address, he framed climate change more as a moral issue than an economic or national security one.

But with a stagnant economy and a divided Congress, what – if anything – can Obama actually do about it?


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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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