During President Obama’s first term in office, observers have noted that the terms “global warming” and “climate change” have gradually been scrubbed from the president’s vocabulary. Since the start of the Republican primary, Obama has framed “green jobs” mostly in the context of the economy, and he has avoided any mention of climate change. He didn’t even mention it in his 2011 State of the Union address. But in a new interview with Rolling Stone, Obama expressed concern that we aren’t doing enough to combat global warming, and he predicted that climate change would become a bigger part of the presidential campaign.
In an interview with Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone, President Obama started to explain why climate change has been removed from national politics. “Part of the challenge over these past three years has been that people’s number-one priority is finding a job and paying the mortgage and dealing with high gas prices,” Obama said. “In that environment, it’s been easy for the other side to pour millions of dollars into a campaign to debunk climate-change science.” In other words, blame the Republicans.
And then he threw environmentalists a bone: “I suspect that over the next six months, this is going to be a debate that will become part of the campaign, and I will be very clear in voicing my belief that we’re going to have to take further steps to deal with climate change in a serious way.” Of course, mentioning climate change now doesn’t make up for President Obama’s reluctance to address global warming legislation in his first three years in office. The US is still one of the biggest producers of greenhouse gasses on Earth, and it’ll take more than the mere mention of climate change to change that.
In the interview, President Obama also praised NASA climatologist James Hansen, but he argued that if the Keystone XL pipeline goes through it isn’t necessarily “game over” for the planet. “The reason that Keystone got so much attention is not because that particular pipeline is a make-or-break issue for climate change, but because those who have looked at the science of climate change are scared and concerned about a general lack of sufficient movement to deal with the problem,” Obama said.
Photos via Rolling Stone and The White House Flickr photostream