Our 10 favorite climate quotes by President Barack Obama in 2014

January 20, 2015

As President Barack Obama prepares to give his State of the Union address tonight, we took a moment to reflect back on his speeches and statements made in the past year, and found our 10 favorite climate quotes that motivate, challenge, and inspire. Here they are listed in chronological order. Feel free to share your favorite climate quotes in the comments below!

“The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way.  But the debate is settled.  Climate change is a fact.  And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.”
— U.S. President Barack Obama, State of the Union, January 28, 2014
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/01/28/president-barack-obamas-state-union-address


(Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

“This is not some distant problem of the future. This is a problem that is affecting Americans right now. Whether it means increased flooding, greater vulnerability to drought, more severe wildfires — all these things are having an impact on Americans as we speak.”
— U.S. President Barack Obama, interview with Al Roker, May 6, 2014
http://www.today.com/news/obama-al-roker-climate-change-2D79627268


(Today)

“When Americans are called on to innovate, that’s what we do — whether it’s making more fuel-efficient cars or more fuel-efficient appliances, or making sure that we are putting in place the kinds of equipment that prevents harm to the ozone layer and eliminates acid rain.  At every one of these steps, there have been folks who have said it can’t be done.  There have been naysayers who said this is going to destroy jobs and destroy industry. And it doesn’t happen because once we have a clear target to meet, we typically meet it. And we find the best ways to do it.”
— U.S. President Barack Obama, conference call with public health groups, June 2, 2014
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/02/remarks-president-conference-call-hosted-public-health-groups

“If there’s one thing I would like to see, it’d be for us to be able to price the cost of carbon emissions.”
— U.S. President Barack Obama, interview with Thomas Friedman, June 7, 2014
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/08/opinion/sunday/friedman-obama-on-obama-on-climate.html


(Showtime)

“Part of what’s unique about climate change, though, is the nature of some of the opposition to action.  It’s pretty rare that you’ll encounter somebody who says the problem you’re trying to solve simply doesn’t exist.  When President Kennedy set us on a course for the moon, there were a number of people who made a serious case that it wouldn’t be worth it; it was going to be too expensive, it was going to be too hard, it would take too long.  But nobody ignored the science.  I don’t remember anybody saying that the moon wasn’t there or that it was made of cheese.”
— U.S. President Barack Obama, UC Irvine Commencement Address, June 14, 2014
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/13/remarks-president-university-california-irvine-commencement-ceremony


(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

“We need scientists to design new fuels. We need farmers to help grow them. We need engineers to invent new technologies. We need entrepreneurs to sell those technologies. We need workers to operate assembly lines that hum with high-tech, zero-carbon components. We need builders to hammer into place the foundations for a clean energy age. We need diplomats and businessmen and women, and Peace Corps volunteers to help developing nations skip past the dirty phase of development and transition to sustainable sources of energy. In other words, we need you.”
— U.S. President Barack Obama, UC Irvine Commencement Address, June 14, 2014
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/13/remarks-president-university-california-irvine-commencement-ceremony

“Today, about 40 percent of America’s carbon pollution comes from our power plants. There are no federal limits to the amount those plants can pump into the air. None. We limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury, and sulfur, and arsenic in our air and water, but power plants can dump as much carbon pollution into our atmosphere as they want. It’s not smart, it’s not right, it’s not safe, and I determined it needs to stop.”
— U.S. President Barack Obama, League of Conservation Voters Capital Dinner, June 25, 2014
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/25/remarks-president-league-conservation-voters-capital-dinner

“There’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.”
— U.S. President Barack Obama, UN Climate Change Summit, September 23, 2014
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/23/remarks-president-un-climate-change-summit

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the United Nations General Assembly Climate Summit 2014 (2)
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

“Yes, this is hard.  But there should be no question that the United States of America is stepping up to the plate.  We recognize our role in creating this problem; we embrace our responsibility to combat it.  We will do our part, and we will help developing nations do theirs.  But we can only succeed in combating climate change if we are joined in this effort by every nation –- developed and developing alike.  Nobody gets a pass.”
— U.S. President Barack Obama, UN Climate Change Summit, September 23, 2014
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/23/remarks-president-un-climate-change-summit

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the United Nations General Assembly Climate Summit 2014
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

“We’re showing that there’s no excuse for other nations to come together, both developed and developing, to achieve a strong global climate agreement next year.”
— U.S. President Barack Obama, G-20 press conference, November 16, 2014
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/11/16/remarks-president-obama-g20-press-conference-november-16-2014

U.S. President Barak Obama gestures as he answers a question from the media during a press conference at the conclusion of the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014.(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
(AP photo/Rob Griffith)

  • S J Quinn

    President Obama’s keynote on US Power Plants 25th June 2014 – so what’s happened then please?

  • Omnivore1

    He’s so full of crap, he could fertilize all the corn fields in Nebraska.

  • William Jackson

    It is only a matter of time before we lose Miami to rising sea level, you seem to be the one full of crap.

  • R_of_Center

    Ok, and that might be what, say 500 years from now? Stop being such an alarmist. And considering we’re still coming out of the last ice age any coastal region would be bound to eventually get submerged. You know not everybody is a selfish beach front property owner.

  • John G

    IPCC estimate: 1 – 4 foot global sea level rise this century due to human caused global warming. More in Florida due to local conditions. Recent studies show that to be at the low end of the likely possibilities, as positive feedback loops were not considered.

    Florida’s average feet above sea level: 6

    Next hurricane storm surge: higher than the last, all things being equal thanks to sea level rise.

  • R_of_Center

    IPCC “estimate” based on what? “Recent studies” of what exactly?

    I lived in Florida in the early 70’s, the beach I grew up on is in the exact same condition it was when I was a pre-teen. A friend of mine was in the travel business and was scouting out vacation spots in the Maldives in the early 90’s, there was as claim back then that the islands would be all under water in 20 years, here we are 25 years later and the beaches are the same there as well.

    Scientists cannot figure out the weather in a week, they certainly cannot with any reasonable accuracy make claim that within 80 years Florida will have a 1 inch sea rise let alone 1-4+ ft rise. It’s basically crackpot science.

  • John G

    Show me the scientific site that said what you heard. You certainly weren’t reading nasa or noaa (and the IPCC wasn’t even around back then). It seems like you chronically trust unreliable sources. The failure of your sources to provide you an accurate picture of things is why you should vet them better. Your current sources, your memory, and your gut feel are poor substitutes for reliable science.

    The IPCC gets its science from reliable sources – lots of climate scientists. If there is one consistent complaint I here about the IPCC from other climate scientists it is that they are overly cautious in their predictions based on what is known. Specifically, their analysis apparently does not always take into proper consideration all the positive warming feedbacks (loss of albedo, natural release of CO2 and methane from melting tundra and Arctic), and Arctic ice loss is happening faster than predicted in the past.

  • Dano2

    the beach I grew up on is in the exact same condition it was when I was a pre-teen.

    Standard comedy line! I still loveloveLOVE this joke!

    Best,

    D

  • R_of_Center

    Please do elaborate.

  • Dano2

    You’re the latest in a long line of codgers repeating the same joke.

    Your delivery was good, so I LOLzed.

    HTH

    Best,

    D

  • R_of_Center

    Not a joke, it’s fact, just an inconvenient truth to the doom and gloom crowd. And your reply does not qualify as “elaboration” as you provided no data or evidence that what was said by me is inaccurate or proves nothing in regard to the doom and gloom scenarios. And by your use of the word “codger” you’ve outted yourself as a young naive fool, likely a mellinial, that thinks because they’re youg they’re some how more enlightened and have the correct answers. You will be a “codger” soon enough, you too will be at odds with the youth.

  • Dano2

    Right. Like clockwork, some old guy comes on here and confidently asserts “I been comin here all my laaaaaaaf an’ I ain’t seen no ding-dang sea level risin’!!!!!”

    And almost without fail, I’ll post the sea level rise chart for their area and they disappear without a word.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    HTH

    Best,

    D

  • R_of_Center

    Wow, you millennials talk very strangely, I been, laaaaaaaf & seen no ding-dang, is that new slang? Oh , I get it, you’re talking like you think people 10+ years older than you speak, cute. And your smug HTH does nothing toward proving legitimacy.

    Anyway, so if you’re so confident then tell me the difference for Port St. Joe, FL in 1975 to now, and Naha, Okinawa from 1985 to now. I’ve visited all the beaches in those regions in the past three years and since I lived there originally there was not a inch of visible difference. All docks, piers, boat slips, peninsulas, marsh areas, tide pool regions etc. were the same. And if your differences are in mm then the whole argument is null and void as that would fall into the post little ice age expectation range, meaning WGAS.

  • Dano2

    1. Port St Joe has no sea level trend for that station, but the surrounding stations with sea level trends all show ~2 mm/yr rise:

    Pensacola (rise rate increasing), Dauphin Island, AL (rise rate also increasing) and Panama City also experiencing a rise in rate of change.

    2. Naha is similar to Port St Joe, and several sources show the rate of change in the area is ~2.2 mm/yr, lower than the global rate of change.

    3. You made this up: if your differences are in mm then the whole argument is null and void as that would fall into the post little ice age expectation range, meaning WGAS.

    You can’t show that is true.

    HTH

    Best,

    D

  • Dano2

    My comment from upthread:

    And almost without fail, I’ll post the sea level rise chart for their area and they disappear without a word.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Best,

    D