In his second inauguration speech on January 21, President Barack Obama addressed climate change and emphasized the country's need to respond and lead.
The president said:
We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.
The president's speech comes after Vice President Joe Biden told environmentalists that Obama will not ignore climate change in his second term, according to Politico. He told attendees of Sunday's Green Ball to "keep the faith," adding, "There is science in the White House."
Despite an absence of climate change dialogue during the presidential campaign, Obama reiterated his views on climate change in his first press conference after winning re-election in November. "I am a firm believer that climate change is real, that it is impacted by human behavior and carbon emissions," Obama said. "And as a consequence, I think we've got an obligation to future generations to do something about it."
Forecast the Facts campaign manager and climate activist Brad Johnson said in an emailed statement Monday, "Obama must strive on to finish the work we are in, to do all which may achieve freedom from the tyranny of fossil fuels. If he does not confront the scourge of climate change, he will let our nation perish."
League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski declared in a statement that "The President's remarks offered great hope for a cleaner, more sustainable planet for future generations... His continued commitment to clean technologies and protecting our planet will build on an already strong environmental legacy."
Read the rest of Obama's speech at the Washington Post here.