June 14th, 2014
04:13 PM ET
9 years ago

Climate change deniers ‘serious threat’ to future, Obama says

Anaheim, California (CNN) — Describing lawmakers and pundits who deny manmade climate change as a “fairly serious threat to everybody’s future,” President Obama on Saturday called for less debate and more action in combating warming trends.

Delivering the address at University of California Irvine’s commencement, Obama underscored the view of some scientists that the effects of climate change are already being felt nationwide and said he was allocating new funds for communities recovering from natural disasters.

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Speaking at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Obama compared the scientific problem of curbing climate change to that of putting a man on the moon. And while skeptics in the 1960s may have made a case against the mission, Obama said he couldn’t remember “saying the moon wasn’t there, or that it was made of cheese.”

“Today’s Congress, though, is full of folks who stubbornly and automatically reject the scientific evidence about climate change,” he said. “They’ll tell you it’s a hoax, or a fad.”

Obama said Republicans had a long history of supporting environmental causes, naming Teddy Roosevelt, Richard Nixon and George H. W. Bush as examples of past presidents who did more than current GOP politicians.

“People are thinking about politics instead of thinking about what’s good for the next generation,” he added later.

The White House has taken on climate change as a top issue for Obama’s second term, announcing at the beginning of the month proposed new restrictions on power plants that would reduce emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030.

On Saturday Obama announced a $1 billion fund for towns and cities recovering from disasters. About $130 million is reserved for places affected by 2012’s Superstorm Sandy; the rest will be distributed nationwide.

Opponents of Obama’s actions on climate change— some of whom deny humans are responsible for climate change — say the rules will kill jobs and increase the cost of energy.

On Saturday Obama reserved his harshest criticism for politicians who he said avoid questions about climate by claiming a lack of knowledge — and a press he says ignores the issue.

Climate change deniers, he said, at least “have the brass to say what they actually think.”

Others, he said, duck questions about climate change by saying, “Hey, I’m not a scientist.”

“Let me translate: what that means is, ‘I accept that manmade climate change is real, but if I admit it, I’ll be run out of town by a radical fringe that thinks climate science is a liberal plot,’” he said.

soundoff (162 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    Read, if you care to learn the truth, about the neighborhood near Key Biscayne, FL and the flooding and the fact that Florida's coast is being engulfed by the sea.

    June 14, 2014 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  2. just asking

    get ready america... obama has started to now jam things down our throats, even worse than obamacare. he's a dictator at this point because he can't get congress to pass any of this far left garbage. so he is going to just sit there and tell the federal government to do things without congressional action or approval. this is why it is vitally important for the republicans to take the senate this november. we are quickly getting to the point where impeachment proceedings are in order, especially if obama decides to just start releasing all the terrorist at gitmo.

    anybody voting for democrats in november is voting for far left dictatorship.

    June 14, 2014 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  3. Dean

    The Earth's climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives.
    We had climate changes before any kind of man made industrial events ever happened.

    June 14, 2014 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  4. Will Depp

    Obama is right. To the guy above who says "folks disagree with Obama and call him a "threat" they are denounced as crazy extremist wackos" That is because that is usually the case, many are nuts. Tell me when he was wrong on something that Republicans objected to? It is not Obama you are disagreeing with it is the entire worlds scientists and other experts. It is not a question any more of whether Man made Climate Change is happening. It is a question of what can be done now to mitigate the costs to the USA and the world. Don't you folks care about your grandchildrens future? You folks who are either willingly ignorant or are just flat out ignorant are harming this country. The Tea Party is harming this country. If you asked me who is worse for America, Al Qaeda or the Right Wing....I'd have to take the Far Right Wackos any day over Al-Qaeda, they are far more willing and capable of hurting this country. They have already shut down government over a threat to repeal a law they did not like.

    June 14, 2014 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  5. Thomas

    Would that be like the threat of being $17 trillion dollars in debt mr. president?
    Or maybe like the threat of inflation from printing $85 billion a month?
    Or like the threat of higher energy and food prices from MORE regulations?
    Or the threat of our homeland safety from illegal immigrants streaming across the border?

    Those threat mr. president?

    June 14, 2014 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  6. Al

    That's a call to the EPA. For years before man discovered fire there was climate change on average every 3 months. Then those months were given season, Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter each occurs every year and has since long before a ship crossed the ocean and a plane found flight. Obama is calling for more regulation and more red tape and nothing else, the only one that is foolish here are those that believe the Al Gore story that is now being echoed by Obama.

    June 14, 2014 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  7. ED1

    The serious threat to this once Great Country is you sir you just don't get it along with your stupid supports.

    June 14, 2014 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  8. GaryD

    The progressives can not control the climate with carbon taxes. If they wanted Americans to use more solar power, they wouldn't have a 35% tariff on Chinese solar cells. It's all a money game they play to gain more power.

    June 14, 2014 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |

    How ironic the one that is the biggest threat to America makes a statement like that.

    June 15, 2014 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  10. Bob L

    All climate deniers are terrorists, They are a greater threat to humanity than the Taliban or any other terrorist organization. The Koch brothers and all their fossil fuel friends don't want anything to interfere with their greed for more and more money. Well I have a message for them – you cannot spend money on a dead planet.

    June 15, 2014 03:20 am at 3:20 am |
  11. ascpgh

    How much carbon is released by an IED explosion? An hour long flight of a helicopter? Air Force One per mile?

    Live it and demonstrate results. Meanwhile, back to your desk, the world is falling apart and your phone is ringing.

    June 15, 2014 05:26 am at 5:26 am |
  12. J Anthony

    Small minds will say, "screw pollution, screw the environment, screw the future..." we can't know to what degree human activity affects the weather. But we do know to what degree it affects our land, air and water, and it's not pretty. Ignoring this is just plain stupidity.

    June 15, 2014 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
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