June 14th, 2014
04:13 PM ET
7 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. Anonymous

    You mean he travels all the way out to CA to give a commencement speech but instead gives a political speech? oh, I forgot who we're talking about. Why doesn't this boob realize that climate change is spelled WEATHER!

    June 14, 2014 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  2. marc

    When large numbers of Americans begin dying from the violent weather, they won't need jobs anyway. And, they'll be the lucky ones for not having to deal with nowhere to live and massive food shortages. The polluting corporations will switch over to disaster relief services and make their trillions off of pure human misery, so the end result will be what the politicians want....the rich get richer. It's all about money. Only the weak-minded fall for the smokescreening propaganda that it's about anything else.

    June 14, 2014 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  3. Scott

    Obama has always been very adept at marginalizing anyone who doesn't believe all he has to say. That is really unfortunate since I thought he would help unify our country. Instead he's been the most divisive president in my lifetime.

    June 14, 2014 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  4. Graeme from Ottawa

    To disagree does not make you a threat but deny facts and scientific finding to support a political or ideological point of view is dangerous and unacceptable.

    June 14, 2014 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  5. It obvious

    The rational people agree with President Obama, of course, but that doesn't make the uninformed deniers any less a threat. But now we're curious, why do people allow themselves to feel smart simply by denying hard, factual science? We thinks it has much to do with which party is marked on their voter ID cards.

    June 14, 2014 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  6. Kimo

    I have to laugh at people who want to deny that Bush was ever to blame for anything, especially those things that he actually did. It's the same sort of people who deny climate change just because it is an inconvenient truth (hey, I should copyright that). It's also funny to have one group of scientist who spent years and years in college, graduate school and post-docs learning how to interpret climate data getting poo-pooed by people with no science education who would rather believe the propaganda put out by oil company lobbyists. Do you folks still think there is no link between cigarette smoking and cancer the way conservatives were saying a few decades ago? Profits over people, that's your creed.

    June 14, 2014 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  7. Frank O

    What a hypocrite. What a colossal failure.

    June 14, 2014 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  8. Chance Novak

    Saul Alinsky Method:

    1. Declare opposition as a "threat" 2. Proceed with character assassination 3. Repeat 1 & 2.

    June 14, 2014 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  9. greg

    Those who deny climate change carry the mindset of reckless greed; take the planet for all its worth without any consideration to their children or generations to come. The generation that carried the country victory in WWII has given way to too a generations consumed with the desire to serve themselves no matter the cost. Climate deniers are not engaged in a conversation around science, around facts. There is room to debate how we respond but we as a nation cannot even have that conversation because climate deniers are not connected to reality and no amount of information will shift a mentality ready to warp any data it encounters to some rationalization to continue as is and damn the consequences.

    June 14, 2014 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  10. mel

    If I walked around calling everyone whose opinion did not agree with mine a "Serious Threat" they would call me paranoid or intolerant.

    June 14, 2014 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  11. Hogarth

    The right wing keeps repeating the same tired line: "This is a distraction from the REAL issue – BENGHAZI!"
    No – THIS is the real issue – the survival of the species. You may not care, since you'll be dead before the worst of it, but how do you sleep at night, thinking about your children, and their familes, and the conditions they will have to live under – all because you just didn't give a damn. Nice. Real nice.

    June 14, 2014 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  12. JeffTX

    Climate changes. Nobody denies that. Is climate change a threat? No, at least not as described by the climate change wackos.

    June 14, 2014 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  13. YoonYoungJo

    From what I hear from scientists who say climate change isn't that bad, even they admit there is a natural rise in methane and carbon in the air. I think the better question to ask the scientists who deny the climate crisis is, how much sooner is the Earth going to have its next period of weather instability because of the increased man made methane and carbon dioxide in the air? Then again if you pay people enough or make it worth their while enough they are willing to say, do or make up anything. I don't think anyone denies the world naturally goes through periods of warming and cooling. I think the better thing to consider is how much sooner will it be because of the extra methane and carbon were putting in the air. So instead of having another 10,000 years of semi mild climates we only get 500 more years? But again, pay, bribe or make it worth someone's while and the climate scientists will say anything that needs to be said.

    June 14, 2014 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  14. Caleb

    Obama becomes more and more extreme ruining this great country through his lies.

    June 14, 2014 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  15. Shea

    Good to know that some see through this b.s. I am neither Democrat or Republican or anything else. They're all crooks and I used to be a staunch Dem w/a staunch Dem family background. Now, they can all kiss my you-know-what, including 'third parties.' Obama is an much of a name caller as Spiro Agnew when addressing those who disagree with him or his policies. Looks like we're heading the way of Australia where they initiated a tax on carbon. That's what will make the elite happy – poison the air and then tax us for breathing it. In the meantime, pay no attention to China who pollutes the air and earth with disregard for the rest of us here on earth. Shhhhh. We wouldn't want to disturb the country that owns us, now would we?

    June 14, 2014 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  16. Singing Flea

    I have to say that Obama is a whole lot smarter than the ignorant trolls that jump at every opportunity to berate him. Climate change is a global political issue and every country in the world is now aware of the dangers. If Obama was a climate change denier, the right wing would be finding fault with him for that. The fact is that Obama is putting the welfare of the populace in perspective and trying to do the right thing no matter the hate from the right. We can either support the man we elected or continue on a course of obstruction and go back to the dismal days of 2007 which was the result at the end of the last Republican administration.

    June 14, 2014 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  17. rohbear

    @may40: you're in Worcester? I guess you didn't attend Worcester Polytech's graduation ceremonies like I did for my niece. If you had, you would have heard the commencement address from a scientist and WPI alum who warned about global warming and the need to act. If it's propaganda, then why is the Pentagon treating it seriously and making plans accordingly?

    June 14, 2014 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  18. james

    Seriously? I don't think climate change is that much of a threat to our future, at least not in the top ten of threats we currently face..

    June 14, 2014 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  19. Richard

    What does that "Chicago street organizer" know about science?

    June 14, 2014 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  20. Ryan

    Headline is a little misleading and because of that I can tell by th previous comments that almost none of you watched the video.

    June 14, 2014 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  21. tarura

    " climate change . . . protect children and future generations"

    What ? ? ?
    How about national debt, $17.532 trillion today
    No concern about protecting children and future generations ?

    June 14, 2014 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  22. Dean R Darrough

    Disagree with Big Brother and you are a "denier."

    June 14, 2014 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  23. Dean R Darrough

    Disagreement is not allowed.

    June 14, 2014 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  24. MaryM

    Yea, and the Big tobacco companies did the same thing. Deny, Deny, Deny the medical science. Car companies and petroleum companies did the same thing about the lead gasoline and in the air. Deny, Deny, Deny the science. Etc

    June 14, 2014 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  25. Toomuch

    Science is never settled... And when you add money into the equation it can also become perverted..

    June 14, 2014 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
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