Guess Who Said About Climate Change, “The Most Relevant Question Now Is Whether Our Own Government Is Equal To The Challenge”?

captain planetLet’s play a guessing game on this historic day of addressing climate change.

Who said the following:

Whether we call it “climate change” or “global warming,” in the end we’re all left with the same set of facts. The facts of global warming demand our urgent attention, especially in Washington. Good stewardship, prudence, and simple commonsense demand that we act to meet the challenge, and act quickly.

Oh, come on. Guess. It shouldn’t be that hard. Here’s another one:

When we debate energy bills in Washington, it should be more than a competition among industries for special favors, subsidies, and tax breaks. In the Congress, we need to send the special interests on their way – without their favors and subsidies…

This one should give it away:

We have many advantages in the fight against global warming, but time is not one of them. Instead of idly debating the precise extent of global warming, or the precise timeline of global warming, we need to deal with the central facts of rising temperatures, rising waters, and all the endless troubles that global warming will bring. We stand warned by serious and credible scientists across the world that time is short and the dangers are great. The most relevant question now is whether our own government is equal to the challenge.

Nope. It wasn’t Al Gore. Try again:

Like other environmental challenges — only more so — global warming presents a test of foresight, of political courage, and of the unselfish concern that one generation owes to the next. We need to think straight about the dangers ahead, and to meet the problem with all the resources of human ingenuity at our disposal.

Of course it wasn’t Barack Obama! That would have been too easy. Here’s another one:

Some state local governments have already begun their planning and preparation for extreme events and other impacts of climate change. The federal government can help them in many ways, above all by coordinating their efforts, and I am committed to providing that support.

Give up? How about one more? Try this:

We know that greenhouse gasses are heavily implicated as a cause of climate change. And we know that among all greenhouse gasses, the worst by far is the carbon-dioxide that results from fossil-fuel combustion. Yet for all the good work of entrepreneurs and inventors in finding cleaner and better technologies, the fundamental incentives of the market are still on the side of carbon-based energy. This has to change before we can make the decisive shift away from fossil fuels.

Move away from fossil fuels? Huh? That has to be a wild-eyed lefty. Ding! Ding! Ding! You’re right, if you knew those quotes came from that old left-winger, John McCain. In 2008. When he was running for president. Back before Republicans and their sympathizers went completely nuts:

republicans and climate change



  1. Interesting. John is proving a pretty good debater – take either side of a proposition and make a good case for it.

    Whichever way the global warming crisis is met, or not met, it won’t matter much to me personally. I’m too old. A tornado might yet get me, but the statistical impact on me of what government does now would be, as they say, down in the noise level. But I do care about the impact on my descendants. I guess that’s just tribal instinct, but it’s real.

    We are pretty far up the hockey stick already, but most scientists seem to think there’s still time to make a significant difference.

    One vision of course is that the main world players might actually take warming seriously and act on it. That means clamping new controls on dirty energy, like coal, and paying more for solar, nuclear, and the rest. I can actually see that as possible, albeit unlikely. Even China might participate. They may be Communists, but they aren’t stupid. After all, it was they who successfully mandated the one-child policy. Who’da thunk that was possible? But then there’s India, the -stan’s, Indonesia, and the rest of the third world. Pretty iffy.

    The other course is the one more likely, the one in which the GOP view prevails, the one in which we ignore the problem and label the consequences as God’s will. In that case, what will the world probably look like to my descendants five generations from now? It is my belief that major parts of the world will be flooded, including about half of Florida and Louisiana, not to mention NYC, Honolulu. Along with this, the former temperate zones will become host to even more-extreme weather – floods, tornadoes and especially droughts. Tropical diseases like malaria, dengue fever, African trypanosomiasis, schistosomiasis and pests will continue the spread northward that has already begun, even as the efficacy of antibiotics declines.

    Food costs will have soared enormously and meat will be something reserved for the 1% and consumed with a side dish of guilt; the masses will subsist on tofu and the like. (Second helping of <a href="soy lent, anyone?) There may be food riots and starvation as the population adjusts to the food supply. Due to the scarcity of water, most vegetables will be grown underground, hydroponically. Many people will have moved underground also, because the energy costs of subsisting on the surface will have grown too high. Birth rates will be controlled in America, a la China.

    Nature, both fauna and flora, will have undergone a mass extinction to rival the previous ones, with few wild species left, both on land and in the polluted oceans. Scientists may by then be able to predict the likelihood of a runaway greenhouse effect, just as likely happened to the planet Venus. That would be relatively sudden. Ocean algae and plankton will accelerate in their expiration, hastening the end of oxygen-producing organisms. It would be irreversible and would mean the extinction of all life on Earth.

    And maybe somewhere beyond the Big Bang some Celestial Scientist will be checking off the Earth experiment as finished. Hmm. “Looked promising for a while. Oh well, maybe the next universe will be more successful. This life thing is really tricky.”


    • Jim,

      Great points. Before I published today’s piece, I had originally written a piece on the effects of climate change on the poor, using an article I saw this morning on Vox. Here is a map from that article:


      Consider the following from the piece about the new carbon regs:

      This will cost the United States some money, thoughit’s not clear how much. One way to think about this is a transfer payment: America, a rich country, is spending to try to save the world’s poorest from the worst effects of climate change.

      Again, warming is pretty bad for everyone, so the regulations aren’t totally altruistic. But the world’s poorest will be hurt the most, and they’re the people who can least afford to be hurt. The global gap in wealth is unimaginably large. To put it in some perspective: the poorest five percent of Americans have higher per-capita incomes than 68 percent of the world.

      So far, wealthy countries have done a pretty poor job addressing climate change as an inequality issue. Rich countries promised $100 billion per year to help poor countries deal with the consequences of global warming, but most of that money hasn’t materialized. This is doubly infuriating for leaders of poor countries, as the global rich got that way by using technologies that created the climate crisis in the first place. The same carbon-powered economic growth fuelled Western colonialism.

      It is quite a dilemma, no? Especially with the kind of politics that the Grand Old Tea Party is playing these days.



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