The Climate in Emergency

A weekly blog on science, news, and ideas related to climate change

Your Tuesday Update: The State of the Union

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Well, he did it. President Obama used part of his last State of the Union speech to discus climate change in clear, honest terms. He included mention of how the US Military (hardly a bastion of liberal permissiveness!) takes the issue seriously, and used the word “change” many times in his introduction in ways that seemed to hint of climate even when he didn’t say so:

It’s change that can broaden opportunity, or widen inequality. And whether we like it or not, the pace of this change will only accelerate.

You can read the text of the speech here, if you missed it.  It was a good oration–obviously political and boosterish, but that’s what these things are for. If they ever served as a kind of annual briefing to Congress, as per the Constution, they need serve that function no longer, and thank goodness for that (didn’t Congressmembers read newspapers back in the 1700’s? Why did they need a Presidential briefing even then?). As a feel-good piece of rhetoric that actually touched on a number of important issues, the State of the Union was a success.

I would have liked it if Mr. Obama had gone one step further. He identified four major issues we as a country must tackle. Climate change was one of them. I wish he’d actually acknowledged that climate change is all of them.

First, how do we give everyone a fair shot at opportunity and security in this new economy?

Second, how do we make technology work for us, and not against us — especially when it comes to solving urgent challenges like climate change?

Third, how do we keep America safe and lead the world without becoming its policeman?

And finally, how can we make our politics reflect what’s best in us, and not what’s worst?

I’ll leave that one hanging there as food for thought.

Author: Caroline Ailanthus

I am a creative science writer. That is, most of my writing is creative rather than technical, but my topic is usually science. I enjoy explaining things and exploring ideas. I have one published novel and another on the way. I have a master's degree in Conservation Biology and I work full-time as a writer.

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