Exclusive Interview: Obama Defeats Romney, Says We Must Tackle Climate Change

Photograph by Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla

Exclusive Interview: Obama Defeats Romney, Says We Must Tackle Climate Change

The president provides written answers to 10 critical questions about the environment.

By Alisa Opar
Published: 11/07/2012

In the lead up to the 2012 presidential election, mention of--much less discussion about--the environment was noticeably absent. President Barack Obama said that climate change is "one of the biggest issues of this generation" in September, but in months of campaigning it hardly came up. To the dismay of environmentalists, he didn't raise the subject once during the three debates with Mitt Romney--the first time since 1984 that neither candidates nor moderators broached the topic in a presidential debate. The politician who did the most to bring global warming into the race for the White House was New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who made it the focus of his endorsement of Obama in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

His second term secured, Obama did touch on climate change in his acceptance speech early this morning. "We want our children to live in an America that isn't burdened by debt, that isn't weakened by inequality, that isn't threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet," he told supporters in Chicago.

Now, after so many months of silence on critical environmental issues, and with the president defending the coal industry during the campaign, there are many questions about Obama's aims for the next four years. Audubon's exclusive responses from the president may shed some light. President Obama provided written answers to 10 questions submitted to the campaign during the heat of the election season about climate change, energy policy, and other issues of interest to Auduboners.

 

What are your plans to address climate change?

Climate change is the one of the biggest issues of this generation, and we have to meet this challenge by driving smart policies that lead to greater growth in clean energy generation and result in a range of economic and social benefits. Since taking office I have developed historic fuel efficiency standards that will limit greenhouse gas emissions from our vehicles for the first time in history. My administration has made unprecedented investments in clean energy, proposed the first-ever carbon pollution limits for new fossil-fuel-fired power plants, and helped lower carbon emissions significantly within the Federal Government. Since I took office, the U.S. is importing an average of 2.6 million fewer barrels of oil every day, and our dependence on foreign oil hit a 16-year low. We are also showing international leadership on climate change, reaching historic agreements to set emission limits in unison with other emerging powers. I will continue these efforts to create an economy built to last--investing in clean energy, holding polluters accountable, and reducing our carbon impact.

 

What role do you see wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources playing in our energy future?

I know the country that harnesses the power of clean, renewable energy will lead the global economy in the 21st century. That's why I have made the largest investment in clean energy and energy efficiency in American history and proposed an ambitious Clean Energy Standard to generate 80 percent of our electricity from clean energy sources like wind, solar, clean coal, and natural gas by 2035. Since taking office, electricity from wind and solar sources has already doubled in the United States. I am also calling on Congress to support incentives for clean energy that drive innovation and support clean energy manufacturing jobs across the country. We are boosting our use of cleaner fuels, including increasing the level of ethanol that can be blended into gasoline and implementing a new Renewable Fuel Standard that will save nearly 14 billion gallons of petroleum-based gasoline in 2022. Because of these actions, we are positioning the U.S. to be a world leader in the clean energy economy.

 

The Coast Guard, the United States Geological Survey, the Government Accountability Office, and hundreds of scientists say the industry is not prepared to drill safety in Artic waters. What is your position?

Author Profile

Alisa Opar

Alisa Opar is the articles editor at Audubon magazine. Follow her on Twitter @alisaopar.

Type: Author | From: Audubon Magazine

Comments

His EPA should be reined in

His EPA should be reined in for lack of brainpower and violation of the Constitution - oh, wait, at least the EPA has lost a few court cases! Thankfully our Republic has division of powers..

completely brain dead when it

completely brain dead when it comes to technical knowledge. His EPA should be reined in for lack of brainpower and violation of the Constitution - oh, wait, at least the EPA has lost a few court cases! Thankfully our Republic has division of powers..

I'd feel better about this if

I'd feel better about this if itt weren't for this admininistrations miserable record on many environmental issues.
The Sec'y of Agiculture, a good friend of agribusiness, thinks burning corn for ethanol is A-OK. (Even the Bush Administration backed off of that one.)
The Sec'y of the Interior defended the Bush Administration's anti-wildlife directives in court. Moreover, he has continued countenance to butcher wolves and other wildlife.

i dont know how they tackle

i dont know how they tackle climate change
alrazaak

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Beautiful attractive information is visible in this blog and the very good article are procession in this blog. This info is very helpful for me with my project time and trust you very much for using the valuable info in this blog

Obama

Obama is the consumate politician, completely brain dead when it comes to technical knowledge. His EPA should be reined in for lack of brainpower and violation of the Constitution - oh, wait, at least the EPA has lost a few court cases! Thankfully our Republic has division of powers..

Obama Changes

In all fairness, President Obama kept many of his promises, you just remember the ones that failed. He has helped and continues to try and help his fellow man/woman. Lets support his efforts and there is a lot of effort with all that goes on in the world today. God Bless President Obama!

Environment

I'd feel better about this if itt weren't for this admininistrations miserable record on many environmental issues.
The Sec'y of Agiculture, a good friend of agribusiness, thinks burning corn for ethanol is A-OK. (Even the Bush Administration backed off of that one.)
The Sec'y of the Interior defended the Bush Administration's anti-wildlife directives in court. Moreover, he has continued countenance to butcher wolves and other wildlife.
The Sec'y of Energy was run out of UC-Berkeley because he tried to install a BP outpost, the Energy BioSciences Institute. Even worse, his right-hand-man was a big shot at BP.
The one decent environmentalist in the Obma Administration, EPA's Lisa Jackson has been given little support -- no wonder she is leaving. Now they are free to appoint a real non-environmentalist to head EPA.
Head enough...? If not, there's plenty more. Silver words, leaden -- or no -- deeds.

Respect to our planet

Hi I and so many Americans support the efforts to utilize our cleaner energy resources that can be an integral part in reducing pollution in not only our beyond important atmosphere but as well as our water, fresh and natural saline oceans which contribute unmeasurably to a healthy existance. With so much water mass on earth and the majority of our bodies we thrive in clean H2O along with all our plants that help filter and produce viable O2 levels. Proactive response through innovation of hope to be wise humans can make this story become true and for future generations to enjoy the bounty we do today. Old growth forests should with out a doubt be off limits to logging industry today with only maybe 5 to 8% Original Ancient forest existing today and ever so head hunted is super significant to maintaining a healthy atmosphere not to mention the rare inhabitants within those realms should be protected. With Big Oil stiff arming politicians and the caring American citizens left and right it reminds us of what a disgusting way of life can be we must have stringent regulations before any drilling/fracking should be done. Its an absolute given to conduct the proper Environmental assessments before we even consider in destroying a place and thats exactly what fracking does in the long run its a short term fat cat gain when the rest ofus will suffer from harmful contamination.I write you today because I am a concerned citizen on the well being of our planet of course it makes no sense to never cut another tree or drill another whole but when can do this with respect to the natural world and FUNDing and capital investments in the right direction. Like you say times have changed and we need to positively change for the better. I know this will take the unity of the people which we feel can sometimes be hanging on by a thread but if we just solely rely on old ways we will lose its just a matter of time and how fast, I believe with out the stiff arming of conglomerates, eco-innovative thinking and to be backed by you as our respected new president the top offices and positions of all positions WE the people can make this reality! Thanks you so much for your time and to even hope this is read. Thank you Respectfully, Mickey B

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