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

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

There are a number of sensitive issues involved in the consideration of the Keystone pipeline, demanding a fair and full assessment. My administration is conducting a thorough assessment that takes into consideration issues of public health and safety, environmental health, along with American energy security and economic factors. We will work with Nebraska and other states to conduct a rigorous, transparent and thorough review, which takes into account potential impacts on public health and natural resources. I am committed to reducing our reliance on foreign oil in a way that benefits American workers and businesses without risking the health and safety of the American people and the environment.


Audubon data shows even bird species we consider common today are adapting slowing to climate change and losing ground, with some falling as much as 68 percent in the past 40 years. How would you use laws like the Endangered Species Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act to address this trend?

From the Arctic to the Everglades, impacts like rising sea levels, warmer temperatures, loss of sea ice, and changing precipitation patterns are affecting the species we care about, the services we value, and the places we call home. We have an obligation to safeguard our nation's natural heritage in a changing world. Laws like the Endangered Species Act or the Migratory Bird Treaty Act guide my administration in helping to protect endangered and threatened species and pursue their recovery. In addition to preserving bird habitat by protecting wetlands, my administration has also taken direct steps to reduce the negative impacts of climate change on fish, birds, other wildlife, plants, and the natural systems upon which they depend. My administration is collaborating with state, local and tribal partners to release the first climate adaptation strategy for fish, wildlife, and plants. The strategy will provide a unified approach to ensure the sustainability of our many ecological, economic, and recreational resources.


Does protecting the environment cost jobs or create jobs?

As I have said many times, unfortunately, there will always be people in this country who say we've got to choose between clean air and clean water and a growing economy, between doing right by our environment and putting people back to work. I believe this is a false choice. Under my leadership, we have made historic investments in clean energy that have supported nearly a quarter million jobs, and we will continue to support a clean energy economy that has the potential to become part of a $2.3 trillion global market. The same environmental regulations that are cleaning up our air are also creating tens of thousands of jobs. With smart, sustainable policies, we can grow our economy today and protect our environment for ourselves and our children.


What would you like your environmental legacy to be?

From investing in clean energy to protecting our air, land, and water, I have made protecting the environment a top priority. I am pursuing an energy strategy that responsibly develops our natural resources to create clean energy jobs here at home while encouraging conservation, reducing energy waste and protecting the environment. I have taken historic steps to protect our children and communities from harmful pollution by restoring and advancing safeguards for clean air and water and by taking steps to reduce carbon pollution. My administration is also restoring treasured landscapes like the Great Lakes, the Florida Everglades, and local wilderness areas.

I also want to be remembered for implementing ideas that preserve our environment, protect our bottom line, and connect more Americans to the great outdoors. Because even in times of crisis, we're called to take the long view to preserve our national heritage--because in doing so we fulfill one of the responsibilities that falls to all of us as Americans, and as inhabitants of this same small planet. I feel an abiding bond with the land that is the United States of America.

Author Profile

Alisa Opar

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

Type: Author | From: Audubon Magazine


Moving from liquid petroleum fuels

Natural gas is the ideal replacement for gasoline and diesel fuel TODAY; it is cheaper, cleaner and produced domestically. Widespread conversion from liquid petroleum-based motor fuels to natural gas and electricity is the ONLY way to break OPEC market power over American consumers. Breaking the supply-side oligopoly that supports OPEC is an essential first step towards real energy freedom. Empowering consumers to choose motor fuels will accelerate transition to even more sustainable gaseous and electric motor fuels and vehicle technologies.

Just another politician hedging his answers

Obama's adminstration has already allowed weakening of the ESA incl. delisting of the wolf. He has proven himself to be too weak to stand up for what he talks about, calling it "compromise" to cave in to the teaparty/plutocratic industrial interests. Is he ignoring a possible link of frakking to increased earthquakes? Does he really think that listing the frakking chemicals will make it safer? How about pushing to revise the ancient Mining Act, or adequately funding NPS & USFWS, or rescinding oil subsidies, or stopping the exportation of currently produced US oil while we continue to import it, or honoring treaties with Native Americans instead of ramming the Keystone pipeline down their throats? Just another politician...

Obama's promises

I admit, he's good with words, but 80% of his promises during his last term have been that - just words. The fact that he supports expanding fracking, tar sand pipelines, and up drilling in the Arctic, make his promises no more than that - promises that most likely will not be kept. As far as what he has done - too little and too late.

Still delusional

Safeguards? who are you kidding. "Oops." there IS no safe level for drilling in the fragile Arctic, nor for fracking near water sources (read: everywhere).
Keeping down prices at the pump?--already artificially low. Get us OFF the fossil fuels, as Fast as Possible! anything else is courting Disaster (which we are already seeing).
How will "protecting" endangered birds work, after the Gulf Stream has stalled and the permafrost has melted to release all the sequestered methane?
Convene a panel of actual scientists- let me introduce you to Jim Hansen- and roll up your sleeves. Nothing is more urgent.

thought he forgot

Wow I thought he forgot about us...maybe he can get to it now.

Obama climate

There's no such thing as clean coal and natural gas is a product of regular old oil drilling, baby. Stick to the solar, wind an OTHER resources available to us Mr President.


Sorry Mr President but I really don't believe anything you say any more.I was happy when you were elected,especially since you are the first black president and i had hoped you would bring the country together.Instead,I've watched you split us between race and rich and poor.
At one time we were a people who cared about the other guy,But Mr President you've managed to create a country riven between ethnic and social strata.This is not a good nor healthy thing and it will hurt America in the long run.Take from the rich and give to the poor sounds like Robin Hood, but in reality it creates conflict and that's just where we're going.
I wish you'd been sincere when you said you wanted us to not be red or blue, but Americans.
That was wonderful rhetoric,but rhetoric is all it was.
God Bless this country Duke

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