US President Barack Obama finally broke his 'climate silence' with strong remarks about the climate change threat during his inauguration speech on Monday. That’s good. And it's about time.
For years we have watched the warnings from climate scientists become reality and despaired as successive presidents refused to act (in some cases refusing to even acknowledge the existence of climate change) or tip-toed ineffectually around the issue.
Following two years of record-breaking weather extremes in the US, has President Obama now decided to take the bull by the horns and pursue strategies that will help avert catastrophic climate change? We certainly hope so.
So while we congratulate President Obama in his second term, we’ve got a bit of a to-do list for him. Actually, make that a "Need-To-Do" list. And it's not actually for us. It's for the future of every living thing on this planet, including President Obama and his family. And the other guy's.
1) Put a final period on the end of "No Keystone Pipeline."
We're sick of hearing "for now" at the end of this statement. Not only does the pipeline put us at risk of an unthinkable spill, it's not the answer to progress for America's energy future. It's just the same, old dirty energy in a new, cylinder-shaped package.
2) Accelerate the expansion of clean, safe renewable energy.
The clean energy industry needs your support rather than massive oil companies, dirty coal utilities and natural gas. When the United States invests in clean energy technology, we're investing in our future.
3) Make carbon unaffordable.
Why is it so cheap to quicken climate change and poison the public? We need you to stand up to polluters, President Obama. They're putting our health at risk, our homes at risk and our countries at risk. And you're making it laughably easy to do so.
4) Save the Arctic.
After months of campaigning to save the Arctic from oil companies looking to profit from record-low sea ice in our global air conditioner, we were thrilled to hear Shell's announcement that they would no Arctic drilling in 2012. However, we know it's only a matter of time before Shell, or another company, gives it another go. We need President Obama to grant no permits to any company to drill for oil in Arctic.
5) Support communities most impacted by climate change.
In 2012, Hurricane Sandy showed us how quickly a superstorm can wipe out your entire livelihood. Unfortunately, climate change events can come in the form of a destructive wildfire, a devastating drought or sudden powerful storms. President Obama has to plan for the reality of climate change and help those Americans that are always left to clean up the mess.