onsdag 23 september 2009

Analysis of Obama's Climate Rethoric

President Obama stated in his UN speech on climate yesterday:
  • Rising sea levels threaten every coastline. More powerful storms and floods threaten every continent. More frequent drought and crop failures breed hunger and conflict in places where hunger and conflict already thrive. On shrinking islands, families are already being forced to flee their homes as climate refugees.
  • As John F. Kennedy once observed: “Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man.” 
  • But this is a new day. It is a new era. And I am proud to say that the United States has done more to promote clean energy and reduce carbon pollution in the last eight months than at any other time in our history.
Obama knows very well that he cannot deliver any US reductions to Copenhagen in December, but compensates by instead expanding the goal: 
  • What we are seeking, after all, is not simply an agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions. We seek an agreement that will allow all nations to grow and raise living standards without endangering the planet.
Obama knows that "deniers" dominate the US Senate and according to a recent Blomberg poll only 2% of the US voters believe climate change is the most important issue facing the country, but compensates by
  • The good news is that after too many years of inaction and denial, there is finally widespread recognition of the urgency of the challenge before us. We also cannot allow the old divisions that have characterized the climate debate for so many years to block our progress. 
Obama's message to the developing world is:
  • But those rapidly-growing developing nations that will produce nearly all the growth in global carbon emissions in the decades ahead must do their part as well. It will do little good to alleviate poverty if you can no longer harvest your crops or find drinkable water,
which can be read as letting emission cut come before alleviating poverty. Obama repeats the mantra:
  • We know that our planet’s future depends on a global commitment to permanently reduce greenhouse gas pollution,
but must know that this is precisely what scientists cannot agree to know. Convincing?

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