Year 4, Month 6, Day 27: Till You’ve Known The Meaning Of The Blues

The Indianapolis Star (IA) notes that Robert Redford is offering President Obama some free advice.

Like a lot of people, I felt reassured earlier this year when President Obama spoke of the need to combat climate change for the sake of our children.

The president demonstrated leadership that night in that State of the Union address by making it clear that he doesn’t see extreme heat waves, powerful storms like Hurricane Sandy, the most severe drought in decades and the worst wildfires ever in some states as just weird coincidences.

He demonstrated leadership by calling out Congress, saying if it doesn’t act soon, he will take executive action to reduce pollution, prepare communities to cope with climate change impacts and spur us toward cleaner energy.

Clearly, the president understands the climate issue. But he owes more to future generations than his intellectual acknowledgement about the hardships they will face if nothing is done to address it. He owes them action.

I just hope the president has the courage of his convictions.

It’s what separates presidents that we don’t often remember from those we do. Years ago, an ally advised newly sworn-in President Johnson against using his political capital to try to muscle civil rights legislation through Congress. Johnson’s reply was classic: “Hell, what’s the presidency for?”

Time to advocate for the national laboratory system again. June 11:

It’s true that when it comes to climate, the President talks a stronger game than he plays. And to be sure, the chief executive’s position is an unenviable one: caught between intransigent Republicans on one hand and the hard facts of the runaway greenhouse effect on the other, his desires for inclusive compromise have nowhere to go.

Robert Redford’s heartfelt and entirely sensible plea for decisive executive action misses an important resource which Mr. Obama could use immediately without interference from Congress: the U.S. national laboratories, originally created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of the Manhattan Project to address the possibility that German scientists were going to build an atomic bomb. The climate crisis is an unambiguous danger to our civilization, and the president could issue an executive order instructing the national laboratory system to study options to reduce or alleviate climate change by finding ways to defuse the threats posed by atmospheric carbon, methane, and other greenhouse gases.

Warren Senders

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