Obama = FDR
It was a Rooseveltian address that I listened to from President Obama June 24. As FDR in 1933, President Obama understands the true nature of one of our nation's severest problems: Paralysis originating with our political opposition in the face of the nation's most pernicious problem. It was a crushing worldwide economic depression in 1933 that spread fear throughout the nation. Today it is climate change inflicting ever greater pain on all of us, while many of us want to block action to tackle this problem. "Not to worry. It's just the weather, a phase; we have come through this before."
This paralysis is reflected in bizarre statements such as Senator James Inhofe's (R-Oklahoma): "It's the greatest hoax ever inflicted on the American people" or our local Mr. Brooks Lyman: "It's good for agriculture" or "carbon dioxide is just plant food to me" or "if Miami sinks into the rising sea, so what?" Such wholly absurd views can be dismissed easily. Others are more serious because they block corrective actions and do so under idiotic premises such as "the government is waging war on coal" or "more regulations are just job killers" or "some climate scientists are feeding us scary data to get government grants to continue their work."
Our President correctly characterized such viewpoints as coming from the "Flat Earth Society", and he explained that we cannot wait for its members to get on board. He laid out steps that he can take as our Chief Steward of the nation's well-being. He can and will and has raised standards that increase vehicle mileage, reduce carbon pollution from coal-fueled power plants, substitute wind and solar electric power or carbon-fueled electricity, and he ordered concerted efforts throughout the government to ensure further progress toward slowing global warming.
Mr. Obama correctly pointed to the multiple benefits of these efforts: Reduced energy consumption, less carbon output, greater domestic manufacturing employment, and valuable health benefits from cleaner air, such as less asthma in children. He also pointed to the demonstrable successes already achieved from tackling problems head-on with the tools of science: Cutting acid rain, reducing the ozone hole, and cutting urban smog.
We are on the right path on this threatening issue, and I am glad the President is enthusiastic about taking bolder action. So am I.
Emil B. Rechsteiner