Obama: I “absolutely” want to go off on Congressional climate deniers

In a long interview with Thomas Friedman, the president says climate activists still need to move public opinion

Topics: Barack Obama, Thomas Friedman, The New York Times, Climate Change, climate crisis, Global Warming, Climate deniers, Abraham Lincoln, , , ,

Obama: I “absolutely” want to go off on Congressional climate deniers (Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas)

In his latest piece for the New York Times, columnist Thomas Friedman shares some of the best parts of a recent, lengthy interview he conducted with President Obama about climate change (more of which can be seen on the final episode of Showtime’s “Years of Living Dangerously” series).

One of the juiciest revelations: Obama finds GOP climate deniers in Congress just as annoying as you do.

Asked by Friedman if he ever wants to “just go off on the climate deniers in Congress,” Obama said, “Yeah, absolutely,” and laughed.

“Look, it’s frustrating when the science is in front of us,” Obama continued. “We can argue about how. But let’s not argue about what’s going on. … The baseline fact of climate change is not something we can afford to deny.”

“And if you profess leadership in this country at this moment in our history,” Obama added, “then you’ve got to recognize this is going to be one of the most significant long-term challenges, if not the most significant long-term challenge, that this country faces and that the planet faces.”

“The good news,” Obama  went on to say, “is that the public may get out ahead of some of their politicians.” He expressed confidence that as the costs of the climate crisis grow more apparent to Americans, they’ll begin to demand more seriousness about the issue from their elected representatives.



In Obama’s view, that kind of broad-based popular sentiment is key to enacting policies significant enough to stave off a climate crisis. Obama cited Abraham Lincoln’s famous quote on public opinion to argue that one of the most important things he and climate activists can do is shift the public’s views.

“[P]art of my job over these next two and a half years and beyond,” Obama said, “is trying to shift public opinion. And the way to shift public opinion is to really focus in on the fact that if we do nothing our kids are going to be worse off.”

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on politics. Follow him on Twitter at @eliasisquith, and email him at eisquith@salon.com.

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Api Étoile

    Like little stars.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Calville Blanc

    World's best pie apple. Essential for Tarte Tatin. Has five prominent ribs.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chenango Strawberry

    So pretty. So early. So ephemeral. Tastes like strawberry candy (slightly).

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chestnut Crab

    My personal fave. Ultra-crisp. Graham cracker flavor. Should be famous. Isn't.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    D'Arcy Spice

    High flavored with notes of blood orange and allspice. Very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Esopus Spitzenberg

    Jefferson's favorite. The best all-purpose American apple.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Granite Beauty

    New Hampshire's native son has a grizzled appearance and a strangely addictive curry flavor. Very, very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hewes Crab

    Makes the best hard cider in America. Soon to be famous.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hidden Rose

    Freak seedling found in an Oregon field in the '60s has pink flesh and a fragrant strawberry snap. Makes a killer rose cider.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Knobbed Russet

    Freak city.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Newtown Pippin

    Ben Franklin's favorite. Queen Victoria's favorite. Only apple native to NYC.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Pitmaston Pineapple

    Really does taste like pineapple.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...