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Letter to Barack Obama 13-05-16 On My Watch

Letter to Barack Obama 13-05-16 On My Watch

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Published by Doug Grandt
Love humanity as you love your family. Avoid calamity - My friend wrote a speech for you. I know you already know it by heart -- it is in your heart. This is your historic, legacy-forging climate change speech (http://bit.ly/Not-on-my-watch)
Love humanity as you love your family. Avoid calamity - My friend wrote a speech for you. I know you already know it by heart -- it is in your heart. This is your historic, legacy-forging climate change speech (http://bit.ly/Not-on-my-watch)

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Published by: Doug Grandt on May 17, 2013
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Douglas A. GrandtP. O. Box 6603Lincoln, NE 68506 President Barack ObamaThe White House1600 Pennsylvania Ave NWWashington, D.C. 20500Re: Love humanity as you love your family. Avoid calamityDear President Obama,My friend wrote a speech for you. I know you already know it by heart -- it is in your heart.This is your historic, legacy-forging climate change speech (
):Good evening my fellow Americans:Tonight I speak to you concerning a matter of the utmost gravity. It is a matter of nationalsecurity. It is a matter of human rights. It is a matter of economic and social well-being. Ispeak to you tonight about a major shift in my approach to climate change.
I am the president but I am also a father.
Last week my younger daughter Sasha cameto me. In science class, she has been learning about climate change. Sasha overheardone of her classmates saying that his parents said that the president was not doing nearlyenough about climate change, that I was playing politics. This classmate's parents wenton to say that I am not providing the forceful leadership necessary and am thereby placingour children and grandchildren at risk.I'll be honest. My first reaction was to be irritated. In mymind, I started to list the policiesmy administration has put in place to mitigate climate change: higher fuel efficiencystandards, incentives to invest in green energies. But then I looked into my daughter'seyes... and I saw tears, and something happened; my rationalizations and justifications fellaway. In that moment of clarity, I admitted to myself that her classmate's parents are right.May 16, 2013
When it comes to addressing climate, I have fallen short, substantially and significantlyshort. But that is about to change. When it comes to this elephant in the living room that Iand Congress and, indeed, most of our leaders and much of our citizenry have beendoing our best to ignore, from this moment forward I say this:
"Not on my watch!"
 As president, I must work with both Houses of Congress in order to bring policy onto law. Icannot simply draw up a program and say, "This is how it is going to be." Compromiseand negotiation are an integral part of the political process. And so what I say tonight willnot automatically become the law of the land. I recognize that. But for too long, in thename of 
, in the name of 
finding a middle ground
, I have avoided a simpleand undeniable truth and in doing so have been doing a grave disservice to the Americanpeople.The truth is this:
Climate change is an emergency.
Right here. Right now. Climatechange presents a clear and present danger to the national interests of the United Statesof America and to the well-being of its citizens. Before I go into details, I want to addressthe notion that there is still uncertainty among the scientists who are studying our climate.I want to make this clear; there is no uncertainty as to whether human activities, especiallythe burning of fossil fuels, are warming our planet. They are. There is no uncertainty as towhether the effects of this warming will be mostly negative. They will be. There is nouncertainty as to whether the longer we go without taking needed action the more peoplewill suffer and the more expensive it will become.
The only uncertainty that remains ishow quickly things will worsen if we do not act now to reduce carbon emissions.
I understand that for many climate change is still a vague and distant phenomenon. For example, you might be aware that the Arctic ice is melting before our eyes; it is simplyvanishing. You might think, "So what? How does that affect myself, my loved ones? Weneed good jobs, we need to pay our mortgages." This is what makes climate change theenormous challenge that it is: To most of us it happens relatively slowly, and even if weare experiencing drought or flooding, we know that droughts and floods have alwayshappened. On a day-to-day level, climate change does not set off our survival alarms.
It is into this breech between our imperfect perceptions and the troubling realitythat climate change represents, that I, as your president and Commander-In-Chief,must step
. As we put more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, our planet warms.The extra heat enters our oceans and our landmasses every minute of every hour of every day. The climate systems upon which we have depended as we have built our nation; where and how we grow our food, where and how we get our drinking water,where and how we build our cities and towns, are slowly being pushed out of balance. Itdoes not happen all at once. It is measured not in weeks or months but in years anddecades. But it is happening and soon, perhaps very soon, we will be looking at basicdestabilization of agricultural production and other systems fundamental to our nationalsecurity and well-being.The climate system is complex and climate science is complicated. I have learned asmuch as I can as quickly as I have been able, but at a certain point I simply have to trustthe scientists. A strange thing has happened in our country recently. The findings of our scientists, these good men and women who devote their lives to investigating andexamining our world in the name of progress and understanding... their findings are beingtreated as a political matter.
It has gotten to the point, where certain high-rankingpoliticians and business people have leveled baseless accusations impugning theintegrity of our scientific community.
I can think of few things more dangerous tothe functioning of a healthy democracy.
President Barack ObamaMay 16, 2013Page 2 of 4
The bottom line is this: Climate change is happening. It is real. What will happen if we donot address it now? It will get worse. It will be more expensive to address later on. Thereis even the possibility that we will lose the ability to manage the situation altogether.
Because of insufficient action on the part of the United States and other nations,humankind is behind the curve when it comes to addressing climate change.
Whatnow are our options?One option is to stay behind the curve. This week, for the first time in at least three millionyears, the carbon dioxide level in our atmosphere
400 parts per million. Threemillion years ago the Earth was seven degrees Fahrenheit warmer than today and presentday New York City, Miami and many coastal cities in the United States and around theworld would have been underwater.Before the use of fossil fuels, these types of temperature rises happened over thousandsof years. But we are changing things much, much more quickly. The
latest findings
puton us on a track for seven degree Fahrenheit warming over pre-industrial temperatures assoon as the 2060s.
As difficult as this may be to grasp, if we stay behind the curve,according to the latest research, my daughters and your children and grandchildrenare looking at a world of "unprecedented heat-waves, severe droughts and major floods." The research goes on to conclude that, "There is no certainty adaptation toa 7 degree warmer world is possible."
 Again, I realize that it is not easy for any of us to wrap our heads around, but the nature of climate change is that the longer it remains unaddressed the more quickly it buildsmomentum. The time to address it is now before the momentum takes the ability tomanage it out of our hands.
Staying behind the curve will mean a much more difficultworld, perhaps an unlivable world, for our children and grandchildren.
But we have another option: We can get ahead of the curve. In 1961, speaking of hisintention to put a man on the moon, John F. Kennedy said, "We mean to be a part of it.We mean to lead it. Our leadership in science and industry, our hopes for peace andsecurity, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, requires us to make this effort; notbecause it is easy, but because it is hard. Because that goal will serve to organize andmeasure the best of our energies and skills."Do we need to create more jobs? Do we want a robust economy? Of course we do. Dowe need to take action to address climate change, to cut carbon emissions and to cr eatesources of low carbon energy? Do we need to get ahead of the curve? We do. Until now, Ihave been on record as saying that I will not sacrifice jobs in the name of addressingclimate change. But, I have been getting this exactly backwards.
Creating jobs andaddressing climate change actually go hand-in-hand.
When the will, resources, creativity and resolve of the American people are focused on agoal, we have shown, repeatedly, that we are capable of greatness. During World War II,we transformed our industrial base, producing jeeps, tanks, ships and planes for the Alliedcause. In 1969, the Apollo program fulfilled John F. Kennedy's promise. The challenge of climate change is no different. And so tonight I am announcing the
Green PatriotProgram
. It is the intention of this program to put us ahead of the curve. We willincentivize a World War II-level build-up of manufacturing in the areas of solar, wind,geothermal and tidal energy as well as the supporting technologies of battery storage andsmart grid capability.I spoke earlier of having two options. We also have two options for funding the GreenPatriot Program. One is a massive build-up of government bureaucracy. Some of myPresident Barack ObamaMay 16, 2013Page 3 of 4

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