News Release

Obama Climate Change Action Goes “Nowhere Near Far Enough”

President Obama unveiled the latest piece of his plan to combat climate change on Monday. However, in “Obama Wants You to Think His Climate Plan Is Bold. It’s Not,” Slate notes: “Last week, former NASA climate scientist James Hansen, fresh off a dire new warning about global sea levels, had harsh words for the slow, incremental progress that’s formed essentially the entirety of American’s climate ambition to date. ‘We have two political parties, neither one of which is willing to face reality,’ Hansen told the Guardian. ‘Conservatives pretend it’s all a hoax, and liberals propose solutions that are non-solutions.’”

DAPHNE WYSHAM, daphne.wysham at gmail.com, @daphnewysham
Wysham is director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Center for Sustainable Economy. Her writings, commentary and analysis have appeared in national news publications including the New York TimesWall Street JournalWashington Postand The Nation.

Wysham said of Obama’s plan: “If Obama truly wants to leave behind an impressive climate change legacy, he needs to 1) withdraw Shell’s permit to drill in the Arctic; 2) end all new fossil fuel infrastructure projects across the U.S.; 3) ensure that all targets and timetables for greenhouse gas emissions reductions are in sync with what the climate science requires, which would get the U.S. to zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050; 4) begin a World War II-type mobilization toward a 100 percent renewable energy economy; and 5) make the polluters, not the American people, pay for the significant costs of climate change adaptation and mitigation.”

EVAN WEBER, evan at usclimateplan.org, @evanlweber
Weber is the co-founder of U.S. Climate Plan. He said today: “With the release of the final Clean Power Plan — this administration’s landmark climate action — it’s abundantly clear that President Obama’s climate policies won’t be enough to protect us from the threat of a radically warmed world. It’s time to create our own power plan: a plan to build the political power in every community to show the demand for strong government action to transition us away from all fossil fuels once and for all. That includes moving us away from climate-warming natural gas, which we’re afraid the President’s policies still unduly favor. We, the people, are our only hope for climate justice. It’s up to us to our generation to build power from the bottom up in every state across the country to win back our governments — and our future — from the fossil fuel industry.”

MIA REBACK, mia at 350pdx.org, @miareback 
Reback is a climate justice activist and 350PDX community organizer. Today she talked with Portland Mayor Charlie Hales just before Hales met with President Obama to discuss his Clean Power Plan. Reback said she asked the Mayor to convey to Obama that the plan was a step in the right direction. She also wanted Hales to discuss with the President his decision to let Shell drill in the Arctic.

“I appealed to Hales to ask the president to reverse his stance on Arctic drilling. Approving a new large-scale fossil fuel development, like Shell’s proposed Arctic drilling, is reckless and puts American people at risk. Obama should rescind Shell’s permit to drill in the Arctic.”