Obama Mocks GOP’s Latest Talking Point on Climate Change

During a commencement speech in California, the president took aim at some lawmakers’ “I’m not a scientist” strategy.

National Journal
Ben Geman
Add to Briefcase
Ben Geman
June 14, 2014, 1:55 p.m.

President Obama took aim Saturday at the trend of Republicans citing their absence of scientific credentials as a reason to avoid questions about global warming.

Obama even compared them unfavorably to the many other Republicans who reject the overwhelming verdict of scientists that human-induced climate change is real.

“Today’s Congress … is full of folks who stubbornly and automatically reject the scientific evidence about climate change. They’ll tell you it is a hoax, or a fad,” Obama said at a commencement address at the University of California (Irvine).

“Now, their view may be wrong — and a fairly serious threat to everybody’s future — but at least they have the brass to say what they actually think. There are some who also duck the question. They say — when they’re asked about climate change, they say, ‘Hey, look, I’m not a scientist.’ And I’ll translate that for you. What that really means is, ‘I know that man-made climate change really is happening, but if I admit it, I’ll be run out of town by a radical fringe that thinks climate science is a liberal plot, so I’m not going to admit it,’” Obama said.

Obama didn’t name-check any specific lawmakers. But his comments arrive two weeks after House Speaker John Boehner deflected a question about whether climate change is a problem by saying, “Listen, I’m not qualified to debate the science over climate change.” Boehner then alleged that EPA rules to curb power plants’ carbon emissions would hurt the economy.

Boehner’s comment arrived a couple days after GOP Florida Gov. Rick Scott said, “I’m not a scientist” in deflecting a question about whether human-induced climate change is real.

The “not a scientist” line isn’t entirely new, however. Sen. Marco Rubio, who has recently spoken a fair amount about his climate skepticism, used it as far back as 2009, before he was elected.

Obama, in his speech Saturday, also announced the National Disaster Resilience Competition.

Under the roughly $1 billion program, communities that have been hit with natural disasters can compete for money to “help them rebuild and increase their resilience to future disasters,” according to a White House summary.

The money will be made available through the Housing and Urban Development Department using existing funds.

The White House said that $820 million will be available for states and local governments that were struck by a “presidentially declared major disaster” in 2011, 2012, or 2013. States specifically affected by Hurricane Sandy can compete for a separate pot of around $180 million to address “critical housing needs,” the White House said.

What We're Following See More »
POTENTIAL CONTEMPT CHARGE
Nadler: Goodlatte Could Subpoena Rosenstein
4 days ago
THE LATEST

"The top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee says Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., is poised to subpoena the Justice Department for former FBI Director James Comey’s memos, which the agency so far has failed to produce. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., warned such a move puts Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in jeopardy of being placed in contempt of Congress and the special counsel investigation of being shut down prematurely."

Source:
NO NEW FUNDING INCLUDED
House Ag Committee Passes Farm Bill
4 days ago
THE DETAILS
"On a party-line vote, the House Agriculture Committee approved a five-year farm bill on Wednesday that tweaks the supports now in place—a promise of certainty, leaders said, during a period of low commodity prices and threats of a trade war with agriculture on the front line." The bill includes no new funding over the last farm bill.
Source:
WOULD ASSURE ANYONE PARDONED BY TRUMP CAN BE PROSECUTED BY STATE
Schneiderman Urges NY Lawmakers to Close “Double Jeopardy Loophole”
4 days ago
THE LATEST
INTRO’d LAST NIGHT
Ryan Tamps Down AUMF Talk
5 days ago
THE LATEST

Referring to the AUMF introduced by Sens. Tim Kaine and Bob Corker Monday evening, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday "he won’t allow any bill to come to the House floor that he thinks would restrict military commanders’ ability to fight." Ryan "defended the legality of U.S. military strikes last week against chemical weapons-related sites in Syria, saying President Trump had the authority to order them under the Constitution’s Article II commander-in-chief powers."

PROSECUTORS WILL GET FIRST LOOK
Judge Denies Requests by Cohen, Trump
6 days ago
THE LATEST

Attorneys for both President Trump and his attorney Michael Cohen lost a court challenge today, as they sought to suppress evidence gathered in a raid of Cohen's office and hotel room. "U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood denied the requests and ruled that prosecutors will get first access to the information, followed by Cohen’s defense team ten days later. Wood noted that she has not yet decided whether she will appoint a special master in the case at all."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login