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 »
WOULD BE FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMAN IN LEADERSHIP
Barbara Lee to Run for House Dem Caucus Chair
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland, one of the party’s most outspoken progressive voices, will formally launch her campaign Monday to chair the House Democratic Caucus — a post that would make her the first African-American woman to hold a leadership spot in either major political party."

Source:
"YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES"
Trump Directs All-Caps Tweet at Iranian President
3 hours ago
THE LATEST
"SEX PEST"
BBC Documentary Explores Trump's Sexual Past
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

A new short film by the BBC, which premiered in the U.S. this weekend, explores the question of whether President Trump sexually harassed women in the 1980s and 1990s. Witnesses say they saw the president at cocaine-fueled parties harassing women as young as 17.

Source:
JUST AS SENATE VOTES ITS DISAPPROVAL
Trump Backtracks on Putin's "Incredible Offer"
3 days ago
THE LATEST
ARMS CONTROL, SYRIA WERE DISCUSSED
Russians Refer to "Verbal Agreements" with Trump
4 days ago
THE LATEST

"Two days after President Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, Russian officials offered a string of assertions about what the two leaders had achieved. 'Important verbal agreements' were reached at the Helsinki meeting, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, told reporters in Moscow Wednesday, including preservation of the New Start and INF agreements," and cooperation in Syria.

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