Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Maybe the Best Speech I Have Ever Heard

I usually can't stand political speeches, full of false words and sanctimony, but President Obama's State of the Union speech tonight was one of the best, most straight ahead, most hopeful speeches I have ever heard. This is his last SOTU, and he knew he was free to say whatever he wanted, and he did. I thought this was especially good:

From the Huffington Post:
President Barack Obama dissed those who deny the science around climate change during his last State of the Union address.
"Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it," Obama said. "You’ll be pretty lonely, because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it."
Obama touched on the topic while speaking on innovation, saying we need to tap into the "spirit of discovery" in order to solve some of "our biggest challenges."
"Sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn’t deny Sputnik was up there," Obama said. "We didn’t argue about the science, or shrink our research and development budget. We built a space program almost overnight, and twelve years later, we were walking on the moon."


David in Cal said...

The excerpt criticizes a straw man. It did a better job of attacking political adversaries than at explaining science.

It pretends that belief in climate change is binary: Either one believes that climate isn't changing at all, or one believes it's
-- changing
-- catastrophically,
-- due to man's activity; and
-- the steps proposed in Paris and by Obama will save us.

In fact, the real debates are over more subtle issues, such as:
-- the magnitude of man's contribution to warming (sensitivity)
-- the impacts of global warming, both good and bad
-- the effectiveness of various steps being taken to reduce CO2 emissions
-- whether some of the science is badly done
-- whether some good science is being ignored
-- the level of uncertainty in all these beliefs
-- whether the resources spent on CO2 reductions would be better spent in other ways.
-- whether it's feasible to prevent atmospheric CO2 concentration from continuing to rise, under today's technology.


Layzej said...

He covered all of these "controversies". He didn't just dismiss those who object to radiative physics, but also those who want to dispute the science around climate change.

Oale said...

"Politicians are usually more honest at the end of their term", Julius Caesar after giving an excecution order to a couple of senate members.

David Appell said...

David in Cal: Obama's SOTU speech was certainly NOT the place to get deep into the weeds of climate science.

And stop acting like your questions haven't been addressed.