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October 24, 2014

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The world we leave to our children

On Tuesday, I unveiled a new national plan to confront climate change. It’s a plan that will reduce carbon pollution to prevent the worst effects of climate change, prepare our country for the effects we can’t stop, and lead the world in combating the growing threat of a changing climate.

Many Americans who already feel the effects of climate change don’t have time to deny it — they’re busy dealing with it. Firefighters are braving longer wildfire seasons. Farmers are seeing crops wilt one year, and wash away the next. Western families are worried about water that’s drying up. And while we know no single weather event is caused solely by climate change, we also know that in an increasingly warmer world, all weather events are affected by it.

The costs of inaction can be measured in lost lives and livelihoods, lost homes and businesses, higher food costs and insurance premiums, and hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency services and disaster relief. So the question is not whether we need to act, but whether we will have the courage to act before it’s too late. And how we answer will have a profound impact on the world we leave to our children, and to future generations.

This plan will cut the dangerous carbon pollution that contributes to climate change. For years, groups like the American Lung Association have warned us that carbon pollution threatens our health and the air our children breathe. We limit the mercury, sulfur, and arsenic in our air and water, but today, there are no federal limits on the amount of carbon pollution that power plants can pump into the air. That’s not safe. So we’ll work with states and businesses to set new standards that put an end to this limitless dumping of carbon.

We’ll encourage our businesses to deploy more clean energy, which will mean less pollution in our air and more jobs for American workers building wind turbines and installing solar panels. And we’ll waste less energy in our cars, homes, and businesses by partnering with truck makers so their next generation of vehicles go farther on a gallon of gas, and by putting people to work building smarter homes, and offices, and appliances that use less electricity, saving you money on your energy bills.

But the hard truth is that even if we do our part, our climate will continue to change for some time. That’s why the second part of this plan will protect key sectors of our economy and prepare the United States for impacts of climate change we can’t avoid. From Maine to Florida to Nevada, states and cities across the country are already taking action. We’ll support these efforts, working with communities to protect homes and businesses and build more resilient infrastructure that can withstand more powerful storms.

Finally, because no nation can tackle this challenge alone, America will lead international efforts to combat a changing climate. We’ll partner with our businesses to help developing countries make the move to cleaner energy, and engage international partners on steps to reduce carbon pollution. We compete for business, but we also share a planet. And we must all shoulder the responsibility for its future.

This is the fight America can and will lead in the 21st century. But it will require all of us, as citizens, to do our part. Scientists and farmers, engineers and businesses, workers and builders all have a role to play. We’ll need to give special care to people and communities unsettled by this transition. And those of us in positions of responsibility will need to be less concerned with the judgment of well-connected donors, and more concerned with the judgment of future generations.

If you agree with me, I ask you to act. Educate your classmates and colleagues, your family and friends. Speak up against the special interests and their allies in Congress. Remind everyone who represents you, at every level of government, that there is no contradiction between a sound environment and a strong economy, and that sheltering future generations against the ravages of climate change is a prerequisite for your vote.

We will be judged as a people, as a society, and as a country by where we go from here. The plan I put forward to reduce carbon pollution and protect our country from the effects of climate change is the path we need to take. And if we remember what’s at stake — the world we leave to our children — I’m convinced that this is a challenge we will meet.

Barack Obama is president of the United States.

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  1. President Obama talks a good game about leaving a legacy to our children. Meanwhile, he is tone deaf to saddling our children and their children with a huge national debt. It is unconscionable and reprehensible. The debt is estimated to be $20 Trillion by the election of 2016, not counting what Obama care will cost Americans because frankly we just don't know yet. That's a one trillion dollar deficit every year of Obama's presidency: President Obama's real legacy.

    Carmine D

  2. It is true that what we do each day of lives, starting with the cradle and ending with the grave affects the future, for not only the children, but those we leave behind, everyone and everything. We must live a life that respects that fact, not only for our environment's ecosystem, but our social environment, something President Obama neglected addressing, with all due respect.

    As Commenter CarmineD suggested, there is also the legacy of the burden of extreme debt of which our nation has yet to control due to the political paranoia of career politicians who refuse to govern because of their reelection concerns. How has that been working out for all of us? Not well, for those living in the United States of America now, and for those in the future. As an older American, it is frightening because of the lack of stability in this country. We now go from one crisis/disaster to the next reacting, rather than proactive planning that looks at the long term.

    This type of political corruption trickles down from high levels of government to the very core of grassroots, down home practices. Americans can recycle and be green all day, all week, all year long, but these efforts are in vain where super powers in other countries are polluting like there is NO tomorrow manufacturing cheap goods they sell us. More pressure must be brought upon them, as not only fining them, but Americans NOT purchasing products made by producers who refuse to be green compliant. A well advertised list needs to come out to make American consumers aware. By doing this, we send a message that it will not be tolerated. If you ever watch Asian television, their population suffer health problems now due to the polution, as evidenced with them wearing masks for protection.

    Global warming and cooling is subject to factors we cannot control, as the effects of deep ocean currents, catastrophic events as super volcanoes or collisions from objects in space. Some weather patterns are an integral part of Earth biocycle. But human impact can be altered to lessen our effect of our contributing or precipitating factors. We can recycle, reuse, reduce. We can utilize green energy, or habits to lessen our carbon footprint. We can be more proactive in family planning, which has a direct impact on consumption. It all starts with US. There is hope.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  3. Ever notice the white lines that are in the sky long after the airplanes that made them are gone? These are called "chemtrails".They are not persistent contrails.One way we know for sure is that the white lines often stop & start again. If this were a jet leaving a contrail behind it, the engines would have to be turned off to stop the production of the contrail.These planes would fall from the sky. What we are seeing is the switching over from an empty tank to a full tank of spray. See Dr. Russell Blaylock's explaination on the chemtrail spraying. He's a neurologist & has much to say about the increases of dimentia /alzheimer's , the aluminum nanoparticles in the chemtrails, & much more. I have spoken with several neighbors & we all agree that our short term memory isn't functioning properly.The legislature recently created an Alzheimers Disease Taskforce. Young Onset Alzheimer's is also on the rise. AD usually affects people over 60. Young Onset is people in their 30's & 40's.