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President Obama Announces
Climate Change Investigation

(a speech President Obama should give on climate change)

By Bill Henderson

17 April, 2009

Hello my fellow Americans. Today I want to announce an innovation that I hope will prove as useful a competition as the baseball season. I want to announce a process that will hopefully get all Americans on the same page about the danger we face - or don't face - from climate change.

A couple of weeks ago my science advisors, cabinet and I received a delegation of some of America's foremost climate scientists. They presented very disturbing evidence strongly suggesting that climate change was happening far quicker and was much more serious than predicted. They presented a convincing argument that climate change was in fact a humanity threatening emergency.

But they didn't ask for a Draconian emission reduction plan - they asked quite reasonably for a Presidential investigation of the real danger to Americans from climate change.

These leading scientists suggested that what was imperative was a robust consensus of all Americans on the real danger of climate change. They suggested that a mobilization of American science could provide a fair, informing process that would marshal all the facts and informing perspectives so that by fall, by the end of the baseball season, and in time to prepare for the important global meeting on climate change in Copenhagen in December, Americans would know climate change as well as they know baseball. Well maybe that's a stretch, but well enough to accurately judge the danger.

I have asked the American Association for the Advancement of Science to develop and implement an innovative peer review science process to provide the most up to date and comprehensive understanding of climate change and the degree of risk, the degree of danger climate change presents, and mitigation strategies needed depending upon the seriousness of the climate change danger.

I've mandated our leading scientific organization to develop an informing, transparent, competitive process and to put this competition of differing scientific evidence up on the Internet in an informing manner so that the country can follow the investigation and so that at it's conclusion no one can be in doubt about the science. The AAAS will reach out to science organizations globally for informing input. They will use digital technology to greatly speed up the peer review process - this has to be a crash program, we've wasted too much time already. They will focus attention on the emerging science and ask the questions that need to be asked.

All scientifically formulated (falsifiable) perspectives will be fairly evaluated. If climate change isn't the result of our use of fossil fuels but is caused by cosmic rays or variations in the Sun's energy - great, then we won't need to reduce our emissions. If the best analysis of projected impacts suggest a begnine rise in temperature - great, but the science I've seen isn't quite that rosy.

But hopefully the analysis of danger, risk and appropriate mitigation will present a course of action that we and the world can do easily and then we will finally get on top of a problem that we have procrastinated upon for far too long.

And if the melting Arctic and methane escaping from melting permafrost or potential drying out of the Amazon are quantified as this tipping point danger, as a profound humanity threatening danger, then all Americans and all those informed globally will know that we have to take emergency action. We'll see. I have great faith in our scientists - that they can rise to this occasion and give us the robust consensus about climate change that we need.

We will fund such an endeavor because we would be sadly negligent if we did not adequately quantify what could be a humanity threatening emergency. We also think that building a strong democracy requires an informed electorate. America has ten of the best and brightest global experts on almost every subject. This type of process could prove invaluable for providing society informing expert opinion on a wide variety of important but presently controversial subjects.

Now I'd like to say that my Cubs were the best team in baseball but it's early in the season and the statistics, the record of all the games played so far, say that the Marlins are presently the best team, best record in both leagues. By World Series time I'm hoping that the Cubs will be that best team, but that's why they play the games and we'll see.

By World Series time you will know how serious - or not - is the climate change danger. All of us will be on the same page on climate change and we can act accordingly. For too long Americans have been fed a diet of questionable information. We're going to improve our diet and get strong as a democracy. We're going to get smarter in meeting the many challenges we face. Yes, we can.

Bill (at)

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