[guest post by Dana]
President Obama delivered a speech to UC Irvine’s graduates today in Orange County. His admonition to the class of 2014 was to fight global warming and not allow themselves to be influenced by “a stubborn status quo, people determined to stymie your efforts to bring about change.”
He hoped to “light a fire” underneath the young people so they would then go out and help save our ‘fevered planet’.
“When President Kennedy set us on a course for the moon, there were a number of people who made a serious case that it would be too expensive, that it would take too long,” he said. “But nobody ignored the science. I don’t remember anyone saying the moon wasn’t there, or that it was made of cheese.”
The president also stated that he believed young people have an obligation to act to save the planet because the overwhelming majority of the scientific community has embraced the science behind the warming planet and attributed it to manmade causes.
“The question is not whether we need to act. The overwhelming judgment of science, accumulated and measured and reviewed over decades, has put that to rest,” Obama said. “The question is whether we have the will to act before it’s too late.”
Climate change deniers were also addressed:
“There are some who duck the question by saying, ‘Hey, I’m not a scientist.’ Let me translate that for you: what that means is, ‘I accept that manmade climate change is real, but if I admit it, I’ll be run out of town by a radical fringe that thinks climate science is a liberal plot.”
And, he compared the potential for innovation and economic opportunities provided by the space race launched during the Kennedy era with those now provided because of global warming.
“We need scientists to design new fuels,” he said. “We need farmers to help grow them. We need engineers to invent new technologies. We need entrepreneurs to sell those technologies. We need workers to operate assembly lines that hum with high tech, zero-carbon components. We need builders to hammer into place the clean-energy age.”
“We can do this,” he exhorted the assembled students, but also speaking to the legions of other graduates streaming from U.S. universities this month to start their careers. “We can make a difference. You can make a difference. And the sooner you do, the better.”
And that’s our president, lighting a fire.