Climate Change Inaction

History will not look kindly on our response to climate change. Vox recently posted a video showing the inactions (and hypocrisies) of many leaders as the Earth has grown hotter.

Here are highlights:

June 2006

Former Vice President Al Gore: “I’ve been trying to tell this story for 30 years, and the dominant experience I’ve had is seeing the new evidence come in at first month by month and week by week. Now there are studies everyday practically, and it just keeps getting clearer and stronger.”

January 2007

President George W. Bush: “America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil, and these technologies will help us be better stewards of the environment. They will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change.”

April 2007

Congressman Newt Gingrich: “The evidence is sufficient that we should move towards the most effective possible steps to reduce carbon loading in the atmosphere.”

June 2007

Mayor Rudy Giuliani: “Well, I think we have to accept the view that scientists have. There is global warming and that human operation, and that human condition, contributes to that. I think that the risks of climate change are real and that you’re seeing climate change. I think human activity is contributing to that.”

December 2007

Katie Couric: “Why has it taken so long, Senator?”

Senator John McCain: “Special interests. It’s the special interests. It’s the utility companies and the petroleum companies and the other special interests. They’re the ones that have blocked progress in the Congress of the United States and in the administration. That’s a little Straight Talk.”

December 2007

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi: “We don’t always see eye to eye. Do we, Newt?”

Congressman Newt Gingrich: “No, but we do agree our country must take action to address climate change.”

September 2008

Governor Sarah Palin: “I believe that man’s activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming — climate change. Here in Alaska, the only Arctic state in our union of course, we see the effects of climate change more so than any other area.”

January 2009

Congressman John Boehner: “I think most members think that climate change is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. The question is ‘How do you address it’, and we’ve never gotten into the the debate and the discussion about the consequences of trying to deal with it.”

January 2009

President Barack Obama: “We need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy, so I asked this Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America.”

June 2009

Scott Simon, NPR: “A sweeping climate change bill that’s a top item on President Obama’s agenda passed narrowly in the House of Representatives last night.”

David Welna, NPR: “Only eight Republicans cross the aisle to vote with most Democrats for the bill. 44 Democrats joined most Republicans in voting against it.”

June 2009

Fox News Reporter: “Stolen emails from top researchers were posted online. Global warming skeptics saying those emails suggest that scientists may have worked together to manipulate global warming data. Defenders say those emails are being used out of context.”

December 2009

BBC Reporter: “President Obama has said that people are justified in being disappointed by the outcome of the Copenhagen climate change conference last week. In an interview on US television, Mr. Obama acknowledged that nothing had been done to achieve a significant cut in greenhouse gases, but he said that the non-binding agreement reached in Denmark was better than nothing.”

March 2010

PBS Reporter: “Top US scientists urged drastic action today to slow global warming. For the first time the National Academy of Sciences called for a specific change in climate policy. It recommended a carbon tax on fossil fuels or a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions.”

June 2010

David Catanese, Politico Reporter: “Senate Democrats pushed the climate bill off the table and into a very uncertain future ahead of November’s midterm elections.”

Senator Joe Manchin: “I’ll take dead aim at the cap-and-trade bill.”

October 2010

CNN Reporter: “The Republican takeover of the house is likely to change the political climate on the issue of global warming.”

November 2010

CNN Reporter: “It is safe to say that the president’s cap-and-trade legislation, that whole idea, is virtually dead.”

December 2010

Bret Baier, Fox News Reporter: Republicans say they will scrap the Select Committee on global warming. Speaker-Designate John Boehner called the panel, “A forum to promote Democrats job-killing national energy tax also known as cap-and-trade.”

May 2011

Governor Chris Christie: “But when you have over 90% of the world scientists who have studied this stating that climate change is occurring and that humans play a contributing role, it’s time to defer to the experts.”

September 2011

Jon Huntsman: “When you make comments that fly in the face of 98 out of 100 climate scientists, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I am saying is that in order for the Republican Party to win, we can’t run from science.”

October 2011

Governor Mitt Romney: “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet, and the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try and reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.”

August 2012

Heather Holmes, Reporter: “The White House today finalized new gas mileage standards that would eventually double the fuel efficiency of new cars and trucks to an average fifty four and a half miles per gallon by 2025.”

August 2012

Governor Mitt Romney (now GOP presidential candidate): “President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.”

September 2012

PBS Reporter: “Seventy-four percent of US Senate Republicans publicly questioned the science of global warming.”

June 2013

President Barack Obama: “But this is a challenge that does not pause for partisan gridlock. It demands our attention now.”

January 2014

Congressman Newt Gingrich: “The age of the dinosaurs was dramatically warmer than this is right now, and it didn’t cook the planet. In fact, life is fine.”

February 2014

Reporter: “You convinced the climate change is man-made?”

Governor Mike Pence: “Well, I don’t know that that is a resolved issue in science today.”

May 2014

Reporter: “You do not think that human activity, that the production of CO2, has caused warming?”

Senator Marco Rubio: “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it.”

May 2014

Chris Hayes, MSNBC Commentator: “Do you believe in man-made climate change? Democrats 83% say yes. Republicans 36% say yes. It is now as more divisive than abortion.”

November 2014

Amy Goodman, Journalist: “The world’s top climate panel has issued its strongest appeal to date on the need to stop global warming. In a new report the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive, and irreversible impacts.”

March 2015

Senator Ted Cruz: “Satellite data demonstrate for the last 17 years there’s been zero warming. None whatsoever.”

May 2015

Senator John McCain: We are seeing these horrible reports on Palmyra. They’re executing people and leaving their bodies in the streets. Meanwhile, the President of the United States is saying that the biggest enemy we have is climate change.

December 2015

Joe Scarborough: “We’ve had one record-setting year after another as far as the heat on this planet.”

Governor Chris Christie: “I don’t buy that, Joe.”

Joe Scarborough: “What did mean you don’t buy it?”

Governor Chris Christie: “I just don’t buy the fact that it’s a crisis. I don’t buy the fact that it’s a crisis. I just don’t.”

December 2015

Presidential Candidate Donald Trump: “I think that there’ll be little change here. It’ll go up. It’ll get a little cooler, get a little warmer like it always has for millions of years. It’ll get cooler. It’ll get warmer. It’s called weather. I think it’s a big scam for a lot of people to make a lot of money.”

December 2015

President Barack Obama: “In my first inaugural address, I committed this country to the tireless task of combating climate change and protecting this planet for future generations. Two weeks ago in Paris, I said before the world that we needed a strong global agreement to accomplish this goal. An enduring agreement that reduces global carbon pollution and sets the world on a course to a low-carbon future. A few hours ago, we succeeded.”

January 2016

CBS Reporter: “Feeling the heat? So is planet Earth. Federal scientists announced today that 2015 was the warmest year on record with land and ocean temperatures nearly 2 degrees above average.”

February 2016

Bret Baier, Fox News Reporter: “A major setback tonight for President Obama’s climate change initiatives.”

PBS Reporter: “The US Supreme Court stepped in to put the centerpiece of President Obama’s Climate Change agenda on hold pending the outcome of judicial appeals in the lower courts.”

May 2016

CNN Reporter: “Trump’s statement comes just a couple days after he released his first energy plan he says. He would quote ‘Cancel the Paris Climate Deal and promote more fossil fuels in the United States.’”

September 2016

Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton: “Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. I think it’s real.”

October 2016

Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton: “Please — we cannot keep sending climate deniers and defeatist to Congress or state houses and certainly not to the White House.”

October 2016

Lester Holt, NBC Anchor: “NASA and NOAA scientists today declared 2016 the hottest year on record.”

January 2017

CBS Reporter: “Out of the 17 hottest years on record, 16 have occurred since 2000.”

June 2017

President Donald Trump: “The United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.”

October 2018

Jim Skea, Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change: ”The message is over to governments at this stage. We’ve told you the scientific facts, the evidence, the costs. It is up to the governments now to decide what to do with it.”