Following an alternative music fest and futurist fair that took place on the White House’s South Lawn on Monday, Obama informed atmospheric scientist, Katherine Hayhoe and actor Leonardo DiCaprio that they were in a race against time. It’s a fight to reverse the crucial effects of climate change. This hour-long panel discussion came after “Before the Flood”, which is a National Geographic documentary that starred DiCaprio and focused on the climate change. The U.S premiered the show in an attempt to shift the public’s opinion on the issue.
While introducing President Obama and Hayhoe, DiCaprio announced that he and the film’s director, Fisher Stevens planned to have the special release before the upcoming election. “….because after firsthand experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change worldwide, we, like many of you here today, realize that urgent action must be taken”, said the Oscar winner. “We must empower leaders who not only believe in climate change, but are willing to do something about it. The scientific consensus is in, and the argument is now over. If you do believe in climate change, you do not believe in facts, or in science, or empirical truths, and therefore, in my humble opinion, should not be allowed to hold public office.”
Those words led to a great applause from the crowd. Obama endorsed the focus of increasing the fight and becoming more aggressive with global carbon cuts, but he also cautioned that it is essential that incremental steps be taken to make a meaningful progression. Obama recalled how he repeatedly instructed international climate negotiators about better being good. The president realized the frustration amongst activists. Obama went on to say that getting enough better would ultimately lead to the problem being solved.
The president made note of how many Americans are dependent on their vehicles for commuting to work and taking trips across the country. Obama confirmed, “We can’t overnight start having everyone start taking high-speed trains, because we don’t have any high-speed trains to take.” President Obama’s initial reference to impose a carbon tax was supported by cheers from the audience. He did make them aware that this type of act would take time to develop and enacted. The president pointed out that the natural gas usage of Americans should be extracted through fracking. This move has been opposed by a large number of liberal activists, because they see natural gas as being with less greenhouse gases.