Climate Change Moves to Forefront in Obama’s Second Inaugural Address

President’s affirmation of climate science – more prominent than in the campaign – wins praise from environmental groups.

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Barack Obama said more about climate change in his inauguration speech – and expressed it more forcefully – than he did at any point in the 2012 election campaign and during much of his first term.

Climate change occupied a significant chunk of Monday’s speech, and Obama did not stint on the language, suggesting it was a religious and patriotic duty to deal with the challenge.

“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” Obama said. He made a carefully calibrated appeal to Republicans, situating a transition from fossil fuels to clean energy in a religious and conservative framework of God and constitution.

“That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared,” Obama said.

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The Climate Desk is a journalistic collaboration dedicated to exploring the impact—human, environmental, economic, political—of a changing climate. The partners are The Atlantic, Center for Investigative Reporting, Grist, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Slate, and Wired.