Get Energy Smart! NOW!

Blogging for a sustainable energy future.

Get Energy Smart!  NOW! header image 2

MTV Shatters Climate Silence w/serious question to President Obama … and Obama gives a serious response

October 26th, 2012 · 3 Comments

While far from the ‘breaking news’ MTV created with a “boxers vs briefs” question to Bill Clinton, MTV interviewer Sway Calloway did what journalist moderators at the three presidential and one vice-presidential debates were unable (unwilling) to do: ask a quite serious question about climate change.

Until this year global climate change has been discussed in every presidential debate since 1988. It was a big part of your previous campaign but pushed back on the back burner. Given the urgency of the threat, do you feel that we’re moving quickly enough on this issue, number one, and Samantha from New Jersey wants to know what will you do to make it a priority?

And, from President Barack Obama, Calloway received a serious answer from the get-go:

The answer is number one, we’re not moving as fast as we need to

Absolutely true …

And there is a huge contrast in this campaign between myself and Governor Romney

Absolutely true …

I am surprised it didn’t come up in one of the debates.

Terrifyingly true … although President Obama and Vice President Biden literally had hours of opportunities to raise the issue since, after all, it is related to domestic and foreign policy, to budget issues and security, and to energy issues where we had President Obama and Mitt Romney arguing over who was the better friend to fossil fuels. (Hint … Romney did win this but the President made him work for the title.)

There are a lot of things we have done a lot of things in the last four years. We have already doubled the fuel efficiency standards on cars and trucks. … We have doubled clean energy production — wind, solar, biofuels — … The next step is to deal with buildings and really ramp up our efficiency in buildings.

True, true, and true … these are important achievements and plans.


See after the fold for the transcript.

And, consider taking a moment to Thank MTV for breaking the Climate SilenceTRANSCRIPT

SWAY: Until this year global climate change has been discussed in every presidential debate since 1988. It was a big part of your previous campaign but pushed back on the back burner. Given the urgency of the threat, do you feel that we’re moving quickly enough on this issue, number one, and Samantha from New Jersey wants to know what will you do to make it a priority?

OBAMA: The answer is number one, we’re not moving as fast as we need to. And this is an issue that future generations, MTV viewers, are going to have to be dealing with even more than the older generation. So this is a critical issue.

And there is a huge contrast in this campaign between myself and Governor Romney. I am surprised it didn’t come up in one of the debates. Gov. Romney says he believes in climate change. That’s different than a lot of members of his own party that deny it completely. But he’s not sure that man-made causes are the reason. I believe scientists who say we are putting too much carbon emissions into the atmosphere and it’s heating the planet and it’s going to have a severe effect.

There are a lot of things we have done a lot of things in the last four years. We have already doubled the fuel efficiency standards on cars and trucks. That’s the first increase in 30 years in the fuel mileage standards. As a consequence we will be taking huge amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere, even as we’re also saving folks money at the pump and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

We have doubled clean energy production — wind, solar, biofuels — and that means that increasingly people are getting electricity, companies are generating power, without the use of carbon-producing fuels. And that’s helping as well.

The next step is to deal with buildings and really ramp up our efficiency in buildings. If we had the same energy efficiency as Japan, we would cut our energy use by about 20 percent, and that means we’d be taking a whole lot of carbon out of our atmosphere.

And if we do those things, we can meet the targets that I negotiated with other countries in Copenhagen, to bring our carbon emissions down by about 17 percent, even as we’re creating good jobs in these industries.

In order for us to solve the whole problem though, we’re gonna have to have some technological breakthroughs. Because countries like China and India, they’re building coal-power plants and they feel that they have to prioritize getting people out of poverty ahead of climate change. So what we have to do is help them and help ourselves by continuing to put money into research and technology about how do we really get the new sources of power that are going to make a difference.

Tags: 2012 Presidential Election · President Barack Obama · climate change

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 sailrick // Oct 26, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    This is an improvement, but I didn’t like his emphasis on needing new technology breakthroughs. There is so much that can be done with existing technology.

    Better batteries for electric cars and for utility scale storage are areas where breakthrough technology would be a big help in enabling PV solar and wind and low carbon transportation.

    Even those may already have solutions. Envia Systems has developed lithium ion batteries with triple the energy density of existing designs. These would triple the range of an electric car.

    IBM may be able to increase battery energy density 10 fold.

    from their website
    “IBM started the Battery 500 project in 2009 to develop a new type of lithium-air battery technology that is expected to improve energy density tenfold, dramatically increasing the amount of energy these batteries can generate and store. Today, IBM researchers have successfully demonstrated the fundamental chemistry of the charge-and-recharge process for lithium-air batteries.”

    A group at MIT have developed large scale batteries for utility scale storage that are supposed to be inexpensive. Liquid Metal batteries. There’s a TED talk on them, you can watch online.

    I’m all for funding research, but it should not be an excuse to not deploy current technology in solar and wind.

  • 2 Quiet Spell (threat to New York City from "Frankenstorm" Sandy increases) || Conservation Minnesota // Oct 27, 2012 at 4:34 am

    [...] To President Obama, And Obama Gives A Serious Response. Here’s an excerpt from an article at getenergysmart.com: “…And, from President Barack Obama, Calloway received a serious answer from the get-go: [...]

  • 3 "No Weather" for Minnesota (1 in 100 year storm brewing for metro New York?) || Conservation Minnesota // Oct 28, 2012 at 4:19 am

    [...] To President Obama, And Obama Gives A Serious Response. Here’s an excerpt from an article at getenergysmart.com: “…And, from President Barack Obama, Calloway received a serious answer from the get-go: [...]

Leave a Comment