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Must-read Obama Speech Warns of "Irreversible Catastrophe" from Climate Change

In a rousing speech Obama makes it clear that "no single issue is as fundamental to our future as energy."

Obama delivered a stirring speech today on his decision to push for California waiver that mandates cut in auto CO2 emissions.

The President has no doubts about the "irreversible catastrophe" we face on our current emissions path -- " violent conflict, terrible storms, shrinking coastlines” -- which is no doubt why he chose John Holdren to be his science adviser see " Obama’s strongest message on climate yet").

For those who misunderstood his inaugural call to action on energy and climate, "Each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet," his speech today should make clear that he is deadly serious about addressing the most deadly serious threat we face (full text here):

These are extraordinary times, and it calls for swift and extraordinary action.

At a time of such great challenge for America, no single issue is as fundamental to our future as energy.

America’s dependence on oil is one of the most serious threats that our nation has faced. It bankrolls dictators, pays for nuclear proliferation and funds both sides of our struggle against terrorism. It puts the American people at the mercy of shifting gas prices, stifles innovation, and sets back our ability to compete.

These urgent dangers to our national and economic security are compounded by the long-term threat of climate change, which, if left unchecked, could result in violent conflict, terrible storms, shrinking coastlines, and irreversible catastrophe.

These are the facts, and they are well-known to the American people. After all, there is nothing new about these warnings. Presidents have been sounding the alarm about energy dependence for decades.

President Nixon promised to make our energy -- our nation energy independent by the end of the 1970s. When he spoke, we imported about a third of our oil, and we now import more than half.

Year after year, decade after decade, we’ve chosen delay over decisive action. Rigid ideology has overruled sound science. Special interests have overshadowed common sense. Rhetoric has not led to the hard work needed to achieve results and our leaders raise their voices each time there’s a spike on gas prices, only to grow quiet when the price falls at the pump.

Now America has arrived at a crossroads. Embedded in American soil, in the wind and the sun, we have the resources to change. Our scientists, businesses and workers have the capacity to move us forward.

It falls on us to choose whether to risk the peril that comes with our current course or to seize the promise of energy independence. And for the sake of our security, our economy and our planet, we must have the courage and commitment to change.

It will be the policy of my administration to reverse our dependence on foreign oil while building a new energy economy that will create millions of jobs.

And we hold no illusion about the task that lies ahead. I cannot promise a quick fix. No single technology or set of regulations will get the job done.

But we will commit ourselves to steady, focused, pragmatic pursuit of an America that is freed from our energy dependence and empowered by a new energy economy that puts millions of our citizens to work.

Today I’m announcing the first steps on our journey toward energy independence, as we develop new energy, set new fuel efficiency standards and address greenhouse gas emissions.

Each step begins to move us in a new direction, while giving us the tools that we need to change.

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