Not a newsflash: Barack Obama has not been the climate champion many had hoped he would be. For a president who described his taking office as "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal," he's been remarkably content to make virtually no headway towards passing policy that would make that happen.
Obama's biggest sin has been that of disengagement -- he has failed to make the case for addressing climate change (by pricing carbon or otherwise) and uninvolved himself from the legislative process that would have done so. He's been content to sit on the sidelines. He's minced words on climate, largely skirting the issue in the public eye. His address to the nation on energy barely made mention of global warming. He'd rather not risk stoking the supposed flames of controversy than take steps toward substantive action on what is likely the world's most pressing threat.But every now and then, we see a flicker of Obama the campaigning candidate, and it reminds us that he still very much understands the threat of climate change. Here, for instance, watch Obama address Australian parliament, which just passed a nationwide carbon tax (via Climate Crocks):
“We need growth that is sustainable," Obama says, "and this includes the clean energy that creates green jobs, and combats climate change – which cannot be denied.” He even goes on to note examples of recent extreme weather events that scientists say will become more frequent as climate change continues, and finishes by noting that "as countries with large carbon footprints, the United States and Australia have a special responsibility to lead.”
Every time Obama talks a strong, sensible climate game like this, you can't help but get your hopes up that he'll turn the rhetoric towards the nation he governs--where the need to rein in greenhouse gas pollution is greater than anywhere.