Begin forwarded message:
From: "Davis, Julie" >
Date: September 1, 2016 at 9:43:00 PM HST
To: "Gabriel, Brian" >
Subject: Travel pool report #11, 9/1/16, Midway POTUS interview and LID
Travel Pool Report #11, 9/2/16 – Obama interview on Midway
During the president’s visit to Midway, your co-pooler conducted a brief interview with President Obama on the porch of Clipper House, a white wooden structure that serves as the cafeteria for staff on the island and overlooks lush green vegetation, white sand and cyan waters that appear to stretch forever to the horizon. Here is a transcript of his remarks:
On mobilizing the nation against the unseen threats of climate change_
Part of what we’ve been trying to do is provide some visual aid to understanding what’s happening, so when I visited Alaska, showing villages that are already being overwhelmed and having to move because of rising sea levels and changes in ocean patterns. When we come here, being able to highlight the incredible beauty of a place like this but also recognizing that if oceans continue to get warmer, that a lot of the marine species here could be affected and ultimately that’s going to have an impact on human populations, so it’s tough. The good news is that we’ve seen greater and greater awareness of the problem and what we now have is five, six, eight years of evidence that we can grow the economy faster than anybody else, we can create more jobs than anybody else, and curb our carbon emission more than anybody else, and so I think the average American wants to see us tackle these problems. It’s not at the very top of their list, but if they feel as if through smart policy, they can continue to see a rising standard of living and their economic concerns addressed while still helping address climate change, that’s going to be the direction that they want us to go in, and it’s my job and other leaders’ jobs to help present the kinds of ideas and strategies that can help us prosper and preserve.
On whether he wants to make climate change a big part of his life and work after the White House and play a role in the debate_
I do. I think that this is something that I will continue to be concerned about. I think anybody who has the megaphone that even an ex-president has needs to be working on this and raising awareness. One of the things that I probably can do best is, in addition to shining a spotlight, helping citizens who are concerned about this to mobilize and shape political strategies so that on a bipartisan basis, we can be more effective in dealing with these challenges. My hope is maybe as ex-president, I can have a little more influence on some of my Republican friends who, I think up until now have been resistant to the science and argue to them that if the private sector and the business community is embracing an agenda of clean energy and dealing with climate change effectively and insurers are pricing how they think about flooding and hurricanes and drought and wildfires based on projections that we’re seeing of climate change then there’s no reason why this is something that should be a partisan issue. This is something that all of us are going to have to tackle and maybe I get a little more of a hearing if I’m not occupying a political office.
On advice to his successor on making progress and keeping the issue from becoming so partisan_
I think you stay with it and I think you make sure that you tell a story of previous success. Part of what I constantly want to emphasize is we’ve seen our ability to preserve the environment while still growing the economy. The Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act transformed parts of the United States, urban and rural, that a lot of people had written off, whether it’s the Cuyahoga or LA smog or acid rain in the Northeast, or more spectacularly a hole in the ozone way above our heads that’s now actually healing itself in part because of steps that we took back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. So we have to have confidence in our ability to solve these problems. We’ve done it before; there’s no reason why we can’t do it this time.
Julie Hirschfeld Davis
White House Correspondent
The New York Times
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