US President Barack Obama called for renewed efforts to address climate change and develop alternative energy in his 2013 inaugural address. He did so in the context of urging Americans to work together and pursue important national goals as previous generations did.
“This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience,” Obama maintained. “A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it—so long as we seize it together.”
Like previous inauguration addresses for a US president’s second term, this one listed broad goals that would be difficult to achieve but benefit future generations. They included reforming the federal tax regime, reducing the budget deficit and health care costs, and engaging more frequently with other nations diplomatically to resolve differences instead of going to war.
Obama noted that when it comes to energy and the environment, the American people believe their obligations are not just to themselves, but to all posterity.
“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” he said. “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.”
Obama conceded that the path toward sustainable forms of energy will be long and difficult, but added that the US should lead, instead of resist, the transition from conventional energy sources.
“We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries—we must claim its promise,” he said. “That’s how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure—our forests and waterways; our crop lands and snow-capped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God.”
Most congressional Republicans did not comment as Obama, a Democrat, began his second presidential term. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the US Senate’s ranking minority member, did. He congratulated the president on his inauguration to another four years in office, and wished him well in fulfilling his duty to lead the US at home and abroad during that time.
“The president’s second term represents a fresh start when it comes to dealing with the great challenges of our day; particularly, the transcendent challenge of unsustainable federal spending and debt,” McConnell said.
“Republicans are eager to work with the president on achieving this common goal, and we firmly believe that divided government provides the perfect opportunity to do so,” he declared. “Together, there is much we can achieve.”
Contact Nick Snow at firstname.lastname@example.org.