Obama over klimaatverandering

I think it makes sense for us to spend less on wars and more on research and development. In sectors like energy, I haven’t been arguing for more spending per se; I’ve been arguing that it doesn’t make sense for us to spend $4 billion subsidizing an oil industry that’s mature and very profitable. We should be using that money to finance clean energy of the future.

My primary focus is going to continue to be on the economy, on immigration, on climate change and energy.

Well, it’s a cliché, but it’s obviously true that for any parent, as you watch your kids age, you are reminded that everything you do has to have their futures in mind. You fervently hope they’re going to outlive you; that the world will be better for them when you’re not around. You start thinking about their kids.

And so, on an issue like climate change, for example, I think for this country and the world to ask some very tough questions about what are we leaving behind, that weighs on you. And not to mention the fact I think that generation is much more environmentally aware than previous generations.

There is that sense of we’ve got to get this right, and at least give them a fighting chance. In the same way that as a parent you recognize that no matter what you do, your kids are going to have challenges — because that’s the human condition — but you don’t want them dealing with stuff that’s the result of you making bad choices. They’ll have enough bad choices that they make on their own that you don’t want them inheriting the consequences of bad choices that you make. We have to think about that as a society as a whole.

And so when we think about getting our fiscal house in order, when we think about climate change, when we think about the kind of economy that they’ll be inheriting and what opportunities they have, again, taking the long view is something that I’m constantly pushing for. And that’s particularly challenging in this job where your inbox of immediate crises are always coming at you. And that’s been even more true over the last four years than it has I think for most Presidents. I mean, obviously, we’ve had a lot incoming, and so there’s a temptation to just deal with the next immediate thing as opposed to thinking about what kind of impact are we going to have 20 years from now.

Interview in Time, 19 december 2012.

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