3 Reasons Obama’s University of California at Irvine Commencement Address on Climate Change Was Inappropriate

Washington, D.C. – National Center for Public Policy Research Chairman Amy Ridenour has the following statements regarding President Obama’s commencement speech at the University of California at Irvine on climate change:

It was inappropriate for President Obama to use his commencement address at the University of California at Irvine for a divisive speech promoting his own views on climate change. Here’s why:

  • He hijacked other people’s commencement to promote his own views on a contentious issue, no doubt leaving some of the graduates who hold differing views angry and frustrated on an occasion that is supposed to be in their honor.
  • The leader of the country should not be mocking its citizenry, and if an exception is made to this rule it should be either good-natured ribbing or reserved for partisan events where said leader is speaking as the head of his political party, not as leader of the entire country.
  • If President Obama nonetheless was determined to break the above rules of etiquette, tradition and propriety, he should have done a better job of it. Parts of his speech made no sense, and nothing he said was likely to persuade a catastrophic global warming theory fence-sitter to the President’s point of view. Thus, the President insulted people, sowed division and hijacked an important ceremony in other people’s lives for no gain to anyone, including himself and his agenda.

On that last point, Ridenour also elaborated on the content of the President’s remarks:

The President said, “So the question is not whether we need to act. The overwhelming judgment of science, accumulated and measured and reviewed over decades, has put that question to rest.”

Proper science doesn’t rest on “judgments,” even multiple judgments that someone somehow “measures.” It finds proof.

The President said, “The 18 warmest years on record have all happened since you graduates were born.”

Our temperature records are very short, and a 16-year period of warming ended about the time today’s high school graduates were born. The President could just as accurately said there hasn’t been any warming since Bill Clinton was President and that one of his own agencies released data this month showing the United States has cooled slightly over the last decade, but that didn’t fit his political agenda.

The President said, “Out West, firefighters brave longer, harsher wildfire seasons; states have to budget for that. Mountain towns worry about what smaller snowpacks mean for tourism. Farmers and families at the bottom worry about what it will mean for their water. In cities like Norfolk and Miami, streets now flood frequently at high tide. Shrinking icecaps have National Geographic making the biggest change in its atlas since the Soviet Union broke apart.”

If this is the best evidence the President has for the catastrophic global warming theory, it’s a wonder he can say he believes in it with a straight face. Wildfires are affected by many circumstances, and did the President not notice that it snowed a lot last winter? Sea levels have been rising for thousands of years, and the fall of the Soviet Union was only 23 years ago, not even a blink in climate terms. And, by the way, global sea ice is approaching record high levels. Give it up, Mr. President, if this is all you’ve got.

Columnist Mark Sappenfield of the Christian Science Monitor wrote Sunday that 43 percent of all Americans don’t agree with President Obama on climate change, and so with this speech, “Obama is doing more than blowing a raspberry [at] a recalcitrant Congress. He’s poking fun at almost half of America.” Mr. Sappenfield is exactly right.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, three percent from foundations, and three percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors. Contributions are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.



The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.