11/08/2013 05:24 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Climate Chatter, Issue 12

climate chatter Top: British Columbia's Environment Minister Mary Polak, Ore. Gov. John Kitzhaber, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee and Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown join forces to fight climate change. Bottom: President Obama rallies for Terry McAuliffe (not his rival Ken Cuccinelli). Former Australian Prime Minister John Brown from a few years ago. (Photo credits from L to R:,, Flickr/tom.lubbock)

A continuing series on what folks in the public sphere have said about climate change in recent days. In this political season of November 2013, are the thoughts on climate change being articulated by politicians, their advisers, and others prescient prediction or wishful thinking? Or what?

quotation marksYou are witnessing an historic, small, but powerful step. It's only the beginning. You watch. Next year and the year after that and the year after that, this will spread until finally we get a real handle and grasp on what is the world's greatest existential challenge.  
--Calif. Governor Jerry Brown after signing the West Coast Climate Compact between California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia that puts a price on greenhouse gas emissions and mandates the use of cleaner-burning fuels
quotation marksWhile the process in Washington, D.C., is strangled by climate deniers, there is no denying the fact that the West Coast is rip-roaring and ready to go.  
--Wash. Governor Jay Inslee
quotation marksIt doesn't create jobs when you go after scientists, and you try to offer your own alternative theories of how things work and engage in litigation around stuff that isn't political. ... It has to do with what's true. It has to do with facts. You don't argue with facts.  
--President Obama obliquely referring to Va. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a climate skeptic (see also here and here), during a rally for Terry McAuliffe, then-gubernatorial candidate and now governor-elect of Virginia
And perhaps to illuminate the global perspective of the issue, here is a pair of, shall we say, before-and-after tidbits from the former Aussie prime minister.
quotation marksI don't know whether all of the warnings about global warming are true or not. ... You can never be absolutely certain that all the science is in. ... I am unconvinced that catastrophe is around the corner. I don't disregard what scientists say. I just don't accept all of the alarmist conclusions. ...I instinctively feel that some of the claims are exaggerated.  
--Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard in a speech delivered at the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London this week
quotation marksI think it is important to keep the challenge of climate change in perspective. ... Although I have been accused and continue to be accused of being somewhat of sceptic on the issue, the truth is I'm not that sceptical, I think the weight of scientific evidence suggests that there are significant and damaging growths in the levels of greenhouse gas emissions and that unless we lay the foundation over the years immediately ahead of us to deal with the problem, future generations will face significant penalties and will have cause to criticise our failure to do something substantial in response.  
--Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard in 2006 in the heat of his run to continue as prime minister

My how times change.

Other Editions

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 1

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 2

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 3

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 4

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 5

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 6

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 7

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 8

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 9

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 10

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 11

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