Obama: are you kidding me with the light bulbs?

Written by adam


Everyone has already linked to this tidbit from Newsweek’s election post-mortem, but so what:

> The debates unnerved both candidates. When he was preparing for them during the Democratic primaries, Obama was recorded saying, “I don’t consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, ‘You know, this is a stupid question, but let me…answer it.’ So when Brian Williams is asking me about what’s a personal thing that you’ve done [that’s green], and I say, you know, ‘Well, I planted a bunch of trees.’ And he says, ‘I’m talking about personal.’ What I’m thinking in my head is, ‘Well, the truth is, Brian, we can’t solve global warming because I f—ing changed light bulbs in my house. It’s because of something collective’.”

The quote captures two different kinds of awesome: 1) a smackdown of insipid debate moderators, and 2) a spot-on critique of the trivialization of global warming by a media that would rather focus on politicians’ personal habits.

Now I’ll pass the mic over to Clark Williams-Derry:

> Of course, changing light bulbs is a great thing to do at the personal level. By some accounts, lighting accounts for a fifth of all electricity consumption in the US, and the simple step of screwing in a different kind of light bulb can help make a real dent in household consumption.

> But to make the profound and fundamental progress we really need, our political discourse has to stop treating energy and climate issues as simply matters of lifestyle choice and personal responsibility. Instead, it has to start treating them as systemic problems with systemic (and largely political) solutions. The boring details of energy efficiency standards, carbon pricing, investments in R&D and renewable power: these are the things that will make or break our energy future.

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