"Climate change is not something we can afford to deny”: President Obama talks on tonight's Years of Living Dangerously finale

Reading time: 3 minutes
9 June 2014

NEW YORK: Tonight the primetime documetary-series, Years of Living Dangerously, will conclude with a candid interview with President Obama on the political response to climate change. In just two weeks the show’s Executive Producer will be taking questions in a live twitter Q&A with The Climate Group.

The documentary series, which has featured political representatives, journalists and celebrities, seeks to re-energize the international climate debate by focusing on the diverse impacts global warming is having worldwide. From Syria’s droughts to Superstorm Sandy, the documentary addresses the tangible reality of climate inaction.

The final episode which airs this evening at 8pm ET, places the spotlight on one of the world’s most influential leaders, US President, Barak Obama.

In what is certain to be the pinnacle of the series, multiple Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Thomas Friedman, conducts the conversation which is notable for the frank, candid insights which Obama proffers.

“It’s frustrating when the science is in front of us. We can argue about how but let’s not argue about what’s going on,” Obama implores.

“The science is compelling. The baseline fact of climate change is not something that we can afford to deny.”

In his New York Times column today, Friedman published excerpts from the interview which indicate that President Obama is committed to tackling global warming and wants to deliver a national price on carbon emissions.

Obama elaborates that one of his main concerns “is how climate change could end up having profound national security implications in poorer countries. We’re obviously concerned about drought in California or hurricanes and floods along our coastlines and the possibility of more powerful storms or more severe droughts. All of those things are bread-and-butter issues that touch on American families. But when you start seeing how these shifts can displace people — entire countries can be finding themselves unable to feed themselves and the potential incidence of conflict that arises out of that — that gets your attention.”

The President continued: “There’s a reason why the quadrennial defense review — [which] the secretary of defense and the Joints Chiefs of Staff work on — identified climate change as one of our most significant national security problems.”

Although tonight’s installment will be the last in the critically acclaimed Years of Living Dangerously project, on June 19 at 12pm EST/5pm BST, Joel Bach, Co-Creator and Executive Producer of the series will be available to take any questions viewers have in a live Twitter Q&A we're hosting this month.

“I'd love to get your reaction to the show: what worked, what didn't, what stories compelled you to take action, who your favorite celebrities and characters were, and what stories we should consider for a Season Two. I also want to discuss what we feel is the single biggest solution to combating climate change,” the producer has said.

The conversation is open to everyone; just tweet any questions to @ClimateGroup using hashtag #YEARSproject.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts. As President Obama recognized: “This is going to be one of the most significant long term challenge, if not the most significant long term challenge, that this country faces and the planet faces.”

Watch a clip from tonight's episode

By Alana Ryan

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