President Obama will be hosting a Leaders’ Summit on Refugees next week. The crisis in Syria will no doubt take center stage, with ISIS (also known as Daesh) and Bashar al-Assad being widely discussed. But how much focus will be put on the historic drought that precipitated the Syrian refugees fleeing their homes? Will climate change be discussed as a leading cause of both current and, especially, future waves of refugees?
Will the president once again acknowledge our country’s central role in creating the kind of climate change that is making such droughts and unusual climatic events more common? Will he again state that the US therefore has a unique obligation to lead the world out of this crisis?
Will he highlight his new guidelines that apply a climate test to projects that need approval from the federal government? Will he suggest that such a climate test be adopted by other countries?
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Will he say that the climate test should be applied to the Dakota Access pipeline? Will he stop that pipeline? Or will he let it get built, setting up a situation where Native Americans may once again be forced to relocate, this time because their drinking water source becomes undrinkable?
Will he end his eight years in office the way he began them, with a great speech, but without great action?
Will he and the US walk the walk, or mostly just talk the talk?