Climate change isn't "a liberal plot," Obama says

If you can't beat them, mock them.

That was President Obama's strategy at the League of Conservation Voters Capital Dinner Wednesday night when he gave congressional Republicans a comedic dressing-down over their views on climate change.

"In Congress, folks will tell you climate change is a hoax or a fad or a plot. It's a liberal plot. And then most recently, because many who say that actually know better and they're just embarrassed, they duck the question. They say, 'hey, I'm not a scientist,' which really translates into, 'I accept that manmade climate change is real, but if I say so out loud, I will be run out of town by a bunch of fringe elements that thinks climate science is a liberal plot so I'm going to just pretend like, I don't know, I can't read,'" the president said, to laughter and applause by the audience.

"I'm not a scientist either," the president continued, but cited White House Science and Technology advisor John Holdren, as well as scientists at NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as people to whom he listens.

"I'm not a doctor either but if a bunch of doctors tell me that tobacco can cause lung cancer, then I'll say, okay. Right? I mean, it's not that hard," he said.

The speech came on the one-year anniversary of a major speech on reducing carbon emissions the president delivered at Georgetown University. In the face of Republican opposition in Congress, Mr. Obama has been left to work on climate change issues through his executive authority.

It hasn't always been successful, though. Earlier this week the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA lacks authority in some cases to force companies to try to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions, limiting the administration's sole program already in place to deal with power plant and factory emissions.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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