Climate, Environment, and Energy - Obama Presidency Oral History

Climate, Environment, and Energy

In May 2023, we began releasing interviews from the Obama Presidency Oral History with a special preview related to climate, energy, and the environment. These interviews detail the Obama administration’s approach to climate and environmental policy, as well as the environmental movement's push for more aggressive action on climate change.

Narrators in this collection reflect on the administration’s participation in international climate negotiations, climate and energy components of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, the use of executive powers to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, the Hurricane Sandy recovery effort, and the transformation of the American environmental movement.

President Obama and farmer Joe Del Bosque speak to each other in an open field, flanked by Del Bosque's wife Maria on their right and Senator Brown on their left.
In his interview, farmer and water activist Joe Del Bosque reflects on his experiences facing water supply challenges, his engagement with social media to highlight drought issues, a visit from President Obama to his farm, and his advocacy for sustainable farming and water policy solutions. Pictured above, President Obama tours a field with Del Bosque, his wife Maria, and California Governor Jerry Brown in Los Banos, California, February 14, 2014. Photo by Pete Souza.

These stories, events, and dynamics are brought to life by cabinet secretaries, White House advisors, movement leaders, and grassroots activists. Hear from Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, agency officials including Lisa Jackson and Todd Stern, White House advisors including Carol Browner and Nancy Sutley, movement leaders including Bill McKibben and Frances Beinecke, activists such as Art and Helen Tanderup, Nebraska farmers who protested the proposed passage of the Keystone XL pipeline through their farm, and many more.

As we continue to release interviews, additional perspectives will complicate this history and reveal interconnections with other topics, including science and the financial crisis.