Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department or Program

Speech Communication


Singer, Ross B.


This research paper explores the environmental rhetoric of President Barack Obama’s speeches on climate change, from the time of his election in 2008 until his conspicuous absence at the Cancún climate change talks in December 2010. Climate change is an issue of societal importance because of its negative effects on the environment and the economy. It is also important to the field of communication studies because an efficacious climate change accord relies on the ability to convince other countries of the importance of this issue. Scholars have conducted little work on climate change and the American presidency, which is a major justification for this study. I utilize the model of the rhetorical situation and cluster criticism to analyze 21 speeches made by Obama on climate change. I conclude that American presidents should focus on the economic benefits of transitioning to a renewable energy economy.