US president Barack Obama has made climate change a central theme of his State of the Union address, saying that the science is clear and there is no greater threat to future generations.
“2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record,” he said. “Now, one year doesn’t make a trend, but this does — 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century.
“I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act. Well, I’m not a scientist, either.
“But you know what — I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities.
“The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.
Obama hailed the pact he struck with China late last year, and said he was determined to ensure American leadership drove international action. He appeared confident of a deal in Paris.
“And because the world’s two largest economies came together, other nations are now stepping up, and offering hope that, this year, the world will finally reach an agreement to protect the one planet we’ve got.”
Obama has given up on implementing a carbon price, although some states are part of regional schemes. Renewable energy targets are also a state-by-state proposition. However, Obama has vowed to double emission reduction efforts by regulating emissions through the Environmental Protection Agency. The new Republican-controlled Congress, with climate deniers in many key committee roles, including energy and environment, has vowed to stop him.
Obama, however, said he will stand firm. “I will not let this Congress endanger the health of our children by turning back the clock on our efforts. “
Earlier in the speech, Obama noted that the US reduced its dependence on foreign oil and become number one in oil and gas.
He said America was also number one in wind power, and “every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008.”
And thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards, the typical family this year should save $750 at the pump.
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