Obama Announces Billion-Dollar Climate Change Challenge

Plan Lacks Substance, Vision

Speaking at the commencement ceremony at the University of California Irvine on Saturday, President Barack Obama continued his advocacy to curb carbon emissions by committing $1 billion in competitive funding measures to address the effects of extreme weather, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

President Obama announces climate change task force

President Obama announces a climate change challenge that sounds more like an Olympic swimming event than urban planning and resiliency.

“The climate change deniers suggest there’s still a debate over the science, there’s not,” Obama said in his remarks. He compared those who reject the view that human activity is contributing to rising temperatures to someone who thinks the moon is made of cheese.

In May the White House unveiled a climate change report stressing urgency and a call to action. The effects of climate change globally are resulting in extreme weather, sea levels rising, seasonal allergies and a host of detrimental effects.

The report called “Weather from the White House” was aimed to start a conversation between the president and “local and national meteorologists.”

With average temperatures in the US rising, two degrees since 1895, and the expectations of 10 more degrees by 2100, the sea levels could rise by more than six feet putting coastline cities in jeopardy.

The report predicted economic and human repercussions from the changing climate and underscored “the need for the American people to prepare for and respond to [the] far-reaching implications.”

The president’s report is a compilation of the largest collection of US climate data ever assembled and included the work of approximately 300 experts.

The report recognized that the data has been accumulating for years and, “it is notable that as these data records have grown longer and climate models have become more comprehensive, earlier predictions have largely been confirmed resulting in the following according to the report”:

In addition to causing changes in climate, increasing levels of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities have a direct effect on the world’s oceans. Carbon dioxide interacts with ocean water to form carbonic acid, increasing the ocean’s acidity. Ocean surface waters have become 30% more acidic over the last 250 years as they have absorbed large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This ocean acidification makes water more corrosive, reducing the capacity of marine organisms with shells or skeletons made of calcium carbonate (such as corals, krill, oysters, clams, and crabs) to survive, grow, and reproduce, which in turn will affect the marine food chain.

Still, public reception of scientific evidence for global warming remains mixed among some political segments. Climate change is not a hot topic during elections, even though it should be. And some lawmakers refuse to accept the science and the Obama administration’s approach that it is a threat to the economy and life as we know it.

“The president’s plan is nuts,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said earlier in June.

In Saturday’s speech to university students, Obama acknowledged the challenges of making even incremental changes to policies in Washington; however, progress on climate change is a worthy goal and should not be put off for future generations to address.

Source: http://online.wsj.com/articles/president-obama-renews-call-to-combat-climate-change-1402773087

About Gary Chandler

Gary R. Chandler is a sustainability author and strategist. Follow him on Twitter @Gary_Chandler
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