FLORIDA: Climate change “is not a problem for another generation,” President Obama said Wednesday during an Earth Day address in the Florida Everglades. “This is a problem now.”
The president outlined a series of plans he has pushed to restrict carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, promote “clean energy” production such as wind and solar projects and increase federal protection of public lands.
The Everglades are a prime example of the damage that can be wrought by rising global temperatures, Obama said after a tour of the 1.5 million-acre national park. As seas rise, salt water infiltrates the area, damaging the ecosystem.
“If we don’t act,” he said, “there may not be an Everglades as we know it.”
Obama called 2014 the planet’s warmest year recorded and said 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have been in this still-young century. Rising temperatures have implications for the economy, national security, personal health and public safety, he said.
Florida is a key political state, and climate change figures to be an issue in next year’s presidential and congressional elections.
Obama hit congressional Republicans for opposing many of his plans, saying the challenges can be met “if we have some political will.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Obama’s “regressive regulations” force energy companies to cut jobs and hike utility bills. He noted that many of the proposals are being challenged in court.
“Before rushing forward with some regressive ideological plan that we already know won’t solve the problem it purports to address — a plan the courts have yet to tell us is even legal — the White House should carefully consider the consequences of imposing such regulations on states and the middle-class families who live in them instead,” McConnell said.
The Obama administration is pursuing a global climate change agreement with other nations, a proposal Republicans say will put more demands on the USA than its international competitors.
In his Everglades speech, Obama said the issue cannot be ignored.
“Climate change can no longer be denied,” Obama said. “And action can no longer be delayed.”