Alaska: Addressing a Arctic climate change conference in Alaska, Barack Obama made an urgent plea to the world to identify the dangers of global warming.
At the same time, environmental groups warned that Obama hadn’t done enough to protect Alaska and the climate. “We are not acting fast enough”.
Alaska provides a handsome and fitting backdrop for Obama’s needed warnings about the current and future dangers of climate change. On the plane to Alaska, he showed off new National Park Service maps with the mountain designated as Denali.
During Mr. Obama’s three-day tour of the state, which will take him to Exit Glacier and north of the Arctic Circle to Kotzebue, the president will continue to point to rising sea levels, multiplying forest fires, disappearing glaciers and receding coastlines as evidence that climate change is a present-day threat.
Yet Obama was to navigate far more turbulent political waters when he arrived Monday afternoon in Anchorage, where his grand declarations on climate change have been met with skepticism by leaders in a state that’s heavily dependent on oil revenues that have fallen precipitously. “Entire nations will find themselves under severe, severe problems”, Obama said. Accompanying that is a higher percentage of precipitation as rain instead of snow, higher losses to evaporation and flood runoff and earlier snowmelt, leaving many regions drier. More refugees. More scarcity.
“Any so called leader who does not take this issue seriously or treats it like a joke is not fit to lead”, Obama said. “We’ve got to walk the walk”. As a prelude to the trip, Obama announced his administration was renaming the tallest mountain in North America and restoring its traditional Athabascan name, a move that drew applause from Alaska’s leaders but harsh condemnations from Ohio politicians angry that Ohio native and former President William McKinley’s name will be erased from the famed peak. He’ll then trek through wilderness while being taped for an episode of the NBC show “Running Wild with Bear Grylls”, which tests celebrities on their survival skills.
But he will meet a tough audience in Alaska, at a time when many of his Republican foes deny that the planet is warming or that human activity is influencing the phenomenon.
By showcasing thawing permafrost, melting sea ice and eroding shorelines, Obama hopes the journey will underscore the urgency to fight local weather change within the U.S. and overseas. But, he added, even those countries can’t do it alone and it will require a global agreement at the upcoming climate conference in Paris.
The Arctic Challenger is at the Port of Bellingham worldwide Dock Monday, September 17, 2012, in Bellingham, Wa. Obama has pledged a U.S. minimize in greenhouse fuel emissions of as much as 28 % by 2030, in comparison with 2005 ranges, and deliberate to make use of the Alaska go to to press different nations to decide to equally formidable measures. The Obama administration recently approved a permit allowing Royal Dutch Shell to drill in the Arctic Ocean, a decision that has drawn criticism from environmentalists. Protesters held an rally against Arctic oil drilling for about two-hours in downtown Anchorage, timed for the president’s arrival.