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Obama says climate change is real, despite what skeptics say

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Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 23.11.41“We made it clear that Shell has to meet our high standards in how they conduct their operations – and it’s a testament to how rigorous we’ve applied those standards that Shell has delayed and limited its exploration off Alaska while trying to meet them.”

By Bruce Alpert, NOLA.com | Times-Picayune: 29 August 2015

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama Saturday (Aug. 29 pressed the case for urgent action to combat climate change, while defending his administration from criticism by environmental critics unhappy with its approval of Shell’s plan to drill off Alaska’s coast.

“I share people’s concerns about offshore drilling. I remember the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico all too well,” Obama said in his weekly radio address.

“That’s precisely why my administration has worked to make sure that our oil exploration conducted under these leases is done at the highest standards possible, with requirements specifically tailored to the risks of drilling off Alaska,” the president said. “We don’t rubber-stamp permits.  We made it clear that Shell has to meet our high standards in how they conduct their operations – and it’s a testament to how rigorous we’ve applied those standards that Shell has delayed and limited its exploration off Alaska while trying to meet them.”

Obama said the bottom line is that “safety has been and will continue to be my administration’s top priority when it comes to oil and gas exploration off America’s precious coasts – even as we push our economy and the world to ultimately transition off of fossil fuels.”

The president said during his three-day trip to Alaska, which begins Monday, he’s going to make the case for strong steps on climate change both by the United States and other nations. He made brief mention of his climate change agenda while in New Orleans Thursday for the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, telling his audience they’ll hear a lot more on the subject when he’s in Alaska,.

“Alaska’s glaciers are melting faster too, threatening tourism and adding to rising seas,” Obama said Saturday. “And if we do nothing, Alaskan temperatures are projected to rise between six and twelve degrees by the end of the century, changing all sorts of industries forever.”

He addressed skeptics who contend that the dangers of climate change are overstated or unproven and that his solutions would cause too much disruption of the economy, particularly in oil producing states like Louisiana.

Obama said Saturday that climate change isn’t debatable anymore.

“This is all real,” Obama said. “This is happening to our fellow Americans right now.  In fact, Alaska’s governor recently told me that four villages are in ‘imminent danger’ and have to be relocated.  Already, rising sea levels are beginning to swallow one island community.”

“Think about that. If another country threatened to wipe out an American town, we’d do everything in our power to protect ourselves. Climate change poses the same threat, right now.”

Before Obama arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is running to replace Obama as part of a crowded GOP field, urged the president not to raise the climate change issue during his time in the city for the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

“While you and others may be of the opinion that we can legislate away hurricanes with higher taxes, business regulations and EPA power grabs, that is not a view shared by many Louisianans,” Jindal said.

Last week, NASA scientists warned that the state’s multi-billion-dollar coastal restoration program might not be enough to overcome rising sea levels resulting from global warming.

SOURCE

(Photo by David Grunfeld, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune) (POOL PHOTO)

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