The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

May 7, 2014

Report: Climate change already affecting US

WASHINGTON (AP) — When it came time to deliver a new federal report detailing what global warming is doing to America and the dire forecast for the future, President Barack Obama turned to the pros who regularly deliver the bad news about wild weather: TV meteorologists.

"We want to emphasize to the public, this is not some distant problem of the future. This is a problem that is affecting Americans right now," Obama told "Today" show weathercaster Al Roker. "Whether it means increased flooding, greater vulnerability to drought, more severe wildfires — all these things are having an impact on Americans as we speak."

Climate change's assorted harms "are expected to become increasingly disruptive across the nation throughout this century and beyond," the National Climate Assessment concluded, emphasizing the impact of too-wild weather as well as simple warming.

Still, it's not too late to prevent the worst of climate change, says the 840-page report, which the Obama administration is highlighting as it tries to jump-start often-stalled efforts to curb heat-trapping gases. Said White House science adviser John Holdren, "It's a good-news story about the many opportunities to take cost-effective actions to reduce the damage."

Release of the report, the third edition of a congressionally mandated study, gives Obama an opportunity to ground his campaign against climate change in science and numbers, endeavoring to blunt the arguments of those who question the idea and human contributions to such changes. Later this summer, the administration plans to propose new regulations restricting gases that come from existing coal-fired power plants.

Not everyone is convinced.

Some fossil energy groups, conservative think tanks and Republican senators immediately assailed the report as "alarmist." Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Obama was likely to "use the platform to renew his call for a national energy tax. And I'm sure he'll get loud cheers from liberal elites — from the kind of people who leave a giant carbon footprint and then lecture everybody else about low-flow toilets."

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