President Obama reaffirms commitment to addressing climate change

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President Obama made a strong commitment to addressing climate change in his 2014 State of the Union address.

The president said we must act on climate “with more urgency because a changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought and coastal cities dealing with floods,” which is why he directed his administration to “set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants are allowed to dump into the air.” He also stated emphatically that “the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.”  The following is a statement from Defenders of Wildlife president and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark:

“The president has reaffirmed that climate change is still on his agenda-and that the time for action is now. Nearly every American has felt the impact of unprecedented heat waves, droughts, wildfires, severe storms and flooding, and climate science tells us this is only the beginning. Moreover, global warming is disrupting the seasonal feeding and migration patterns of birds, melting the Arctic sea ice critically important to polar bears and walrus, and changing the very chemistry of our oceans.

“If we are to have any hope of reducing the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events, and preserving the environmental legacy we leave for future generations, we need to take a big-picture, long-term approach to climate change. We need to implement adaptation measures for our communities and for wildlife habitat to become more resilient in the face of extreme weather events while we reduce harmful emissions to our skies. That means restoring wetlands that buffer communities from severe storms, managing forests for fire control and protecting as much natural habitat as possible.

“President Obama said in his address that ‘when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes.’ To reach that goal, he should now make 2014 his year of significant progress on climate—through reducing emissions and implementing the climate adaptation policies his administration has put in place to make a real difference for people, communities and wildlife.”

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Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.

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