Obama administration vows more action on climate change sparking debate
President Obama walks with California Governor Jerry Brown, Joe and Maria Del Bosque of Empresas Del Bosque farm, addressing California's drought situation
February 16th, 2014
02:44 PM ET
7 months ago

Obama administration vows more action on climate change sparking debate

(CNN) - Following President Barack Obama’s announcement of $1 billion in new funding to help prepare for the effects of climate change, Secretary of State John Kerry promised his own actions as part of the administration's push in a keynote speech in Indonesia, warning that climate change will also threaten the world economy.

But the consensus is still split on the merits of climate change among lawmakers.

In a speech in Jakarta, Kerry said climate change could be ranked among terrorism and the proliferation of weapon of mass destruction as top global threats, knocking skeptics as “shoddy scientists and extreme ideologues.”

"When I think about the array of global climate – of global threats – think about this: terrorism, epidemics, poverty, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction – all challenges that know no borders – the reality is that climate change ranks right up there with every single one of them," he said.

The plea for international action by Kerry, who also said he would this week instruct all U.S. embassies to make climate change a top priority, comes after Obama's renewed his push in his State of the Union address for action on the issue. Obama announced on Friday he will propose as part of his 2015 budget a "climate resilience fund" and data collection initiatives to determine the effects and preparation needed for climate change.

“The budget that I send to Congress next month will include $1 billion in new funding for new technologies to help communities prepare for a changing climate, set up incentives to build smarter, more resilient infrastructure," Obama said Friday in California speaking to farmers in Fresno, California who have been severely affected by a drought in the state.

As over 90% of California is experiencing severe or exceptional drought, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said legislators don't have the time to debate the issue.

"This was the driest year on record, but you know, it's coming at an immense cost whether it's wildfires, whether it's changing how we get water," he said on ABC's "This Week." "Governors and mayors, you know, we don't have the luxury of debating the issue. I think it's clear human beings have had an impact in creating the problem and we have to solve it now."

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina, whose state was hit hard as another winter storm hit the mid-Atlantic last week, said climate change is real but was dubious on humans' impact.

"I believe there is climate change, I'm not sure you can call it climate warming anymore especially in the Carolinas. I think the big debate is how much of it is manmade and how much of it will just naturally happen as earth evolves," he said on ABC.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee who serves as vice chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said Sunday, that there's yet to a be agreement on that driving force of climate change.

"What we have to look at is the fact that you don't make good laws, sustainable laws, when you're making them on hypothesis, or theories, or unproven sciences," she said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Former television host Bill Nye, known as "The Science Guy," slammed skeptics' arguments denying climate change as "unscientific" and "not logical."

"It is a way apparently that the fossil fuel industry has dealt with our politics. And this is not good," Nye said, appearing with Blackburn on NBC. "You don't need a p.H.D. in climate science to understand what's going on, that thing that we have overwhelming evidence that climate is changing. That you cannot tie any one event to that is not the same as doubt about the whole thing."

A report issues last year by a United Nations climate panel said scientists are 95% certain that humans are main cause of global warming since the mid-twentieth century.

The latest U.N. report, due to be released in March and obtained by CNN, said if there aren't explicit efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the drivers of emissions growth are projected to continue, regardless of improvements in energy supply and technology.

CNN's Mary Grace Lucas contributed to this report.

soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Al Devault

    The latest number floating around about "scientific consensus" is that 97% of scientists agree that global warming IS occurring and that it is anthropogenic. Buried in those statistics is the fact that roughly 50% of those responding agreed that it is warming BUT 48% were on the fence about the cause(s). Methane absorbs 50 times the heat that CO2 does so natural methane emissions have far more effect than CO2.
    How about some REAL science instead of the crap that lead to Climategate. The IPCC has a vested interest in penalizing industrialized nations in order to transfer wealth.

    February 16, 2014 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  2. Wes

    I was preparing for the next ice age 40 years ago (80% of scientists said it was coming, those who didn't believe it were members of the flat earth society) so now I guess I have to prepare for global warming, all caused by man. Whatever.

    February 16, 2014 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  3. ron

    the climate belongs to god. it has survived longer than anyone here on earth. the climate or god don't need your help. please leave well enough alone and let god continue to handle the earth.i don't think your qualified

    February 16, 2014 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  4. ron

    humans have done nothing to earth but harm it in every way. gore made illegal money off citizens about global warming . scam . now Obama and others are going to scam people more . they have no known remedy or plan other than to scam people to futher cripple America.. god is in total control

    February 16, 2014 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  5. litllebit

    the rich wants oil and coal then on the side the rich want to tax the working class to death over climate change. what rich group do I go with?

    February 16, 2014 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  6. Chris-E...al

    Gore .gore gore .write a book got a million ! Make a movie wife sangs a tenor . You ppl valcano's are the cause of globe warming have'nt you ppl heard ! dust in the air blocks the sun .an there for you get sn0w in 49 state . an then u burn fossil gas's to stay warm ? that the dem's dont wont? guess what freeze u buns off. keep on they hau gas 15buck gal. u want have 2 sticks rub t0gether ?

    February 16, 2014 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  7. Jim

    Before you believe anything that this administration tells you look at the lies about the so called hockey stick phenomenon pushed by Al Gore. Apparently, they never took into consideration of the medieval warming. The scientist only looked at information after the little ice age which started from 1500 to 1800 AD. After the little ice age the temperatures started to rise, but they are no where near the medieval warming from 1000 to 1450 AD. Read what Dr. Wegman wrote about Dr. Mann's hockey stick theory. If you did, you would have also noted that the IPCC removed it from the 2007 report, knowing it was flawed. This administration continues to use the same language by calling people deniers or saying they believe the world is still flat. When they can predict hurricanes and the weather accurately, I may pay more attention, but until than this is just another way to increase taxes.

    February 16, 2014 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  8. Leftcoastrocky

    Time NOW for state and federal legislators to act and to implement a variety of initiatives including, for example, water conservation and urgent building of desalination plants.

    February 16, 2014 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  9. S. B. Stein

    What we need to see is a secondary power grid that is charged by renewable sources and fission power. Tidal power could be a small constant source of energy. There should subsidies to get solar panels on every roof that doesn't have some architectural significance like the capital dome.

    February 16, 2014 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  10. jhnjdy

    Why? Because California is burning in the Hell that they live in, while the rest of the US is freezing and buried in snow piles. Get real for once, Al Gore was a liar. All the ice on the North Pole did not melt by 2013 and it's not melting anymore.
    I'm all for taking care of the planet but we are not the Worlds pollution Police. There is plenty to do right in this Country that would help without spending Trillions of Dollars that we don't have in Foreign Countries.

    February 16, 2014 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  11. Cahokia

    We've had a pause in global warming ever since 1998, which was a peak El Nino year.

    It's weird to keep escalating apocalyptic claims about climate change when for some years now the models the IPCC has been putting out have been consistently providing gross overestimations of temperature increases.

    February 16, 2014 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  12. Chris-E...al

    If your power bill an heating bill went up Hey ! can i have a show of hands ! Thats what i figure washington everones did ! Ynu want 2 n0 why? cause they want biuld a new oil refinenery ? u no why? it mite mean they wood approve keystone ? or cut foodcost by shipping gas prices will go down trucks train ships – it mite mean u mite be able 2 afford that trip to that island or buy that tube of toothpaste or T.P. 2 WIPE ur on . who cares . vote republican they will keep you fed an warmer .at a lower cost it will take a few years to fix what the dims have destroyed ! an they want use something like a warming globe as a EXcuse for lack of good judgement. thank you

    February 16, 2014 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  13. Chris-E...al

    OK IF ICE FR0ZE AN PUSHED THE WARM WATER ONT0 DRY LAND WOULD THAT BE GLOBE WARMING? AN IF MY DRINK GOT T0 HOT AN EVAPORATED IS THAT GLOBE WARMING? AN IF I LEAVE A DRINK IN THE FL0OR ? an make sea floor rise . Realy ? did you no u could take the word really . An use it in differant tones an it mite mean somethin ealse ? try it its fun .

    February 17, 2014 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  14. Paul

    What is so bad about climate change. Please, why is this a bad thing? How do we know it is not a change for the better? If we could change the temperature of the earth wouldn't we want it a bit warmer? What will these loons say when they have taken away our oil and gas and we still have droughts and blizzards and hurricanes?

    February 17, 2014 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  15. technophile50

    I'm not sure of how much of my guv McCrory"s pigheaded ignorance of climate change is naturally occurring or willfully manmade..

    February 17, 2014 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  16. just me

    @really?: 95% of climate scientists would disagree with you about that lack of evidence. how much longer will your channeling flat earthers continue?

    February 17, 2014 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  17. AlGore StillLies

    Global warming is a farce. Climate changes because of the caotic nature of the weather, winds, hurricanes, cold fronts, twisters, etc.
    Al Gore, Hussein Obama and that ball licker Kerry expect you to believe that a snowball left out on the side walk should not ever melt and are prepared to tax the living hell out of anything that is derived from hydrocarbons...just about over 99% of what you may see, hear, taste and or touch in order to make it so.
    Truth is that there is a plan to get the up coming former 3rd world countries to buy in on this sham so that their own citizens can also be taxed for using things such as cars, and not only that, but 1st world countries get to tax their own citizens to subsidize the moneys (i.e. carbon tax credits) that 1st world countries will not use so that 3rd world countries can manufacture, pollute their own back yard.
    Blubber boy Gore and former secretary Schultz are big time players in this ponzi scheme..do not let these basterds tax each and every single one of us into poverty.

    February 17, 2014 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  18. Karloff

    OK, let's go over this AGAIN: Climate change has been happening on the earth for more than 4 billion years. Even before man crawled out of the primordial soup climate change was occurring on the planet.

    February 17, 2014 05:32 am at 5:32 am |
  19. RandyIA

    Have you ever wondered why the terminology went from Global Warming to Climate Change. Simple reason, when the warming cycle stopped, the argument would be able to continue.

    February 17, 2014 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  20. Gurgyl

    This nation is getting OVER-POPULATED. Try to reduce visas into here.

    February 17, 2014 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  21. Lizzie

    Bill from GA, right the gave FREE masks to everyone.

    February 17, 2014 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
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