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
8 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. Liz the First

    Kerry is wrong, climate change is the number one threat to the entire planet. it will make all the other problems he mentioned so much worse as people fight over ever-dwindling resources. Marsha Blackburn and the rest of the deniers are in the pockets of the polluters, so of course, they're trying to prolong the debate that actually ended years ago. if we as a species do go down the drain as a result of climate change, Blackburn and her type will bear a big part of the blame for standing in the way of progress against this greatest global threat.

    February 16, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. Finn MacDugan

    I'd say that one emergency hot spot for this topic is Beijing and other parts of the world where the smog is so dense and dangerous they make up a large fraction of the pollution totals just by themselves. Do what it takes to stop those clouds of smog. Use cheap Chinese solarpanel production with whatever we've got by way of patents. Start building giant hydro-electric batteries big enough to power any country simply by storing sea water using surplus electricity at non-peak usage times. Much of that unused electricity disappears, doing no one any good.
    Some of that smog might be caused by people boiling water to make it clean. Give them clean water and they won't have to do that. Use a desalination plant with cutting-edge technology on your giant battery dams and save pumping it twice. Do the things that make sense. Don't listen to the naysayers because the technology is safe, non-toxic, and cheap as well as fairly efficient, esp. considering it only stores unused electricity. I mean, it doesn't get much better than that...

    February 16, 2014 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  3. rs

    Well, it is predictable that Republicans (more or less owned by Oil & gas and coal interests) will forever resist the notion that there are issues with global warming or atmospheric pollution- and let's call that what it is: denial and delusion.
    Really? Do we put our future in the hands of people who deny what is happening before their eyes? I think not.

    February 16, 2014 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  4. Gurgyl

    Definitely this climate change needs attention. If not earth is in big trouble. Oil prices need to be dropped. Focus on alternate energy, energy efficient lighting.

    February 16, 2014 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. Mike Texoma

    The debate is not honest. We all know climate change is real. We should be talking about is what we as Americans can do to minimize and manage it and its life changing effects. We can find out more about what caused the fire later.

    February 16, 2014 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  6. Thomas

    80 % of the produce for America comes from Ca.

    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 world is no longer flat . we need to think and act sustainably .

    February 16, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  7. just asking

    so now we obama going out and performing the well known democrat rain dance where he parades around looking important and then promises to rain money all over them. of course, it is money we will have to borrow but what the heck, our grand kids are good for it.

    btw, there is water they could use but the far left loons in california think the smelts are more important than the farmers.

    February 16, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  8. Jodo

    The earth has had warm periods, and periods of glaciation. Much of the midwest was once at the bottom of a vast ocean,

    The climate does change. It's a natural phenomenon. That's how it works.

    Stop whining about it

    February 16, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  9. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    Obama administration vows more action on climate change

    TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX

    "I" NEVER met a TAX "I" did not like !!!!

    Trust "Me"
    "I" am NOT a liar

    " "I" will NOT raise your taxes... NOT by one dime"

    February 16, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. Bill from GA

    Today on fared! I heard that China is making great stride a in cleaning up the air in Beijing.
    It would be great if our Congress wasn't so backwards.

    February 16, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. Really?

    There is no reliable science proving climate change is primarily due to human activity. This is flawed information. Truth be know, the planet has been warming since the ice age. I know of no evidence that mammoths drove an SUV.
    How much longer does this scam have to continue?!

    February 16, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. don in albuquerque

    just asking

    If actions are not undertaken soon to correct some of these issues, our great great grandchildren will not need to worry about it. They will not exist.

    February 16, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  13. Rick McDaniel

    That drought is what happens in EVERY part of the country from time to time.......no matter what anyone does about the environment.

    February 16, 2014 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  14. Harold Read

    So when do we get to see the Presidential Prius?

    February 16, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  15. rla

    nothing we do will help as india, china and se asia will overwhelm it. our money needs a better place to be spent... oh in case anyone missed it there is no plan just a billion dollar slush fund for the unions to spend this president is a master manipulator

    February 16, 2014 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  16. don in albuquerque

    Really?

    There is also no proof that fracking is causing increased earth tremors in the areas it is being done like Okla. , or the sudden plethora of sink hole openings. But they are happening. Willing to take that chance are you?

    February 16, 2014 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. Paul

    So when do we start seeing this climate change and what will it look like? Since the polar ice caps are actually re-freezing and the winters are colder than ever just wondering when it's going to start? BTW, whatever happened to global warming?

    February 16, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  18. Paul

    There was a point in time when climate change was known as seasons. Guess that wasn't profitable enough for the liberal politicians though.

    February 16, 2014 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  19. jimmyjo

    He wants to pledge billions out of what budget? We cut emissions by 17 percent but china increases theirs by 300 percent? Print more borrow more money from our world dominant enemy while they supply the world and us of every product we buy and use daily. Makes sense!

    February 16, 2014 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the repub/tea bag majority

    @Rick McDaniel: "That drought is what happens in EVERY part of the country from time to time.......no matter what anyone does about the environment."

    Climate change and its effect are the sixth extinction. Never before has our planet experienced this many people, along with this much industry creating this much carbon. Putting your head in the sand makes you part of the problem, Rick.

    February 16, 2014 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the repub/tea bag majority

    @Really?: "There is no reliable science proving climate change is primarily due to human activity. This is flawed information. Truth be know, the planet has been warming since the ice age. I know of no evidence that mammoths drove an SUV. How much longer does this scam have to continue?!"

    Yes, there is reliable science proving climate change is primarily due to human activity; just because you don't understand the evidence, doesn't make it wrong.

    BTW, never before has our planet experienced this many people, along with this much industrial activity creating this much carbon. Just ask anyone in China who has to wear a face mask outdoors because of pollution what kind of impact carbon is having on their life.

    February 16, 2014 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the repub/tea bag majority

    People who understand climate change and want to do something about it care about sustainability; people who don't are either greedy (and stand to gain monetarily from polluting our planet with impunity), are too dim to understand the science and so claim it's not true, or both.

    It's as simple as that.

    February 16, 2014 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the repub/tea bag majority

    @Free Man in the Republic of Texas: Typical right-wing freeloader: Believing you have a God-given right to do whatever the heck you want in the name of pursuing money, without consequence or accountability.

    Go live in China or any other third-world country, Bub, where the government allows companies to destroy the environment. Do it if you have the stones.

    February 16, 2014 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  24. Stuffitu

    The Congress just gave this corrupt president the authority to waste a couple of trillion more dollars on phony projects to kill employment and make sure his union friends are well taken care of. I am sure the money can and will provide a lot more Obamaphones for the dopers and welfare frauds.

    February 16, 2014 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  25. yolanda

    And Obama flew to California on a 747 while Kerry frugally used a 767 to travel to Indonesia. Leading by example, eh?

    February 16, 2014 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
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