In fact, Alaska’s governor recently told me that four villages are in ‘imminent danger’ and have to be relocated,” he said, citing Gov. Bill Walker (I). “Already, rising sea levels are beginning to swallow one island community.”
“Think about that,” Obama added. “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.”
Obama’s remarks come as he gears up for a three-day tour of Alaska starting Monday.
He argued Saturday that the state is already beset by natural disasters and economic paid associated with harmful climate change.
“Alaskans are already living with its effects,” Obama said. “More frequent and extensive wildfires. Bigger storm surges as sea ice melts faster. Some of the swiftest shoreline erosion in the world – in some places, more than three feet a year.”
“Alaska’s glaciers are melting faster too, threatening tourism and adding to rising seas,” he added. “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.”
Obama touted multiple policies his administration had implemented for halting the negative effects associated with rampant climate change.
He listed international cooperation with Arctic nations, clean energy programs and increased safety standards in America’s oil industry as some of his counters to the natural phenomenon.
Obama added that repairing climate change damage is essential for America’s future prosperity.
“What’s happening in Alaska is happening to us,” he said. “It’s our wakeup call. And as long as I’m president, America will lead the world to meet the threat of climate change before it’s too late.”