Obama to Meet With TV Forecasters in War on Climate Change

Monday, 05 May 2014 12:25 PM

By Drew MacKenzie

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President Barack Obama is heating up the battle against climate change on Tuesday by giving a series of TV interviews from the White House with local and national meteorologists.

The president is likely to point out that the snowpack in California's mountains has shrunk by 86 percent in just one year, as he did during a meeting with eight Western governors earlier this year, The Washington Post reported.

The television interviews are part of the annual National Climate Assessment push, which has resulted in Obama making climate change a central part of his domestic legacy while taking on energy and manufacturing industries as he attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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"This is really real for him, in terms of what he's leaving," said Cecilia Muñoz, who directs the White House Domestic Policy Council. "This is personal for him."

To cut planet-heating carbon emissions, Obama has stated that he will use his executive authority to enact tighter pollution controls on coal and gas utilities while also creating new fuel-efficiency standards for heavy trucks.

Obama's fears about environmental issues are also one of the reasons he has delayed a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline while imposing stricter conditions before he can approve it.

But the Post reported that coal and gas industry officials are concerned that Obama's policies aimed at climate change do not reflect how hydraulic fracturing has transformed the ability to extract oil and gas from the ground with a noticeable reduction in carbon emissions.

"Their refusal to accept reality continues to frustrate me," said Charles Drevna, president of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, referring to the White House.

"So my question is, why are we doing this? Is it because he promised to do it when he came into office? Is it because he's got a large donor out there dangling a lot of money? Is it because he really believes it and is passionate about doing it? Or is it all of the above?"

Robert "Mike" Duncan, president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, said Obama is channeling his energies in the wrong direction.

"He's spending money, in my view, in the wrong place," Duncan said. "He needs to be focused on the economy, and the balance has gotten out of hand."

Meanwhile, Obama is spreading the word to foreign powers about what he perceives as the long-term dangers of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Post.

In recent talks with the leaders of Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines, the president raised concerns about their financing of coal-fired plants in their countries.

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White House counselor John Podesta, who is one of Obama's chief strategists on climate change, said people in the United States and the rest of the world will eventually support limits on carbon emissions when the effects of global warming will start to have an impact on them personally.

"They're going to feel risks in their own lives, and then they will be willing to act," Podesta said.

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