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Obama to NY Times: Climate Change Trends Are 'Terrifying'

Obama to NY Times: Climate Change Trends Are 'Terrifying'

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By    |   Thursday, 08 September 2016 02:31 PM

President Barack Obama told The New York Times in an exclusive interview that the climate change predictions he has seen are "terrifying."

"My top science advisor, John Holdren, periodically will issue some chart or report or graph in the morning meetings, and they're terrifying," Obama told the Times. "What makes climate change difficult is that it is not an instantaneous catastrophic event. It's a slow-moving issue that, on a day-to-day basis, people don't experience and don't see."

Obama said his efforts to combat global warming will be the legacy of his presidency and during his tenure, Americans have come to believe "that climate change is real, that it's important, and we should do something about it."

Rules to reduce emissions in cars and coal plants were enacted by the president and were a central broker of the Paris climate accord that called for action on greenhouse gas emissions.

Obama admitted that he has not achieved the results he would have liked, and blamed politics and the ever-changing nature of the threat.

In Honololu, Obama told Pacific Island leaders that few people understood the importance of combating climate change better than residents in their region. He noted that crops are withering in the Marshall Islands, and that shifting monsoon patterns in South Asia could affect a billion people who depend on low-lying agriculture.

"If you have even a portion of those billion people displaced, you now have the sorts of refugee crises and potential conflicts that we haven't seen in our lifetimes," he said.

Obama credited his agreement with China to reduce air pollution there, saying, "By locking in China, it now allowed me to go to India and South Africa and Brazil and others and say to them: 'Look, we don't expect countries with big poverty rates and relatively low per-capita carbon emissions to do exactly the same thing that the United States or Germany or other advanced countries are doing. But you've got to do something."

Obama plans to stay active after his presidency in the fight against climate change, and seeks to recruit new allies. "My hope is that maybe as ex-president, I can have a little more influence on some of my Republican friends, who I think up until now have been resistant to the science."

He recognized that the future of dealing with climate change lies with his successor as president.

"I think it's fair to say that if Donald Trump is elected, for example, you have a pretty big shift now with how the EPA operates," Obama said.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has proposed solar-panel projects and energy-efficient investment grants. The Times report noted that Clinton will likely face the same critics that Obama has.

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President Barack Obama told The New York Times in an exclusive interview that the climate change predictions he has seen are "terrifying."
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Thursday, 08 September 2016 02:31 PM
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