Obama Warns of Future Without Climate Action

Obama Warns of Future Without Climate ActionObama Warns of Future Without Climate Action

Submerged countries, abandoned cities and floods of refugees await the world barring urgent action on climate change, US President Barack Obama warned on Monday, painting a doomsday scenario as he opened a visit to Alaska.

In a speech to an Arctic climate summit, Obama sought to set the tone for a three-day tour of Alaska, including the first visit by a sitting president above the Arctic Circle, that will put the state’s liquefying glaciers and sinking villages on graphic display, AP reported.

“On this issue, of all issues, there is such a thing as being too late, and that moment is almost upon us,” Obama said, calling on nations to take swift action as negotiations for a global climate treaty near a close.

Evoking ominous consequences, Obama said that climate change left unchecked would soon trigger global conflict and “condemn our children to a planet beyond their capacity to repair.”

In the Arctic, which is warming faster than any other corner of the globe, Obama said melting permafrost and disintegrating sea ice risk floods, fires and unimaginable economic damage, adding that “It’s already changing the way Alaskans live.”

However, Obama has struggled to explain how his dire warnings and call to action to cut greenhouse gases square with other steps he has taken or allowed to expand energy production, including oil and gas.  Environmental groups took particular offense at the administration’s move to allow expanded drilling off Alaska’s northwest coast, just a few weeks before Obama arrived in Alaska to preach on climate change.

On Wednesday, he is planned to visit the villages of Dillingham and Kotzebue to address the plight of Alaska Natives, who face dire economic conditions amid some of the worst effects of global warming.