Obama Asks College Grads to Help Take on Climate-Change Deniers
By Margaret Talev June 14, 2014
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the commencement address at the University of California at Irvine in Irvine, California, on June 14, 2014. Photographer: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images
President Barack Obama called on Americans coming of age to demand that politicians respond more aggressively to climate change, comparing those skeptical about man-caused alterations to the environment to a belief that the moon is “made of cheese.”
In a commencement address today to graduates of the University of California at Irvine, Obama delivered one of his feistiest critiques of lawmakers who object to environmental regulations he’s pushing that are aimed at reducing carbon emissions.
Obama, in his prepared remarks, said rising temperatures and sea levels and intensifying storm patterns define “one of the most significant long-term challenges that our country and our planet face.”
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He also used his speech at Angel Stadium of Anaheim to announce a new program in which states, communities and Native American tribes hit by natural disasters can seek money for projects to combat or prepare for climate change-related challenges.
Almost $1 billion will be set aside for the National Disaster Resilience Competition, according to the White House. Some of the money will be available to communities in any state with a presidentially declared major disaster from 2011-2013, while $180 million is reserved for states affected by 2012’s Hurricane Sandy.
“The question is not whether we need to act” on climate change, Obama said in his prepared remarks. “The overwhelming judgment of science, accumulated and measured and reviewed over decades, has put that to rest. The question is whether we have the will to act before it’s too late.”