Obama on climate change: ‘This is a problem now’

Obama on climate change: ‘This is a problem now’
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President Obama traveled to the Florida Everglades Wednesday to highlight the effects of climate change on Earth Day.

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“This is a not a problem for another generation. Not anymore,” Obama said. “This is a problem now. It has serious implications for the way we live right now.”

Obama also touted the steps taken by his administration.

“The steps we’ve taken over the last several years are already making a difference,” he said, outlining efforts in renewable energy, international climate agreements and energy efficiency.

“These steps can help us avoid some of the worst effects of climate change down the road.”

Obama spoke publicly after touring the Everglades, where rising sea levels are pushing in saltwater from the ocean and harming the freshwater ecosystem of the iconic landscape and national park where a third of Floridians get drinking water.

The visit comes as Obama focused on national parks and other public lands to highlight the effects of climate change.

Obama took time during his speech to mock two high-profile Republican skeptics of climate change, Sen. Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeIs the Senate ready to protect American interests in space? Republicans grumble over Trump shifting military funds to wall Gun debate to shape 2020 races MORE (Okla.) and Florida Gov. Rick Scott, without mentioning their names.

Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, threw a snowball on the Senate floor in February to show how unseasonably cold the winter was in Washington.

“Yes, this winter was cold in some parts of this country, including Washington,” Obama said Wednesday. “Some people in Washington helpfully used a snowball to illustrate that fact.”

Obama made fun of Scott for reportedly banning employees in Florida’s environmental agency from saying “climate change” in official communications, a charge Scott has denied.

The president said corporate executives, utility leaders, students and others are joining the fight against climate change.

“Because they know that simply refusing to say the words ‘climate change’ doesn’t mean that climate change isn’t happening,” Obama said.

“If you’ve got a coming storm, you don’t stick your head in the sand,” he continued. “You prepare for the storm.”

He also said climate change cannot be “edited out” or “omitted from the conversation.”

The administration released reports on Wednesday to promote national parks and other public land holdings.

One report concludes that every dollar invested in parks brings $10 in benefits.

Another said that last year, the National Park Service’s nearly 300 million visitors spent almost $16 billion and supported 277,000 jobs.

“So protecting our parks is a smart thing to do for our economy,” he said. “That’s why I’ve set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history.”

He declared Wednesday the Miami house of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, who was instrumental in protecting the Everglades, as a national historic landmark.

“We are blessed with the most beautiful God-given landscape in the world,” Obama said.

“But we’ve got to be good stewards to it. We’ve got to take care of it.”