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President Obama says he plans to keep pushing for action on climate change after his presidency ends in January. 

During a tour of Midway Atoll near Hawaii on Thursday, Obama told The New York Times that he plans to use his “megaphone that even an ex-president has” to raise awareness and craft policies designed to combat climate change after he leaves office.

{mosads}“One of the things that I probably can do best is — in addition to shining a spotlight — helping citizens who are concerned about this to mobilize and shape political strategies so that on a bipartisan basis, we can be more effective in dealing with these challenges,” Obama said. 

Part of that will mean reaching out to Republicans, he said, who “until now have been resistant to the science” behind climate change. 

Obama said he hopes to “argue to them that if the private sector and the business community is embracing an agenda of clean energy and dealing with climate change effectively, and insurers are pricing how they think about flooding and hurricanes and drought and wildfires based on projections that we’re seeing of climate change, then there’s no reason why this is something that should be a partisan issue.”

Obama has won praise from environmentalists for his climate change agenda, which has been among the most aggressive of any president. His work on the issue ramped up in his second term, when he issued federal rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and committed the United States to an international agreement designed to combat climate change. 

He has frequently clashed with Republicans, though, who have not signed off on his plans. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have tried to undo his climate work legislatively, and state Republicans have challenged him, with some success, in the courts. 

But he said he hopes to be able to make a more convincing case for climate change action after he leaves the presidency. 

“This is something that all of us are going to have to tackle, and maybe I get a little more of a hearing if I’m not occupying a political office,” he said.

Obama has made climate change the main topic of his swing through Hawaii and Midway this week. He’s going to China for a G-20 summit this weekend, where he and Chinese officials are expected to formally join the Paris climate deal.

This post was updated at 10:19 a.m.

Tags Barack Obama Climate change

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