Obama: Lives 'at risk' from climate change

President Obama warned that "people's lives are at risk" because of man-made climate change during a series of interviews with national and local television meteorologists on Tuesday.

"Not only is climate change a problem in the future, it's already effecting Americans," Obama told CBS News, warning that the phenomenon was "increasing the likelihood" of floods, drought, storms and hurricanes. 

The series of interviews from the Rose Garden were among a series of administration efforts to highlight the 2014 National Climate Assessment, a new, comprehensive report that officials said details the impact of climate change on individual regions and business sectors.

The White House has said the interviews with meteorologists are designed to signal the real-world implications of climate change to Americans already closely following weather events.


"These are people who are on TV every night talking about the weather and the impact the climate is having on weather in their communities," said White House spokesman Matt Lehrich. "By having a conversation with them, we're taking to an audience that already exists."

Speaking to the Today Show's Al Roker, Obama said he wanted " to emphasize to the public, this is not some distant problem of the future."

Instead, the president argued, "this is a problem that is affecting Americans right now."

"Whether it means increased flooding, greater vulnerability to drought, more severe wildfires — all these things are having an impact on Americans as we speak," Obama said.

The president also bemoaned "some resistance from Congress" to addressing the causes of climate change.

"We've been sounding this urgency for the last five years," Obama said.

In his interview with CBS News, Obama was asked about whether the report would shape his opinion of the Keystone XL pipeline, a controversial construction project favored by energy and labor groups but opposed by environmentalists.

The president did not respond, instead discussing the climate report as a whole.