White House turns to weather reporters for climate change news


McClatchy Washington Bureau

President Barack Obama is holding interviews on the White House lawn today with meteorologists from across the country to publicize a new administration report that says the effects of “human-induced” climate change are already being felt across the country -- with rising seas along the coastline and wildfires scarring the West.

Republicans attacked the report -- the third National Climate Assessment -- as a scare tactic, but the administration may not find as many skeptics among the weather reporters.

“The science has spoken, we know what’s going on,” Jim Gandy, chief meteorologist for WLTX, Columbia, S.C., said from the front lawn of the White House. “We’re fairly confident those projections are robust. My question to him (Obama) is what should we do about it?”

The other participants include John Morales, WTVJ-Miami; Megan Glaros, WBBM-Chicago; Bill Martin, KTVU-San Francisco; Jeff Renner, KING-Seattle; and Janice Huff, WNBC-New York. NBC News’ Al Roker and ABC News’ Ginger Zee will also sit down with Obama.

Obama told Roker “if we don't do more, we're going to have bigger problems, more risk of economic impact and more risk of extreme weather events that can result in people losing their lives or losing their properties or businesses. And we've got to have the public understand this is an issue that is going to impact our kids and our grandkids, unless we do something about it.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he expected Obama to use the report to renew a call for a carbon tax.

“And I’m sure he’ll get loud cheers from liberal elites — from the kind of people who leave a giant carbon footprint and then lecture everybody else about low-flow toilets,” McConnell said.

Carney declined to address McConnell’s remarks directly, but said the report spells out the issue and steps that can be taken to prevent climate change.

“This is part of a very clear-eyed look at the challenge we face as a nation and a world but makes it clear that there are steps that we can and should take to prepare for the impacts,” Carney said.

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