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POLITICS: PennAve

Obama to link California drought to climate change

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Politics,White House,Brian Hughes,Barack Obama,California,Climate Change,PennAve,Energy and Environment,Global Warming,Drought

President Obama on Friday will travel to California to announce new executive actions to combat the state's drought and will attribute the growing frequency of such conditions to climate change.

Obama will announce the expediting of $100 million in assistance for livestock producers, $60 million in food-bank funding for families affected by the drought and another $15 million for areas nationwide most severely harmed by dry conditions.

On a broader level, the president will use his trip to Fresno, Calif. to urge leaders to do more to fight climate change. The president will call for a $1 billion "climate resilience fund" in his budget next month, according to the White House — but the proposal is likely dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled House.

“Weather practically everywhere is being influenced by climate change,” said John Holdren, assistant to the president for science and technology, previewing the event for reporters.

“You can expect that the president will talk about the connection between the increasing [frequency of drought] and climate change,” he added.

While snow and frigid temperatures have battered much of the nation in recent weeks, California is in the midst of what analysts are calling its worst drought in a century.

The president will participate in a roundtable on the drought, tour a Fresno farm and give remarks. Obama will then travel to the Sunnylands estate in Rancho Mirage, Calif. for a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan and an extended holiday weekend.

Obama has made climate change a centerpiece of his second-term agenda, tapping the Environmental Protection Agency to limit carbon emissions from power plants -- one of his most controversial executive actions.

On a smaller scale, Obama recently launched the creation of “climate hubs” to study how volatile weather conditions are affecting the agriculture industry.

The administration will frame his efforts Friday as part of his unilateral agenda.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Obama would pledge the “federal government will do all that it can” to help farmers and livestock producers and that he would act “rather than wait for congressional action.”

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