White House: US 'already being hurt by climate change'

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The White House on Friday said that President Obama would continue making the case that climate change was hurting the nation ahead of an address in Fresno, Calif.

Obama is traveling to the Central Valley town to announce new initiatives to help tackle a severe drought affecting the region and link the extreme weather to climate change.

“The President is going to keep making the case to the American people that we're already being hurt by climate change,” deputy press secretary Eric Schultz told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to California. “The pain will only get worse for our children and grandchildren if we leave it for future generations to deal with.”

In California, Obama will announce a number of initiatives to help farmers and ranchers suffering because of the state’s severe water shortage. The president will also call for $1 billion to set up a “climate resilience fund” in his fiscal 2015 budget.

That provision though is unlikely to pass in the GOP-controlled House, with many conservatives skeptical of scientific research on global warming.

Obama vowed to make climate change a priority in his second term, with the Environmental Protection Agency limiting carbon emissions from power plants and the president using executive action to create “climate hubs” that will help Americans cope with extreme weather events.

“Even if Republicans in Congress refuse to take common-sense steps to cut back on carbon pollution, you’d think that they’d be interested in joining us to make sure that our communities are prepared for increasingly severe weather that we’re obviously experiencing,” said Schultz on Friday.

Schultz sidestepped a question about whether Obama would draw a direct link between the California drought and climate change.

“No single episode of extreme weather — no storm, no flood, no drought — can be said to have been caused by global climate change,” he said. “But the science is clear that weather practically everywhere is being influenced by climate change.”

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