Obama: Climate Change No. 1 Threat to America
President Barack Obama is warning that it's almost too late to stop global warming.
That's the message he's sending while visiting Alaska for a three-day State Department summit on climate change. The president's hoping that showing some melting ice in the background will help him drive home his point.
Obama says if the climate isn't dealt with fast, entire countries could end up underwater.
"The fact is that climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it. That, ladies and gentlemen, must change. We are not acting fast enough," he warned.
The president sais the science about climate change gets clearer every day and proves it's no longer a distant threat.
And he's right that Alaska's climate is changing. Summer snow is forecast for this Friday amidst a cooling period. Alaska's climate has been changing for a long time.
The poster child for climate change in Alaska, the Mendenall glacier, which is melting, was already melting in the 1700s and, according to scientists, had retreated one mile by the 1900s.
Some scientists say Alaska has been warming because of a reversal in the Pacific decadal oscillation, a 60-year cycle that sends warmer air to Alaska.
Still, Obama seemed to warn his political opponents not to ignore what he has called the number one threat to the United States: climate change.
"Any so-called leader who does not take this issue seriously, or treats it like a joke, is not fit to lead. On this issue of all issues, there is such a thing as being too late. And that moment is almost upon us," he said.
But most Americans do not take the issue seriously. Climate change finished dead last in a Gallup poll earlier this year on issues with which Americans are most concerned.