President Obama this weekend taped an address on climate change for Wednesday’s 45th anniversary of Earth Day. He plans to take his climate message to Florida this week, calling for action in the swing state, even as Florida Republican leaders are still unable to officially concede that climate change poses a serious threat to the security of the state and the nation.
“Today there is no greater threat to our planet than climate change,” the president said. “2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record. Fourteen of the fifteen hottest years on record have all fallen in the first fifteen years of this century. The fact that the climate is changing has very serious implications for the way we live now — stronger storms, deeper droughts, longer wildfire seasons.”
The effects of climate change are already being felt in low-lying coastal Florida, and they will be felt more dramatically in coming years. The state is home to two 2016 Republican presidential candidates, former Governor Jeb Bush and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio. Neither Bush nor Rubio so far have brought themselves to concede that climate-change science is accurate.
Obama plans to speak in the state’s tourist mecca the Everglades about threats climate change poses to the nation’s economy.
If Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott has his way, however, the president may be the only official in the state this week to utter the words “climate change” or “global warming.” Scott has unofficially banned use of the terms among state officials.
“This winter was cold in some parts of the country — as some members of Congress like to point out,” said Obama, chiding Republican lawmakers. “But around the world, it was the warmest year ever recorded… The world’s top climate scientists are warning us that a changing climate already affects the air our kids breathe… and the Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security.”
Earth Day, the brainchild of peace activist John McConnell, was announced in 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco. It was first celebrated on March 21, 1970, the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.