April 23, 2014--Climate change the Earth Day target for Obama, U.S. officials (Environmental News Network)

An Earth Day Proclamation from President Barack Obama today contains a “dire” warning of the potent consequences of climate change and a pledge to protect Americans and all humankind from this looming problem  “that threatens us all.” “The first Earth Day was a call to action for every citizen, every family, and every public official. It gave voice to the conservation movement, led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and pushed our Nation to adopt landmark laws on clean air and water,” said the President. “This Earth Day, we remember that when Americans unite in common purpose, we can overcome any obstacle.” “Today, we face another problem that threatens us all,” Obama proclaimed. “The overwhelming judgment of science tells us that climate change is altering our planet in ways that will have profound impacts on all of humankind.” “Already, longer wildfire seasons put first responders at greater risk. Farmers must cope with increased soil erosion following heavy downpours and greater stresses from weeds, plant diseases, and insect pests. Increasingly severe weather patterns strain infrastructure and damage our communities, especially low-income communities, which are disproportionately vulnerable and have few resources to prepare. The consequences of climate change will only grow more dire in the years to come,” Obama predicted.

Obama recounted the work his administration has done to prepare the nation for the impacts of climate change – tenfold increase in solar power, triple the electricity from wind power, and took credit for bringing “carbon pollution to its lowest levels in nearly two decades.” “In the international community, we are working with our partners to reduce greenhouse gas emissions around the globe. Along with states, utilities, health groups, and advocates, we will develop commonsense and achievable carbon pollution standards for our biggest pollution source – power plants,” Obama said. Climate change is not the only environmental front Obama has been working on, he said in the Earth Day proclamation. “We are also taking on environmental challenges by increasing fuel efficiency, restoring public lands, and curbing emissions of mercury and other toxic chemicals. We are safeguarding the water our families drink and the waterways and oceans that sustain our livelihoods. This February, we proposed new standards to protect farm workers from dangerous pesticides.” “And because caring for our planet requires commitment from all of us, we are engaging organizations, businesses, and individuals in these efforts,” said Obama. Today, senior officials across the Obama Administration are observing the 44th anniversary of Earth Day with events and announcements. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, speaking at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa about the current state of climate change policy at the federal, state, and local level, celebrated Earth Day by announcing record financial support for 116 projects that will improve water and wastewater services for rural Americans and benefit the environment.

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