The White House announced a new initiative, presented by two science advisers, to provide resources on the impact of climate change with climate.data.gov.
By presenting such information, citizens and companies would be able to plan what to do in response to climate change threats. Data would be provided through federal agencies, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Coastal areas were a reason for the initiative as simulations will be shown on the website to show the impact of rising sea levels. A post dated March 19, while announcing a joint NOAA and NASA “Coastal Vulnerability Innovation Challenge,” emphasized the impact in the opening lines:
Coastal communities are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the risk of damage from coastal inundation. We only have to remember the recent impact of Hurricane Sandy on communities in the northeast to see the potential damage that a single storm can cause.
Overall, the announcement was to place focus on getting citizens to focus on global warming in contemporary times. John Podesta, a special science adviser to President Barack Obama, told reporters that civilians “need to understand what is happening and what is likely to happen.”
A March 13, 2014 Gallup poll found 36 percent of Americans believing climate change would “pose a serious threat to [their] way of life.” Among age groups, 43 percent of Americans between 18 to 29 agreed it would pose a threat to their way of life. Still, a Jan. 16, 2014 Gallup poll found only 55 percent of Americans citing climate change as an extremely or very important issue the federal government should act on.
In a post on the White House blog, Podesta and John Holdren—director of the White House Office of Science and Technology—spoke more on the significance of the global warming in the U.S. since it “caused more than $110 billion in damages and claimed more than 300 lives” in 2012. Furthermore, as they elaborated on the devastation brought by climate change, they focused on the main reason why the website was created—change:
Every citizen will be affected by climate change—and all of us must work together to make our communities stronger and more resilient to its impacts.
Interestingly, the post said the country would need to “work to curb greenhouse-gas emissions and expand renewable energy generation.” Podesta has gone on-the-record for criticizing environmental groups on their protests against the Obama administration’s turn to non-renewable energy, such as natural gas. Podesta told the Wall Street Journal:
“We remain committed to developing the resource and using it, and we think there is an advantage, particularly in the electricity generation,”
Podesta has also defended the administration’s efforts to support the use of fossil fuels and rejected any plan to drop its “all-of-the-above” strategy.
It seems more likely the use of climate change will be used as a tool to ensure the election of Democrats as a few weeks ago Senate Democrats held an all-night session on the issue of global warming. However, that was in response to both Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who both spoke on drone strikes and health care respectively. Both saw a surge in campaign contributions as a result of their speeches in the Senate that garnered media coverage. Even Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), who organized the all-night meeting, referenced both Senators and their filibusters as a model:
Read the rest of this entry →