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Barack Obama renews climate change push

IRVINE, California--U.S. President Barack Obama renewed his campaign to curb carbon emissions Saturday, saying the debate over climate change is over.

Obama, who made the battle against climate change a core promise of his 2008 election campaign, has been stymied at the federal level by opposition from lawmakers.

Congress “is full of folks who stubbornly and automatically reject the scientific evidence,” Obama told a crowd of more than 30,641 people, including thousands of graduates at the University of California, Irvine.

“They'll tell you climate change is a hoax, or a fad. One says the world might actually be cooling.”

Two weeks ago, Obama unveiled a contentious plan to cut carbon emissions from U.S. power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

The plan would let U.S. states choose their own approaches as long as each enforces restrictions on carbon emissions.

The president used his speech to the university graduates to present a US$1-billion competition for funds to help communities hit by natural disasters linked to climate change.

“Climate change is no longer a distant threat,” the president emphasized.

“In some parts of the country, weather-related disasters like droughts, fires, storms and floods are going to get harsher and costlier.”

He stressed that climate change remains “one of the most significant long-term challenges” to the United States and the world.

US$1 Bil. in Relief Funding

“The climate change deniers suggest there's still a debate over the science. There's not,” Obama said.

“I've got to admit, though, it's pretty rare that you'll encounter someone who says the problem you're trying to solve doesn't even exist.”

When president John F. Kennedy set the United States on a course for the moon, Obama added, “I don't remember anyone saying the moon wasn't real, or that it was made of cheese.”

Of the US$1 billion funding Obama announced Saturday, about US$820 million will be available to any state that experienced a “Presidentially declared major disaster” between 2011 and 2013.

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U.S. President Barack Obama joins students and faculty of UC Irvine, on the platform of the UCI commencement ceremonies giving the sign of the UCI Anteater and saying “Zot, Zot.” Obama was the keynote speaker at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, in Anaheim, California on Saturday, June 14.

(AP)

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