Today, John Podesta, Counselor to the President, sent the following message to the White House email list. Want to be on the list? Sign up for updates.
The facts are in. The science is definitive. The question is no longer whether climate change is happening, but whether we can afford not to act.
In the western United States, changes in our climate are fueling wildfire seasons that are longer and more intense -- putting people, communities, and businesses at risk.
As we're seeing right now, wildfires unquestionably have devastating impacts on the lives of many Americans. This weekend, California declared a state of emergency as two major wildfires scorched acres of land, threatening towns and forcing many to evacuate. These are just two of the 14 fires that are currently burning throughout the state.
Make no mistake: The cost of inaction on wildfires and climate change is too high a price for Americans to pay, particularly when we have a chance to address this right now.
As a new report from the Council of Economic Advisors points out, the consequences of climate change reach beyond our environment. The impacts of climate change threaten our homes, our health, and our economic prosperity. In fact, delaying action for a decade would increase the cost of responding to climate change by 40 percent.
President Obama has been taking action on all fronts to reduce the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that are warming our planet, to make our communities more resilient to climate impacts, and to take the lead on the international stage. In June, he announced a competition to help Americans build a stronger capacity to protect their homes and neighborhoods from natural disasters.
If the question is, "Do we protect the lives, the economy, and the future of the American people?", the answer should always be a resounding "yes."
Check out the President's action plan to learn more about what we can do to take the lead on addressing global climate change: