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White House launches climate change information website

Drought and climate change
Drought and climate change
AP file

The Obama administration announced Wednesday a new website has been developed that will allow the public, officials, authorities and planners to access climate change information for their regions.

The website is the result of multiple agency contributions to the Climate Data Initiative, which will allow communities to envision and prepare for various climate change scenarios like drought, flooding, rising sea levels, wildfires and snow storms.

The information available will help regional planners across a wide spectrum of principles, including agriculture, medical, infrastructure and business to better prepare for climate disasters.

White House advisors John Podesta and John Holdren wrote on the White House blog:

“While no single weather event can be attributed to climate change, we know that our changing climate is making many kinds of extreme events more frequent and more severe. Even as we work to curb greenhouse-gas emissions and expand renewable energy generation, we need to take steps to make our communities more resilient to the climate-change impacts we can’t avoid — some of which are already well underway.”

The data portal will be called, as stated in The Hill, and it will extrapolate sets of statistics from agencies like NASA, NOAA, U.S. Geological Survey, the Department of Defense and others, to bring “maps and apps” to the website using such platforms as Esri and Google Earth technology.

Scientists at NASA believe the Earth will continue to warm and approximately 200 scientists who contributed to the 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report believe that extreme weather will worsen and become more frequent.

Although a recent Gallop poll shows people are less concerned about climate change than the economy, government spending, immigration and healthcare, it was the first time climate change had been added to the array of questions. Critics say the location of respondents would likely impact their answers, with possibly more concern expressed by people living in Eastern states who have been smacked with Arctic storms a half dozen times this winter.

According to a report in the LA Times, the White House has speeded up the focus on climate change in recent months. “In February, the administration created so-called climate hubs under the Agriculture Department to connect farmers and ranchers with universities, industry groups and federal agencies to help prepare for disasters worsened by climate change.”

In addition, Obama included $1 billion for a “climate resiliency fund” in his 2015 budget that will cover research for building extreme weather infrastructure and other preparations to protect communities.

Furthermore, 28 Democrats held an all-night conference to bring attention to climate change on the floor of Congress last week, without a single Republican participating.

The US Congress is severely divided on the subject of climate change. Most Republicans characteristically steer clear of any climate change conversations with many refusing to admit that it exists.

Undaunted by having so many science deniers in the House and Senate, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have made commitments to combating climate change and the use of executive power, the Environmental Protection Agency and the addition of the administration’s one-of-a-kind data portal is part of the effort.


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