US president Barack Obama planned to hike a melting glacier and paint a doomsday scenario if climate change isn’t dealt with fast.
Entire nations submerged underwater, cities abandoned and refugees fleeing in droves as conflict breaks out across the globe.
It is a harrowing image of a future that Obama insists is inevitable unless the world follows his and America’s lead by making sweeping cuts to greenhouse gases.
As he crosses Alaska this week, Obama will become the first sitting president to visit the Alaska Arctic.
He is counting on Alaska’s exquisite but deteriorating landscape to elicit a sense of urgency that his previous calls to action on climate change have not.
He opened his three-day trip to the largest US state with a speech to an Arctic climate summit, calling global warming an escalating crisis already disturbing Alaskans’ way of life.
“We will condemn our children to a planet beyond their capacity to repair,” Obama said. Alluding ironically to the threat of rising seas, he castigated leaders who deny climate change as “increasingly alone — on their own shrinking island”.
Amid concerns that the US has ceded influence to Russia in strategic Arctic waters, the White House said it would ask Congress to speed up construction of new icebreakers. The US has two working icebreakers, compared to Russia’s 40.
On his first day in Alaska, Obama offered no new policy prescriptions or federal efforts to slow global warming, but said the US is doing its part by working to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases by up to 28% over the next decade. He urged fellow leaders to make similar pledges.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved