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Obama Uses Hurricane Season Start to Boost Climate Plan

U.S. President Barack Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama attends a hurricane preparedness meeting at FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C. on May 30, 2014. (Photographer: Olivier Douliery/Getty Images, Pool

Anticipating more storms like Hurricane Sandy, President Barack Obama urged emergency workers and residents in coastal areas to brace themselves for the start of the hurricane season.

The official beginning of the hurricane season two days from now coincides with an administration focus on climate change, which Obama is making a central issue during his final years in office.

“The changes we’re seeing in our climate mean that, unfortunately, storms like Sandy could end up being more common and more devastating,” Obama said today at a hurricane preparation meeting at the Washington headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “And that’s why we’re also going to be doing more to deal with the dangers of carbon pollution that help to cause this climate change and global warming.”

The Environmental Protection Agency is set to announce on June 2 limits on carbon emissions from power plants. While the regulations are sure to draw a political fight from lawmakers from coal-producing regions, Obama’s advisers view them as critical to the president’s legacy and his efforts to coax other nations to limit emissions.

Obama will discuss global warming again tomorrow in his weekly radio address. After leaving FEMA headquarters Obama stopped at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington to talk with children whose illnesses are aggravated by air pollution.

Sandy Example

This hurricane season may have fewer storms than average because of the El Nino effect of warmer tropical Pacific temperatures, according to a Bloomberg Industries report citing Colorado State University scientists. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a 70 percent chance of eight to 13 named storms this season with one or two becoming major hurricanes of Category 3 or above.

Despite predictions of a light hurricane season, NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan at a May 22 press conference in New York pointed to 2012’s Hurricane Sandy to show that it only takes one storm making landfall in a vulnerable area to cause catastrophic damage.

The first storm of the season, Amanda, grew into a Category 4 storm before losing strength this week in Pacific off of Mexico, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

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