Obama climbs glacier for climate change message | News | DW | 02.09.2015
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Obama climbs glacier for climate change message

President Obama trekked up Exit Glacier in Alaska to make a dramatic statement about world climate. He has called the melting glacier "a signpost" of what the US faces as global warming threatens natural resources.

Speaking from Kenai Fjords National Park in the US' largest state on Tuesday, President Barack Obama called attention to the beauty of Exit Glacier, which has been receding at the alarming rate of 43 feet (13 meters) a year.

"This is as good of a signpost of what we're dealing with when it comes to climate change as just about anything," Obama said with the iconic glacier at his back.

"We want to make sure that our grandkids can see this," he added, calling the glacier "spectacular."

Counting on Alaska's impressive but deteriorating natural landscape to capture the sense of urgency in his call to combat climate change and his plan to reduce US carbon emissions by 28 percent over the next 10 years, he presented a doomsday scenario about what could follow unrestrained global warming: flooding, abandoned cities, and a world engulfed in conflict.

Obama's three-day visit will include the first presidential trip to the Alaskan Arctic in history and a taping of the reality show "Running Wild with Bear Grylls," in which the president will put his survival skills to the test alongside British adventurer Grylls.

Russian competition

Another important factor for the visit was to protect American interests in the Arctic from increasing Russian influence in the area.

He has asked Congress to speed up the process of acquiring new heavy icebreakers as the quickly melting ice has allowed for increased maritime traffic in the far north and the United States has fallen woefully behind Russian resources.

es/kms (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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