WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS SF) — California environmentalists and the state’s Democratic junior senator hailed President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address promise that he will tackle climate change during his second term if lawmakers don’t do it themselves.

“We must do more to combat climate change,” Obama told the joint session of Congress in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday evening, adding that “no single event makes a trend” but heat waves, droughts and floods are now more frequent and intense.

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Obama said these types of weather phenomena were clearly not a freak coincidence and maintained it was time to act on the overwhelming science that is out there about the dangers of climate change.

“The President is right – we must do more to combat climate change, and Superstorm Sandy was a wake-up call. It is happening before our eyes, the science is clear, and we must act before it is too late,” said U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) in an e-mail to CBS San Francisco. “I am committed to working with my colleagues on a comprehensive solution, and I strongly support the President’s efforts to move forward with executive actions to address this serious threat.”

Obama said Congress should write legislation that would give polluters market-based incentives to reduce the emissions blamed for global warming. He said if lawmakers don’t do that, his administration would craft executive actions that would cut pollution, help get communities ready for the effects of climate change and encourage increased use of cleaner sources of energy.

“If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will,” Obama said.

A statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy group was quick to applaud Obama’s remarks.

“Tonight, President Obama backed up his bold words on addressing global warming from his inaugural address by outlining clean energy solutions that will pave the way towards a cleaner, healthier future,” said spokesman Sean Carroll of Environment California in a statement e-mailed to CBS San Francisco. “Americans have been asking for leadership on tackling global warming. Clean energy solutions, like cutting our energy waste in half and expanding renewable energy, as the president outlined, are critical pieces of the puzzle.”

Obama had been criticized for not tackling the problem head-on during his first term, especially from former Vice President Al Gore.

(Copyright 2013 CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved.)


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