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Jul 16, 3:02 PM EDT

Obama: Climate change a direct threat to US cities


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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Harsher storms, worsening flooding and rising seas threaten the public's safety and health across the country, President Barack Obama warned Wednesday as he urged local communities to prepare for the effects of climate change.

Joined by top federal officials and local, state and tribal leaders at the White House, Obama said communities experiencing negative effects firsthand know that climate change is already upon us. He said boosting the nation's resilience and fighting climate change shouldn't be a partisan issue for lawmakers in Washington.

"Climate change poses a direct threat to the infrastructure of America," Obama said.

To help communities prepare, Obama announced new federal resources and grants. Some of the money will help rural communities dealing with drought and help Native American tribes train their officials to deal with climate change. The funding will also promote development of three-dimensional mapping of the U.S. for use in flood and erosion mitigation.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee were among those attending the fourth and final meeting of Obama's 26-person task force, whose mandate was to advise Obama on how the administration can help communities already dealing with climate change. Facing staunch opposition to climate legislation from Congress, Obama has been seeking ways to use existing authority to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and better respond to climate-related events.

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