India, China must be responsible to combat climate change: US

The US, severely hit by climate change, has asked countries like India and China that have high carbon emissions to be responsible in combating the major challenges of the global problem.

"It is absolutely essential that nations that produce high levels of carbon emissions be responsible in addressing this challenge," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters yesterday when asked about India and China.

Carney's remarks came after a US report called for urgent action to prepare the world's largest economy to combat the effects of higher temperatures, rising sea levels and erratic weather.

Carney said it is in the national security interest of the US to reduce dependence on import of energy.

"It is absolutely in our national security interests and energy interests to diversify our sources of energy. And that is why approaching this as a whole as opposed to addressing each piece of it is essential to improving both our preparation for the impacts of climate change and enhancing our capacity to actually mitigate the damage that climate change can cause," he said.

The White House Press Secretary said the impacts of climate change on weather are severe.

"There was much discussion about that around the so-called polar vortex that we experienced here and other areas of the country experienced. I think that the fact that the severe winter that much of the country endured had an impact on GDP wasn't an assessment that we here alone made, but economists, independent, on the outside, made and that nobody disagrees with," he said.

"While no single weather event can be attributed to climate change, but the increase in the severity of weather that we have seen is attributable," he said.

"And that has significant impacts on our nation, on our people, on our economy. You see longer, hotter, drier droughts. You see more severe storms, like we saw with Sandy. And it will only get worse, again, according to the science," he added.

"Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present," the National Climate Assessment said, adding that the evidence of man-made climate change "continues to strengthen" and that "impacts are increasing across the country."

"I understand that there is an inclination upon some to doubt the science, despite the overwhelming evidence and the overwhelming percentage in the 97 per cent range of scientists who study this issue who agree that climate change is real and that it is the result of human activity. But that denial doesn't help the country, the economy or the American people as it deals with a fact that is confronting us now, impacts that are real now," Carney said.

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