WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday that the U.S. will respond to the threat of climate change and the failure to do so would betray "our children and future generations."
"Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms," Obama told audience in his inaugural address for second term.
He said the path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult but America can not resist this transition.
"We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries -- we must claim its promise," Obama said. "That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure -- our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks."
2012 marked the warmest year on record for the United States and was also the second most extreme ever, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said this month.
The nation suffered through 11 weather disasters that each caused one billion U.S. dollars in damage or more, including hurricanes Sandy and Isaac and deadly tornado outbreaks in the Great Plains, Texas and the Ohio Valley. Scientists have warned that such conditions are just a taste of what is to come as a result of climate change and advocates urged swift action to limit the impacts.
Obama has cited climate change as a priority since being re- elected in November. He tried and failed in his first term to get a climate change bill through Congress, which has been mostly silent on climate change since efforts to pass "cap-and-trade" legislation collapsed in the Senate in mid-2010.