WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday called for more action to combat climate change "for the sake of our children and our future."
In his 2013 State of the Union Address, Obama urged the U.S. Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to cope with climate change, like the one Senator John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago.
"If Congress won't act soon to protect future generations, I will," Obama said. "I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy."
No single event makes a trend, but the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15 years. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires and floods -- all are now more frequent and intense, he said.
"We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence," Obama said. "Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science -- and act before it's too late."
Obama also proposed a new goal for his country, which is to cut in half the energy wasted by homes and businesses over the next 20 years. He said the states with the best ideas to create jobs and reduce energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make it happen.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said last month that 2012 marked the warmest year on record for the United States, and was also the second most extreme ever.
The nation suffered through 11 weather disasters in 2012, each of which 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 disasters are just a taste of what is to come as a result of climate change, and advocates called for swift action to limit the impact.
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.
In his second inaugural address in January, Obama said the United States will respond to the threat of climate change and the failure to do so would betray "our children and future generations."