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Obama will visit the Florida Everglades on Earth Day — to talk about climate change

A bird flies over the sensitive ecological landscape of the Everglades National Park, home to many endangered and rare plants on March 16, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Saturday morning, President Obama gave a speech on climate change — to preview a bigger speech on climate change.

In the President’s weekly Saturday morning address, he declared that he’s headed to the Florida Everglades Wednesday — Earth Day — to “talk about the way that climate change threatens our economy.”

“The Everglades is one of the most special places in our country,” the president said. “But it’s also one of the most fragile.  Rising sea levels are putting a national treasure — and an economic engine for the South Florida tourism industry — at risk.”

“Climate change can no longer be denied — or ignored,” said Obama.

In his weekly address, President Obama talks about the need to combat the threat of climate change. (Video: Reuters)

Indeed, in much of South Florida and especially Southeast Florida, climate change is an accepted reality for regional government leaders who have organized themselves into the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, an agreement by Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Monroe Counties to collaborate on climate change adaptation measures for Florida and its coastal communities.

[Forget “bans" on talking about climate. These Florida Republicans are too busy protecting their coasts]

However, the issue remains more widely politicized in the state. Governor Rick Scott’s administration has been accused of trying to “ban” mentions of the climate issue by state environmental officials, and Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a just announced presidential candidate, recently voted against an amendment stating that climate change is real and “human activity significantly contributes” to it.

[Floridians seem a lot more worried about climate change than Marco Rubio is]

Another expected presidential contender from Florida, Jeb Bush, commented Thursday, “Look, the climate is changing. Obviously it’s changing. Down where I live … in a place where you’re pretty close to sea level, a couple of inches starts having an impact.”

By going to Florida to address climate change, then, President Obama could force more of a focus on the state’s unique vulnerability — where flooding and spoiling of water supplies by saltwater are already recurrent problems — and where its politicians stand on that.

The Everglades, too, are imperiled by climate change — by rising seas and, in particular, the way that intrusion of saltwater could threaten freshwater ecosystems.

In his address, Obama also suggested that 2015 could be a year of major progress on climate change — citing how the U.S.’s agreement late last year with China to cut carbon emissions could lay the groundwork for a global agreement in Paris late this year.

“Because the world’s two largest economies came together, there’s new hope that, with American leadership, this year, the world will finally reach an agreement to prevent the worst impacts of climate change before it’s too late,” Obama said.

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