The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, from a White House interview Monday with President Obama, “Obama says flooding serves as warning” (free registration):
WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Barack Obama acknowledged the current flood emergency in the Red River Valley on Monday, and warned that global warming could lead to similar disasters in the future.
Considering how bad the flooding is now in North Dakota, imagine what it could be if global warming exacerbates the issue, Obama said.
“I actually think the science around climate change is real. It is potentially devastating,” said Obama, who sat down Monday afternoon for a sit-down interview with six hand-picked journalists from around the country.
“If you look at the flooding that’s going on right now in North Dakota and you say to yourself, ‘If you see an increase of 2 degrees, what does that do, in terms of the situation there?’ that indicates the degree to which we have to take this seriously,” he said.
President Obama’s remarks are reminiscent of President Clinton’s comments about the last big North Dakota-Minnesota flood, the disaster of 1997. From the Washington Post, April 23, 1997, “Flood Victims Cheer Clinton’s Pledge of Aid“:
As he viewed the scene from Marine One, Clinton stared in silence and shook his head faintly. “Every one of those little houses is another life story,” he said softly. After a pause, he started to add, “It’s just — ” and then stopped as if lost for words. In a lighter moment, he took personal inventory of the town’s remains.
“The McDonald’s is dry,” he exclaimed with a grin. “The Pizza Hut is too, but you can’t get to it.” While he offered no explanation here, the president did venture a theory for the cause of the unpredictable weather before leaving Washington this morning. During an Earth Day commemoration at the White House, Clinton suggested the pattern of natural disasters during his term might emanate from global warming caused by pollution.
“We do not know . . . for sure that the warming of the Earth is responsible for what seems to be a substantial increase in highly disruptive weather events, but many people believe that it is, and we have to keep looking into it,” he said. “. . . If there is a larger cause which can be eased into the future, we ought to go after that solution as well.”
From personal experience (1997 in North Dakota) and from reading the papers this year, we have another theory of what might be causing the historic floods: Both winters were very, very, very snowy. And it’s very flat in the Red River Valley.
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