| WASHINGTON, March 19
WASHINGTON, March 19 In an effort to help
Americans prepare for the effects of global warming, the White
House on Wednesday unveiled a new initiative to make climate
data widely available to citizens, companies and local
The move is part of President Barack Obama's Climate Action
Plan, a broad strategy to meet U.S. commitments to reduce
emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide that are
blamed for heating the earth.
Part of tackling climate change involves adapting to it, and
the administration launched a website, climate.data.gov, to help
people do that by gaining access to collated data from different
"These data will be crucial to helping communities plan for
floods and other climate impacts," John Podesta, a senior
adviser to the president, told reporters in a briefing.
The administration is also releasing mapping information
about critical infrastructure such as bridges, tunnels and roads
to help prepare for natural disasters and climate change-related
Obama has made fighting climate change a focus this year for
executive action as legislative initiatives such as immigration
reform falter in Congress.
Podesta, who joined the White House at the beginning of 2014
as a counselor to Obama, is spearheading the push. He said he
spent about 50 percent of his time on climate-related issues.
Initiatives on energy efficiency will be forthcoming and a
federal strategy on methane - another potent greenhouse gas -
will be released in the not-too-distant future, he said.
Podesta said he had kept his pledge not to work on the issue
of whether or not to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline from
The former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton opposed
the pipeline, which is loathed by environmentalists, before
starting to work for the Obama White House and recused himself
from the decision-making process. He said on Wednesday his views
on the subject were well known to the president.
Obama has committed the United States to reduce its
greenhouse gas emissions roughly 17 percent compared to 2005
levels by 2020. Podesta said the administration planned to
announce its commitment for a post-2020 period in the first
quarter of next year.
(Editing by Cynthia Osterman)