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Obama in Tahoe: 'No Contradiction' Between 'Smart' Environmental Policy and 'Strong Economy'

President Obama declared there’s “no contradiction between being smart on the environment and having a strong economy” at the environmental summit in Lake Tahoe hosted by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

Obama told the crowd Wednesday he’s “going to miss the day to day interactions that I’ve got” with Reid “and I’ll miss Harry even though he’s not a sentimental guy” — “anybody who’s ever gotten on the phone with Harry Reid, you’ll be mid-conversation and once he’s kind of finished with the whole point of the conversation, you’ll still be talking and you realize he’s hung up, and he does that to the president of the United States.”

“…But Harry is tough. I believe he is going to go down as one of the best leaders that the Senate ever had. I could not have accomplished what I accomplished without him being at my side.”

He said people shouldn’t “think of climate change as if it’s something that’s just happening out there that we don’t have control over.”

“But the fact is that it is manmade. It’s ‘we think it’s manmade,’ ‘we guess it’s manmade,’ it’s not a lot of people are saying it’s manmade. It’s not ‘I’m not a scientist so I don’t know.’ You don’t have to be a scientist. You have to read or listen to scientists to know that the overwhelming body of scientific evidence shows us that climate change is caused by human activity,” Obama continued, adding that in Tahoe “economies like this one live or die by the health of our natural resources.”

The president said he and Reid have “proven that the choice between our environment, our economy and our health is a false one.”

“Now a changing climate threatens even the best conservation efforts. Keep in mind 2014 was the warmest year on record until, you guessed it, 2015. And now 2016 is on pace to be even hotter,” he said. “For 14 months in a row now, the Earth has broken global temperature records. Lake Tahoe’s average temperature is rising at its fastest rate ever and its temperature is the warmest on record. And because climate and conservation are challenges that go hand in hand, our conservation mission is more urgent than ever.”

He lauded his administration’s “tough fuel economy standards for cars” while “we’ve had the longest streak of job creation on record.”

“We have elected officials who are alone in the world in denying climate change or put our energy and environmental policies in the hands of the big polluters,” Obama continued. “It’s not going to happen if we just pay lip service to conservation but then refuse to do what’s needed. When scientists first told us that our planet was changing because of human activity, it was received as a bombshell but in a way we shouldn’t have been surprised.”

Reid reflected on starting the Lake Tahoe Summit two decades ago under the Clinton administration, and said Obama “has done more than any president in history” to “protect our public lands and waterways” with “historic work on climate and clean energy — wind, geothermal, and solar.”