WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is telling Congress that he will take action to combat climate change if lawmakers don't do it themselves.
"... For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Yes, it's true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods - all are now more frequent and intense."
In his State of the Union address Tuesday, the president said Congress should write legislation that would give polluters market-based incentives to reduce the emissions blamed for global warming. He said if lawmakers don't do that, his administration will craft executive actions that would cut pollution, help get communities ready for the effects of climate change and encourage increased use of cleaner sources of energy.
"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. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science - and act before it's too late."
Obama says progress can be made against climate change without interrupting economic growth.
"...We can make meaningful progress on this issue while driving strong economic growth," stated the president. "I urge this Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago."
"But if Congress won't act soon to protect future generations, I will. 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."
The president says that with extreme weather getting more intense and increasingly frequent, lawmakers can believe those events are a coincidence or they can act before it's too late.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.