Obama Focuses On Native Issues, Climate Change As He Starts Alaska Visit

President Obama makes his way across the tarmac Monday to greet well-wishers upon arrival at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska. (AFP/Getty Images)
President Obama makes his way across the tarmac Monday to greet well-wishers upon arrival at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska. (AFP/Getty Images)

President Obama arrived in Alaska on Monday afternoon and spoke of renewed commitment to mitigating the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change, the Associated Press reported.

"On this issue — of all issues — there is such a thing as being too late," Obama said. "And that moment is almost upon us."

The arctic is the fastest-warming region on the planet, the president noted — and added that, as the world's biggest economy and second-biggest carbon emitter, the United States bears a lot of responsibility for that.

President Obama has a busy schedule during his visit to Alaska. On Monday he met with political and tribal leaders, Alaska Public Media reported, and his decision to rename the state's Mt. McKinley to the native-preferred Denali was celebrated by 94-year-old Poldine Carlo of Fairbanks, who sang to Obama in the Dena'ina dialect of the Athabaskan people.

The decision to rename North America's highest peak was less well-received in other quarters Monday night.

Poldine Carlo, 94, a founding member of the Fairbanks Native Association.
Poldine Carlo, 94, a founding member of the Fairbanks Native Association.

Later this week, Obama said he would visit tribal communities in Dillingham and Kotzebue. The president is also expected to tape a reality TV show with survivalist Bear Grylls.

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