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Obama calls climate change 'fact', announces new energy intiatives

When it comes to saving the environment, President Obama doesn't just talk the talk.
President Barack Obama speaks at a Walmart store on May 9, 2014 in Mountain View, Calif.
President Barack Obama speaks at a Walmart store on May 9, 2014 in Mountain View, Calif.

Climate change is a "fact" and requires immediate action, President Obama said Friday at a Walmart store in California, where he announced a series of sustainable energy initiatives. 

"Two years ago I ordered $2 billion in energy upgrades to federal buildings. Today I'm ordering an additional $2 billion in upgrades over the next three years. And these upgrades will create tens of thousands of construction jobs and save taxpayers billions of dollars," Obama said.

Obama also announced that more than 300 organizations have agreed to expand solar energy, moves that he said will be good for the economy in the long run.

The president also proved he's personally committed to sustainable energy. The White House announced on Friday that the first family's residence has been equipped with American-made solar panels -- part of an energy retrofit aimed at improving the building's overall energy efficiency.

Other measures to reduce the first family's carbon footprint include the installation of variable-speed fans and updated building controls at their home.

"The project, which helps demonstrate that historic buildings can incorporate solar energy and energy efficiency upgrades, is estimated to pay for itself in energy savings over the next eight years," White House Assistant Press Secretary Matt Lehrich said in a statement.

The president spoke Friday at a Walmart in Mountain View, Calif. The speech came on the heels of a significant new government report released Tuesday that quantifies the impact of climate change across the country. Among the report's most dramatic conclusions is that rising sea levels threaten millions of homes in coastal communities both east and west.

In response to the report, Obama asserted that climate change is “not some distant problem of the future.” Rather, he told NBC News’ Al Roker, “[t]his is a problem that is affecting Americans right now.”