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01/09/2015 10:16 BST | Updated 01/09/2015 11:59 BST

Barack Obama's First Alaska Speech Calls Out Climate Change 'Deniers' As Kivalina Island Faces Extinction

Barack Obama began his three-day tour of Alaska with a few harsh words for climate change deniers.

Addressing the GLACIER (Global Leadership In The Artic) conference, he said: “The time to heed the critics and the cynics and the deniers is past,” the LA Times reports.

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“The time to plead ignorance is surely past. Those who want to ignore the science, they are increasingly alone, they are on their own shrinking island.”

However, environmentalists were skeptical about the rebuke following his recent decision to let Shell drill in the Arctic.

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In a statement to the Guardian, founder of the activism group Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL), said: “Indigenous peoples of Alaska have seen alarming impacts from climate change already, and Shell’s drilling will only make them worse."

The "alarming impacts" she speaks of is not hyperbole.

Kivalina is an Alaskan island that will disappear into the ocean in ten years due to climate change, experts have predicted.

"...It's too late to go back....it's going to get worse," Colleen Swan, who works on a local relocation project, told ITV News.

Swan added "They (the US government) can talk about it now. They can talk about emissions. But it's still going to get worse before it gets better."

In December world leaders will meet in Paris to see if they can find a way to limit the global temperature rise to two degrees Celsius.

Despite skepticism around whether this will be achieved, Obama's Alaska tour is perceived to be a final effort to add momentum to achieving the climate change goals he set out at the start of his presidency.

In a bid to better engage the people at home, his itinerary will also include a trek through Alaska with TV personality Bear Grylls.