Obama Stresses Urgent Need for Leadership on Climate Action
As the December climate conference in Paris draws nearer, supporters of climate action are both hopeful about the outcome and concerned that negotiations aren’t progressing fast enough. On his visit last week to Alaska’s Arctic regions, President Obama echoed those sentiments. Speaking at the Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic (GLACIER), he stressed that climate change “is no longer some far-off problem; it is happening here, it is happening now,” and warned that global leaders “aren’t moving fast enough” to address it.
Obama also emphasized that this challenge was an opportunity to be seized, saying, “If we make our best efforts to protect this planet for future generations, we can solve this problem.”
As one of the places in America where climate impacts are most severe and most visible, Alaska was an ideal backdrop for delivering this message. While on his tour, Obama made good use of this imagery, helping to make the impacts real and personal and showing what’s at stake if we fail to act. He pointed out the severity of the problem, but took care to stay optimistic and explain that we can do something about it – all effective strategies for engaging people on climate issues.
By Tony Dokoupil, reporter for MSNBC
President Barack Obama late Monday issued a blunt, borderline apocalyptic call for global action on climate change, rallying world leaders to reach an agreement this year or “condemn our children to a world they will no longer have the capacity to repair.”
“Climate change is no longer some far-off problem; it is happening here, it is happening now,” the President said in Anchorage, Alaska, addressing an international conference on the Arctic. “I have come here today, as the leader of the world’s largest economy and its second-largest emitter, to say that the United States recognizes our role in creating the problem, and we embrace our responsibility to help solve it.”
In a glaring, unusually grim speech, Obama made a sweeping call for grander American ambition in the face of climate change. But he also sought to spur a deeper mobilization worldwide. Four times in a 24-minute speech he warned “we’re not moving fast enough,” noting that “none of the nations represented here are moving fast enough.”