Friday, December 18, 2009

Cop15: Obama, we must "act together"

In a 15 minute address to delegates at the Climate Change summit in Copenhagen, US President Barack Obama has called on all nations to act together decisively to curb carbon emissions and prevent a global catastrophe. "This is not fiction, this is science," he said in his opening remarks, seemingly directed at climate change skeptics. Obama then pledged his commitment to seek an agreement. "I come here not to talk, but to act," he told delegates.

In an attempt to appease his electorate at home he said that moves to find greener sources of energy would not affect the economy. "Changing the way we produce and use energy is essential to America's economic future," Obama insisted, "it will create new jobs as well as industry."

Turning to delegates representing 192 countries from around the world he urged them to reach a consensus and work to find a meaningful agreement. "We will all be more secure if we act together," Obama declared, "All major economies must put forward decisive targets to cut their emissions." There was no direct finger pointing, but amid his comments were thinly veiled messages targeted at certain countries with whom the US have been at loggerheads in recent days. Widely interpreted as being a nudge at China, he said, "We whether we're keeping our commitments and exchange information in a transparent manner."

He spoke of the commitment the United States was making in an attempt to help the poorest of nations. Yesterday Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the US was to pledge $100 billion each year to help developing nations, though she did lay out a condition that the money was contingent on reaching a global deal that met its criteria. Today, Obama reiterated that commitment and called on others to offer their support. "We must have financing that helps developing countries adapt," Obama said.
With regards the creation of a working agreement, President Obama set out three points which should be adhered to; mitigation, transparency and financing. "It is a clear formula," he said, "but we are running short on time," he warned. "At this time the question is whether we will move forward or split apart, whether we prefer posturing to action," Obama continued. 

"The time for talk is over. This is the bottom line... we [the US] have made our commitments and we will do what we say...but there must be movement on all sides," the American president declared, "We must choose action over inaction... let us meet our responsibility to our people and to the future of our planet."

It remains to be seen if the US president's appeal will fall on deaf ears. Some may see his declared commitment as being somewhat hollow and lacking any real substance. In the coming hours it will take some strong diplomatic efforts, especially between China and the US, to pull something from this shambolic conference.

tvnewswatch, Beijing, China

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