Obama: Climate Pact Would Be 'Act of Defiance' Against Terrorism

Monday, 30 Nov 2015 06:21 AM

President Barack Obama told world leaders that the climate talks that opened Monday in Paris mark a turning point for collective action on global warming and stand as a rejection of the terrorists who struck the French capital a little more than two weeks ago.The threat posed by climate change is the defining challenge of the century, Obama told the United Nations- sponsored summit organized to reach the first truly global agreement to curb greenhouse gases. Linking the meeting to the battle against extremism, Obama said a deal on emissions limits would be “an act of defiance” that proves nothing will deter nations from “building the future we want for our children.”

“Here in Paris we can show the world what is possible when we come together, united by a common effort and a common purpose,” Obama said.
The president told the assembled dignitaries that no nation was immune from the effects of climate change. He said the U.S., the world’s biggest economy and its second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, accepted its role for contributing to the problem and shares the responsibility to fix it.

Climate Assistance

One of the central U.S. goals at the summit is to get commitments from the wealthiest nations at the summit to invest in clean energy research and assist developing countries in mitigating the effects of climate change. The president is looking to advance that effort by highlighting both public and private efforts, including an unprecedented commitment from donors including Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates to pour billions of dollars into basic energy research over the next five years.

Nearly 30 of the world’s wealthiest investors will participate in the program, which is dedicated to providing seed funding to new technologies that can help expand the use of clean energy, particularly in the developing world.

"Given the scale of the challenge, we need to be exploring many different paths, and that means we also need to invent new approaches,” Gates said in a statement released Sunday.

Some 20 countries, including the world’s biggest carbon emitters in the U.S., China, and India, have also agreed to increase spending in that area from $10 billion to $20 billion over the next five years.

The move "should send a strong signal to the markets" that leaders from the world’s largest carbon emitters are "going all- in on clean energy," White House senior adviser Brian Deese said in a conference call with reporters.

Dissent in U.S.

While leaders in Paris are eager to demonstrate that unity, that consensus has not quieted critics of Obama’s agenda back at home.
Even as the U.S. hopes to cement its standing as a global leader on climate change, a group of influential congressional Republicans are hoping to use the summit to undercut the president’s ambitions and scale back American funding for international efforts to combat global warming.

The White House has downplayed concerns that Republicans could submarine the talks by restricting the State Department’s ability to donate to the Green Climate Fund, the central mechanism which leaders are expected to use to assist developing countries. The administration has pledged $3 billion to the international effort, with the White House requesting $500 million of that funding this year.

The White House has aggressively courted corporate interests ahead of the talks, soliciting significant pledges and contributions that Obama intends to use as examples of how the U.S. is acting even without congressional assistance.

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