We have come to Paris to show our resolve. We offer our condolences to the people of France for the barbaric attacks on this beautiful city. We stand united in solidarity not only to deliver justice to the terrorist network responsible for those attacks but to protect our people and uphold the enduring values that keep us strong and keep us free. And we salute the people of Paris for insisting this crucial conference go on — an act of defiance that proves nothing will deter us from building the future we want for our children. What greater rejection of those who would tear down our world than marshaling our best efforts to save it?
Nearly 200 nations have assembled here this week — a declaration that for all the challenges we face, the growing threat of climate change could define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other. What should give us hope that this is a turning point, that this is the moment we finally determined we would save our planet, is the fact that our nations share a sense of urgency about this challenge and a growing realization that it is within our power to do something about it.
Our understanding of the ways human beings disrupt the climate advances by the day. Fourteen of the fifteen warmest years on record have occurred since the year 2000 — and 2015 is on pace to be the warmest year of all. No nation — large or small, wealthy or poor — is immune to what this means.
This summer, I saw the effects of climate change firsthand in our northernmost state, Alaska, where the sea is already swallowing villages and eroding shorelines; where permafrost thaws and the tundra burns; where glaciers are melting at a pace unprecedented in modern times. And it was a preview of one possible future — a glimpse of our children’s fate if the climate keeps changing faster than our efforts to address it. Submerged countries. Abandoned cities. Fields that no longer grow. Political disruptions that trigger new conflict, and even more floods of desperate peoples seeking the sanctuary of nations not their own.
That future is not one of strong economies, nor is it one where fragile states can find their footing. That future is one that we have the power to change. Right here. Right now. But only if we rise to this moment. As one of America’s governors has said, “We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change, and the last generation that can do something about it.”
I’ve come here personally, as the leader of the world’s largest economy and the second-largest emitter, to say that the United States of America not only recognizes our role in creating this problem, we embrace our responsibility to do something about it.
Over the last seven years, we’ve made ambitious investments in clean energy, and ambitious reductions in our carbon emissions. We’ve multiplied wind power threefold, and solar power more than twentyfold, helping create parts of America where these clean power sources are finally cheaper than dirtier, conventional power. We’ve invested in energy efficiency in every way imaginable. We’ve said no to infrastructure that would pull high-carbon fossil fuels from the ground, and we’ve said yes to the first-ever set of national standards limiting the amount of carbon pollution our power plants can release into the sky.
The advances we’ve made have helped drive our economic output to all-time highs, and drive our carbon pollution to its lowest levels in nearly two decades.
But the good news is this is not an American trend alone. Last year, the global economy grew while global carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels stayed flat. And what this means can’t be overstated. We have broken the old arguments for inaction. We have proved that strong economic growth and a safer environment no longer have to conflict with one another; they can work in concert with one another.
And that should give us hope. One of the enemies that we’ll be fighting at this conference is cynicism, the notion we can’t do anything about climate change. Our progress should give us hope during these two weeks — hope that is rooted in collective action.
Earlier this month in Dubai, after years of delay, the world agreed to work together to cut the super-pollutants known as HFCs. That’s progress. Already, prior to Paris, more than 180 countries representing nearly 95 percent of global emissions have put forward their own climate targets. That is progress. For our part, America is on track to reach the emissions targets that I set six years ago in Copenhagen — we will reduce our carbon emissions in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. And that’s why, last year, I set a new target: America will reduce our emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels within 10 years from now.
So our task here in Paris is to turn these achievements into an enduring framework for human progress — not a stopgap solution, but a long-term strategy that gives the world confidence in a low-carbon future.
Here, in Paris, let’s secure an agreement that builds in ambition, where progress paves the way for regularly updated targets — targets that are not set for each of us but by each of us, taking into account the differences that each nation is facing.
Here in Paris, let’s agree to a strong system of transparency that gives each of us the confidence that all of us are meeting our commitments. And let’s make sure that the countries who don’t yet have the full capacity to report on their targets receive the support that they need.
Here in Paris, let’s reaffirm our commitment that resources will be there for countries willing to do their part to skip the dirty phase of development. And I recognize this will not be easy. It will take a commitment to innovation and the capital to continue driving down the cost of clean energy. And that’s why, this afternoon, I’ll join many of you to announce an historic joint effort to accelerate public and private clean energy innovation on a global scale.
Here in Paris, let’s also make sure that these resources flow to the countries that need help preparing for the impacts of climate change that we can no longer avoid. We know the truth that many nations have contributed little to climate change but will be the first to feel its most destructive effects. For some, particularly island nations — whose leaders I’ll meet with tomorrow — climate change is a threat to their very existence. And that’s why today, in concert with other nations, America confirms our strong and ongoing commitment to the Least Developed Countries Fund. And tomorrow, we’ll pledge new contributions to risk insurance initiatives that help vulnerable populations rebuild stronger after climate-related disasters.
And finally, here in Paris, let’s show businesses and investors that the global economy is on a firm path towards a low-carbon future. If we put the right rules and incentives in place, we’ll unleash the creative power of our best scientists and engineers and entrepreneurs to deploy clean energy technologies and the new jobs and new opportunities that they create all around the world. There are hundreds of billions of dollars ready to deploy to countries around the world if they get the signal that we mean business this time. Let’s send that signal.
That’s what we seek in these next two weeks. Not simply an agreement to roll back the pollution we put into our skies, but an agreement that helps us lift people from poverty without condemning the next generation to a planet that’s beyond its capacity to repair. Here, in Paris, we can show the world what is possible when we come together, united in common effort and by a common purpose.
And let there be no doubt, the next generation is watching what we do. Just over a week ago, I was in Malaysia, where I held a town hall with young people, and the first question I received was from a young Indonesian woman. And it wasn’t about terrorism, it wasn’t about the economy, it wasn’t about human rights. It was about climate change. And she asked whether I was optimistic about what we can achieve here in Paris, and what young people like her could do to help.
I want our actions to show her that we’re listening. I want our actions to be big enough to draw on the talents of all our people — men and women, rich and poor — I want to show her passionate, idealistic young generation that we care about their future.
For I believe, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that there is such a thing as being too late. And when it comes to climate change, that hour is almost upon us. But if we act here, if we act now, if we place our own short-term interests behind the air that our young people will breathe, and the food that they will eat, and the water that they will drink, and the hopes and dreams that sustain their lives, then we won’t be too late for them.
And, my fellow leaders, accepting this challenge will not reward us with moments of victory that are clear or quick. Our progress will be measured differently — in the suffering that is averted, and a planet that’s preserved. And that’s what’s always made this so hard. Our generation may not even live to see the full realization of what we do here. But the knowledge that the next generation will be better off for what we do here — can we imagine a more worthy reward than that? Passing that on to our children and our grandchildren, so that when they look back and they see what we did here in Paris, they can take pride in our achievement.
Let that be the common purpose here in Paris. A world that is worthy of our children. A world that is marked not by conflict, but by cooperation; and not by human suffering, but by human progress. A world that’s safer, and more prosperous, and more secure, and more free than the one that we inherited. Let’s get to work.
Apparently this missed the 2 minute warning, the 24 second clock, and so forth. Reading this lengthy nonsense makes us hungry. “Grenadins de foie gras de canard aux épices, salmigondis de condiments” sounds good. Hmmm. 3 stars. Hope the place isn’t crowded. Oops, looks like we stumbled into a working dinner. More from Roger Simon, at length:
global warming, climate change, or whatever you want to call it, is over. Any runway model can tell you — Paris is for new fashions. Not last year’s retreads. Climate change is so 2009!
Only the neo-Leninist “useful idiots” on the New York Times editorial board still believe in it. The American public certainly doesn’t. Ninety-seven percent now disbelieve it — or, more accurately, put it far on the back burner. Yes, that’s the same number we used to have shoved down on our throats as the percentage of scientists who supposedly believed in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. That proved to be absurd. Yet still the UN persists with its annual fiesta for moral narcissists, almost always in a luxe venue best accessed by carbon-spewing corporate jets.
Well, where better than Paris? Just watch the cholesterol. And don’t worry about ISIS. They know what’s worth attacking and it’s not this utter balderdash. (At least people pay attention to a soccer game and a rock concert.)
Not even Stalin during the days of Trofim Lysenko tried to pull off something so scandalous (and anti-science!) as the global warming scam. And good old Joe made nowhere near as much money for his lies as Al Gore — the D student in geology — did by running around declaring “The ice is melting! The seas are rising! The storms are raging!” thereby netting himself one billion dollars and an Oscar. That the seas never rose and the ice never melted and the hurricanes didn’t even happen, in fact literally stopped, is beside the point. (Well, maybe that last fact is some sort of climate change.) People felt good about themselves. They believed in Mother Earth, even if they didn’t have anything else to believe in — more likely because they didn’t have anything else to believe in.
Never mind that some scientists are now predicting an era of “global cooling,”and Newsweek and Time may have been right after all back in the 1970s when they foresaw a mini-Ice Age. It doesn’t fit the narrative, not the current one anyway. Global warming is “settled science.” That’s the mantra at every cocktail party from Brentwood to Bronxville. That almost none of those people at the parties has heard of the “Maunder minimum” warned about by those scientists matters not. Most of them have well-heated mansions, well-insulated if the Hudson River freezes over.
Meanwhile, scads of money have been made on the climate scam, most notably by Maurice Strong, the former UN official until recently hiding out in Beijing, and the whole crowd who set up those carbon trading exchanges that flitted briefly through Europe, selling so-called “carbon credits,” until there weren’t any suckers left. It was always about the money, even when they pretended it was about the en-vir-on-ment. Or, in the immortal words of H. L. Mencken, “When somebody says it’s not about the money, it’s about the money.”
I saw this up close and personal myself while covering COP-15 in Copenhagen for these digital pages back in 2009. Even then there was something more than vaguely dubious about the enterprise and it seemed appropriate that the conference was taking place in a blinding snow storm, a winter wonderland of global warming. And what a boondoggle it was! Half the U.S. Congress seemed to be there, all arriving on a chartered jet in Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen. When I ran into Cong. Charlie Rangel in the gift shop of the Marriott, where he was perusing some elegant Scandinavian jewelry, and asked him if he believed in man-made global warming, he stared at me in astonishment. How could I ask anything so preposterous, he seemed to be saying, questioning the received wisdom of the ages, and turned to the clerk, gesturing toward some silver cufflinks.
Earlier that day I had asked the same question of a delegate sitting beside me at one of the interminable panel discussions. By chance he came from one of the Pacific Islands said to be in danger of disappearing from the rising ocean level. His response to my question was much more forthcoming than Rangel’s. He laughed and shook his head. Then why are you here, I asked? “For the money,” he said, still grinning
We’ll conclude with some idiot from CNN: “2015 promises to be the hottest year on record; a heat wave in India killed 2,300 people this summer; air pollution is killing far more people all the time; floods in the United States likely have been made worse by higher-than-normal tides; there’s evidence that a drought in Syria helped create conditions that led to the rise of ISIS. We humans, however, are excellent at ignoring long-term global problems — like climate change. We focus on what’s right in front of us. The recent terror attacks are tragic, and many lives will never be the same because of them. They should not be minimized. But climate change is another form of terror.” Now you know how PT Barnum got rich.