Thursday, November 17, 2011

Down Under President Says "Climate Change Cannot Be Denied"

Nov 17: As part of his Asia-Pacific tour, President Obama, in a speech to the Australian Parliament in Canberra, Australia, said, ". . .we need growth that is sustainable. This includes the clean energy that creates green jobs and combats climate change, which cannot be denied. We see it in the stronger fires, the devastating floods, the Pacific islands confronting rising seas. And as countries with large carbon footprints, the United States and Australia have a special responsibility to lead. Every nation will contribute to the solution in its own way -- and I know this issue is not without controversy, in both our countries. But what we can do -- and what we are doing -- is to work together to make unprecedented investments in clean energy, to increase energy efficiency, and to meet the commitments we made at Copenhagen and Cancun. We can do this, and we will."
    On November 16, at a press conference with Prime Minister Gillard of Australia, President Obama responded to a question regarding U.S. efforts on energy and climate change. He said, "With respect to carbon emissions, I share the view of your Prime Minister and most scientists in the world that climate change is a real problem and that human activity is contributing to it, and that we all have a responsibility to find ways to reduce our carbon emissions. Each country is trying to figure out how to do that most effectively. Here in Australia, under the leadership of the Prime Minister, you've moved forward with a bold strategy. In the United States, although we haven't passed what we call a cap-and-trade system, an exchange, what we have done is, for example, taken steps to double fuel efficiency standard on cars, which will have an enormous impact on removing carbon from the atmosphere.

    "We've invested heavily in clean energy research. We believe very strongly that we've improved efficiencies and a whole step range of steps that we can meet and the commitments that we made in Copenhagen and Cancun. And as we move forward over the next several years, my hope is, is that the United States, as one of several countries with a big carbon footprint, can find further ways to reduce our carbon emissions. I think that's good for the world. I actually think, over the long term, it's good for our economies as well, because it's my strong belief that industries, utilities, individual consumers -- we're all going to have to adapt how we use energy and how we think about carbon.

    "Now, another belief that I think the Prime Minister and I share is that the advanced economies can't do this alone. So part of our insistence when we are in multilateral forum -- and I will continue to insist on this when we go to Durban -- is that if we are taking a series of step, then it's important that emerging economies like China and India are also part of the bargain. That doesn't mean that they have to do exactly what we do. We understand that in terms of per capita carbon emissions, they've got a long way to go before they catch up to us. But it does mean that they've got to take seriously their responsibilities as well. And so, ultimately, what we want is a mechanism whereby all countries are making an effort. And it's going to be a tough slog, particularly at a time when the economies are -- a lot of economies are still struggling. But I think it's actually one that, over the long term, can be beneficial."

    Access the Australian Parliament speech (click here). Access the President's press conference remarks (click here). Access a fact sheet on the U.S. and Australia Bilateral Meeting including a Statement on Energy (click here). [#Energy, #Climate]

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