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President Obama at UN Climate Summit: ‘We Big Nations Have a Responsibility to Lead’

Today, President Barack stepped up the microphone at the United Nations Climate Summit and called for the big nations of the world to understand their role as carbon-polluters.

Currently, the United States ranks second in the world, behind only China, in carbon emissions. Alongside India, which ranks third, these big three polluters produce the lion’s share of carbon emissions for the entire planet.

For today’s summit, however, of the ‘big three’ only the United States decided to send its head of state , something Obama hinted at in his speech.

“Just a few minutes ago I met with Chinese vice premier Zhang Gaoli and reiterated my beliefs… that we have a special responsibly to lead. That’s what big nations have to do,” he said, calling for his fellow worst-offender nations to join in the climate fight.

In an apparent reference to the People’s Climate March, he also said climate action is what the people of the world want.

“The climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it. The alarm bells keep ringing, our citizens keep marching. We cannot pretend we do not hear them.”

He also talked about how the United States is already helping countries around the world build a brighter, and cleaner future.

“American climate assistance now reaches 120 countries around the world,” he said. “We’re helping them skip past the dirty phase of development. In each of our countries, there are interests that will be resistant to action, and in each country there is a suspicion that if we act and other countries don’t we will be at an economic disadvantage. But we have to lead.”

Obama also made a plea for future generations, saying, “We cannot condemn our children and their children to a future that is beyond their capacity to repair it. Not when we have the means to begin repairing it right now.”

Yet, like many leaders present today at the UN, making a real difference will be harder to do, once home country politics come into play.

A huge number of mostly Republican members of Congress continue to deny climate change even exists and will fight hard to protect coal, oil and other polluting industries and against Obama’s efforts.

“Global warming is simply a chicken-little scheme to use mass media and government propaganda to convince the world that destruction of individual liberties and national sovereignty is necessary to save mankind, and that the unwashed masses would destroy themselves without the enlightened global dictatorship of these frauds.” Rep. John Carter from Texas has said.

Rep. Rick Crawford, another House Republican, also thinks the President is way off-base.

“There’s not sound science to support some of the initiatives that the President, I think, is committed to. We know that some of the research was faulty and it drove a lot of the agenda for a long time,” he said, denying that Obama has the proof he claims about the need for climate action.

Photo Credit: WhiteHouse.gov (screenshot)

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.