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Obama Frustrated with Outcome of Copenhagen Climate Talks

Despite near instantaneous condemnation of his role in the culmination of the COP15 climate negotiations last week, president Obama voiced his frustration over the course those negotiations took and accord that resulted from them.

Speaking with Jim Lehrer on Wednesday, president Obama said that “people are justified in being disappointed about the outcome in Copenhagen.”

Lehrer asked about comments Obama made that Copenhagen “was a success anyhow,” despite the tepid nature of the accord. President Obama responded:

What—what did occur was that at a point where there was about to be complete breakdown, and the prime minister of India was heading to the airport and the Chinese representatives were essentially skipping negotiations, and everybody’s screaming, what did happen was cooler heads prevailed.

So that—that was an important principle, that everybody’s got to do something in order to solve this problem. But I make no claims, and didn’t make any claims going in, that somehow that was going to be everything that we needed to do to solve climate change. And—and my main responsibility here is to convince the American people that it is smart economics and it is going to be the engine of our economic growth for us to be a leader in clean energy.

And if we pass a bill in the Senate, reconcile it with the House, that says we are going to invest in wind energy and solar energy and we’re going to be the guys who are producing wind turbines, and we’re going to be the folks who are producing solar panels on rooftops, and we’re going to be the country that is retrofitting all its homes and businesses so that we are 30 percent more energy efficient than we are right now, that produces jobs that can’t be exported; it reduces our dependence on foreign oil; it is good economics; it will increase our exports—oh, and by the way, it also solves the climate problem. And that is, I think, an argument that I’m going to be making not just next year, but for several years to come.
What I said was essentially that rather than see a complete collapse in Copenhagen, in which nothing at all got done and would have been a huge backward step, at least we kind of held ground and there wasn’t too much backsliding from where we were.

It didn’t move us the way we need to. The science says that we’ve got to significantly reduce emissions over the next—over the next 40 years. There’s nothing in the Copenhagen agreement that ensures that that happens.

What—what did occur was that at a point where there was about to be complete breakdown, and the prime minister of India was heading to the airport and the Chinese representatives were essentially skipping negotiations, and everybody’s screaming, what did happen was cooler heads prevailed.
And we were able to at least agree on nonlegally binding targets for all countries—not just the United States, not just Europe, but also for China and India, which, projecting forward, are going to be the world’s largest emitters.

So that—that was an important principle, that everybody’s got to do something in order to solve this problem. But I make no claims, and didn’t make any claims going in, that somehow that was going to be everything that we needed to do to solve climate change. And—and my main responsibility here is to convince the American people that it is smart economics and it is going to be the engine of our economic growth for us to be a leader in clean energy.

And if we pass a bill in the Senate, reconcile it with the House, that says we are going to invest in wind energy and solar energy and we’re going to be the guys who are producing wind turbines, and we’re going to be the folks who are producing solar panels on rooftops, and we’re going to be the country that is retrofitting all its homes and businesses so that we are 30 percent more energy efficient than we are right now, that produces jobs that can’t be exported; it reduces our dependence on foreign oil; it is good economics; it will increase our exports—oh, and by the way, it also solves the climate problem. And that is, I think, an argument that I’m going to be making not just next year, but for several years to come.

A full transcript of the president’s remarks is available from PBS

Sources and further reading:
Newsweek
ClimateWire (subscription)
Guardian – How do I know China wrecked the Copenhagen deal? I was in the room

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Comments

  1. just like health care, gay rights, bank/auto bailouts and anything else, the most important thing is just compromise until the final thing that passes is unrecognizable to the point of just being meaningless…apparently, that is what compromise is, that, and kickbacks, bribery, denial, too bad Mother Earth doesn’t have highly-paid lobbyists to pay off Congressmen and women to vote a certain way and certainly there isn’t a backbone or conscience among any of them…we will all pay, and sheeple who think if they just close their eyes and deny climate change is occurring right now will force us all to pay, right wing made everybody have to pay for meaningless wars to benefit other countries…I didn’t vote for that and nobody asks my opinion, so why all of a sudden does Obama care so much about what others think and not just do the right thing? it is not as if we have unlimited opportunities to change before change is foisted upon us at an even more inopportune time and when we will not be able to change anything….it is not poor countries’ fault we squandered every opportunity to be a leader, now somebody else, for the love of god and humanity’s sake, please take over, some country with cojones, perhaps China, anybody besides our double-talking slimy reps who are just embarrassing and shameful and self-centered with lobbyists’ hands up their ars&* pulling their strings and make anybody going overseas have to constantly apologize for MY OWN COUNTRY…I do not ever ever go to walmart or other countries helping china…I always buy American and support my local economy IF AT ALL POSSIBLE but it doesn’t stop other ignoramuses from doing ignorant things, supporting TNCS and MNCs and then saying “I is a patruit yee ha” or “you aint the boss of me” “I can do whatever I wants”; if dollar is ever again worth more than toilet paper, go overseas and see what bush and his cronies have done, see what hope there is for obama to still grow some spine and do what is right…other countries still have more hope than we do, since we are rightfully depressed from bush and fellow morons cheney rove, rumsfeld…but sending 30000 additional troops to afghan for no legitimate reason (and there isn’t one) is a slap in the face to international body and countries after just getting nobel peace prize…we need concrete objectives not baby steps; there is no law in constitution that says Congress has to be consulted on every single word from the president, somehow bush did whatever he wanted no matter what every American thought about anything, take a page from dubya’s playbook and git it done!!!! there is no right, no wrong, if you go to China today it is extremely polluted, it would make the beginning of last century here factories look pristine by comparison and tammany hall look squeaky clean etc….the ONLY thing that will save us is to pass binding resolution immediately….not just cap and trade and allow polluters to keep polluting for additional tax basically, and NOT just pay off small island nations to “adapt” to change….this is NOT the solution and every ordinary person knows it…nobody in power cares…and our current set up will not let any voice be heard…..leaving comment on blog which nobody will read except others who already know there is a problem….there needs to be immediate improvement in envir. education using trillions in stimulus…china is building massive railroads etc…what are we doing? saving antiquated auto cos and banks who then turn around with our own money and extort customers….merry christmas…

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