Barack Obama’s speech to the University of Queensland during the Brisbane G20 leaders summit was a call to action on climate change to Australia and the rest of the developed world.
The US President announced a $US3 billion contribution to the Green Climate Fund and called on Australians to tackle global warming.
Despite Australia resisting pressure to put climate change on the G20 agenda, Obama described what climate change means in this part of the world:
“Here, a climate that increases in temperature will mean more extreme and frequent storms, more flooding, rising seas that submerge Pacific islands. Here in Australia, it means longer droughts, more wildfires. The incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threatened. Worldwide, this past summer was the hottest on record. No nation is immune, and every nation has a responsibility to do its part.”
He said America and Australia have a lot in common, including producing a lot of carbon.
Part of the problem is a legacy of wide-open spaces, the frontier mentality and an abundance of resources.
“And so, historically, we have not been the most energy-efficient of nations, which means we’ve got to step up,” Obama said.
“Whether you are a developed country, a developing country, or somewhere in between, you’ve got to be able to overcome old divides, look squarely at the science, and reach a strong global climate agreement next year.
“And if China and the United States can agree on this, then the world can agree on this. We can get this done. And it is necessary for us to get it done.”
Obama says he wants to come back to Australia to visit the Great Barrier Reef.
“I want to come back, and I want my daughters to be able to come back, and I want them to be able to bring their daughters or sons to visit,” he said. “And I want that there 50 years from now.”