Obama Believes U.S. Can Be Enviornmental Leader

During the press conference in Dresden on Friday, President Obama expressed optimism about the U.S. becoming a leader on climate change. "I’m actually more optimistic than I was about America being able to take leadership on this issue, joining Europe, which over the last several years has been ahead of us on this issue." 

Obama mentioned the climate change legislation in Congress. “We are seeing progress in Congress around energy legislation that would set up for the first time in the United States a cap and trade system. That process is moving forward in ways that I think if you had asked political experts two or three months ago would have seemed impossible.”

In six months world leaders will meet in Copenhagen with the goal of creating a new climate change treaty. Obama pointed out that "the world is going to need targets that it can meet." He added, "It can’t be general, vague approaches. We’re going to have to make some tough decisions and take concrete actions if we are going to deal with a potentially cataclysmic disaster."

Obama made it clear that industrialized countries will have to take the lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. “Unless the United States and Europe, with our large carbon footprints, per capita carbon footprints, are willing to take some decisive steps, it’s going to be very difficult for us to persuade countries that on a per capita basis at least are still much less wealthy, like China or India, to take the steps that they’re going to need to take.”

“So we are very committed to working together and hopeful that we can arrive in Copenhagen having displayed that commitment in concrete ways."


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