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The Challenge Of Climate Change

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At a UN summit on climate change in New York, U.S. President Barack Obama asked world leaders to come together in pursuing policies that allow economies to grow without endangering our planet. Over the next few months, nations of the world will be working to reach a new international agreement to combat climate change.

Climate change affects all nations. Rising sea levels, more powerful storms and floods, and more frequent droughts know no borders. President Obama believes all countries must work together to address climate change, and the time for action is now.

In his speech, the President recognized that the United States must be a leader in the global effort to combat climate change.

“We understand the gravity of the climate threat. We are determined to act. And we will meet our responsibility to future generations.”

The U. S. has done more to address climate change in the last 8 months than at any other time in history. The economic stimulus package includes over $80 billion for clean energy – the largest-ever investment of its kind in the U.S. New vehicle standards will increase fuel economy and reduce emissions. And the President is supporting domestic energy and climate legislation that would make clean energy profitable for businesses and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

President Obama said developed countries will lead the way by investing in renewable energy, promoting energy efficiency, and reducing emissions to reach targets set for 2020 and long-term goals for 2050. But action by developed nations is not enough.

The International Energy Agency estimates 97 percent of future emissions growth will come from the developing world. The President stressed that major developing countries must do their part, committing to strong measures at home and standing behind those commitments internationally.

Other developing countries, many already living with the effects of climate change, should prepare low-carbon development plans that put them on a path to sustainable growth.

A new international climate agreement will provide developing countries with financial and technological assistance both to lower emissions and assist with adaptation. By developing and disseminating clean technology, countries with advanced capabilities can help developing nations leap-frog dirty energy technologies, and bring energy services to hundreds of millions of the world’s poor.

What’s more, the effort to build a clean energy global economy can provide significant opportunity, driving investment, economic growth and job creation.

President Obama said that time is short, but the goal can be reached.

"If we are flexible and pragmatic, if we can resolve to work tirelessly in common effort, the we will achieve our common purpose; a world that is safer, cleaner, and healthier -- and a future that is worthy of our children.”