U.N. Conference May Reveal Obama's Commitment to Climate
If President Obama is serious about confronting global warming, he’ll have the opportunity to show it through the actions of U.S. representatives at the United Nations climate change summit in Doha, Qatar, next week.
Shortly after his re-election this month, Obama invoked “the destructive power of a warming planet” and told reporters he would make climate change a priority in his second term.
Veteran climate observers, long exhausted by politicians’ plentiful talk and scarce action on global warming, will be watching to see whether U.S. envoy Todd Stern sticks to America’s commitment to the climate guidelines reached last year in Durban, South Africa, which include limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius.
— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
Campaigners say Obama’s re-election, superstorm Sandy and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s endorsement – predicated on climate change – put climate change back on the domestic agenda.
Opinion polls suggest public concern in the US about climate change was rising even before Sandy. Campaigners argue Obama needs to engage on climate, if he wants to safeguard his legacy as president.
“President Obama’s re-election provides him with an opportunity to seal his legacy as a truly transformative leader, but he needs to address climate change,” said Andrew Steer, president of the World Resources Institute. “I think history will judge any president from now onwards not to have succeeded if he doesn’t really grapple with this issue seriously.”