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At U.N. Summit, China Pledges to Lead Effort to Curb Climate Change

As the U.N. kicked off a summit on climate change in New York, China promised to lead the way in combating global warming. Margaret Warner reports.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    China moved today to take a lead role in combating climate change. The head of the communist government spelled out the effort as the United Nations opened a climate summit in New York City.

    Margaret Warner has our lead story report.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    The presidents of the world's two largest greenhouse gas-emitting nations, China and the U.S., were center stage today, as the U.N. sought to jump-start the stalled climate talks.

    President Obama and China's Hu Jintao joined more than 100 world leaders, who met at the urging of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. He warned of the consequences if negotiators fail to reach a new global pact this December in Denmark.

    BAN KI-MOON, secretary general, United Nationsl: Failure to reach broad agreement in Copenhagen would be morally inexcusable, economically short sighted, and politically unwise. We cannot go down this road.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    With the stage set, President Obama then addressed the gathering. He outlined the steps his administration's taken to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and boost investment in renewable energy, and he noted the House had passed a climate change bill in June.

  • U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    The United States has done more to promote clean energy and reduce carbon pollution in the last eight months than at any other time in our history.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    The president still faces an uphill push to get a climate change bill through the Senate before the Copenhagen summit, however, and he acknowledged the difficulty.

  • BARACK OBAMA:

    All of us will face doubts and difficulties in our own capitals as we try to reach a lasting solution to the climate challenge. But I'm here today to say that difficulty is no excuse for complacency, unease is no excuse for inaction, and we must not allow the perfect to become the enemy of progress.