‘Nobody gets a pass’ on climate change, says Obama at U.N. summit – Part 1

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The president made a call for more ambitious action on something else, climate change today, one that he said must be led in part by China as well. Chinese officials said they recognized their responsibility, but that there's still a divide between the U.S., China and many developing countries over how to proceed.

    Jeffrey Brown has the story.

  • PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    There's one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other. And that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Hours after ordering airstrikes in Syria, President Obama was in New York to address a very different threat: climate change. He headlined a summit with more than 120 world leaders, and he pledged to work with other nations, but said the U.S. won't work alone.

  • PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    We recognize our role in creating this problem. We embrace our responsibility to combat it. We will do our part and we will help developing nations do theirs. But we can only succeed in combating climate change if we are joined in this effort by every nation, developed and developing alike. Nobody gets a pass.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    The summit came a day after findings that carbon pollution increased last year by the most in 20 years, with the U.S., China and India accounting for much of the damage. The leaders of China and India chose not to attend the summit today.

    Overall, the gathering was meant to gin up political momentum for negotiating a global agreement by December 2015 to reduce greenhouse gases. U.N. secretary Ban Ki-Moon urged all to do their part.

  • BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General, United Nations:

    We need all public finance institutions to step up to the challenge. And we need to bring private finance from the sidelines. We must begin to capitalize Green Climate Fund.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Ban also called for putting a price on carbon, something the United States has rejected. But President Obama did announce he's ordered federal agencies to consider climate change in international development programs.

    And French President Francois Hollande pledged $1 billion over the next few years to help poor nations adapt to the effects of a warming climate.

  • PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, France (through interpreter):

    The French Parliament at this very moment is discussing a law on energy transition. Not only do we need to show by example, but we also need to be capable of making the gestures and doing what is necessary on behalf of France. This is why the Green Fund for us is a new prospect that needs to be well-equipped.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    The climate summit follows Sunday's mass march in New York and rallies around the world demanding the U.S. and other developed nations do more. The next phase of negotiations will begin in Lima, Peru, in December, working toward a potential international agreement at a conference in Paris next year.

    But some of the challenges in reaching such an agreement were on display even today. Brazil, for example, said it wouldn't sign a plan to halt deforestation by 2030. And China's vice premier maintained that his country and others need to be allowed to release more pollution for the time being.

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