BBC BLOGS - Mark Mardell's America
« Previous | Main | Next »

Liveblogging Obama's climate change speech

Mark Mardell | 14:49 UK time, Tuesday, 22 September 2009

This is my liveblog of the Obama climate change speech. Scroll down to the bottom and read up to follow the speech as it happened. (All times are EDT).

1011: Polite, and pretty brief applause as Mr Obama concludes. I wonder if those children who called for "action, not more words" felt they got it. Many Europeans feel that the fine words are not matched by real commitment. And what about the 41% of Americans who (according to Gallup) do not believe that climate change is caused by human activity: will there be any effort to convince them?

1010: The President concludes: "But the journey is long. The journey is hard. And we don't have much time left to make it. It is a journey that will require each of us to persevere through setback, and fight for every inch of progress, even when it comes in fits and starts. So let us begin. For if we are flexible and pragmatic; if we can resolve to work tirelessly in common effort, then we will achieve our common purpose: a world that is safer, cleaner, and healthier than the one we found; and a future that is worthy of our children. Thank you. "

0957: Interestingly, the Chinese leader is one of the few world leaders in the hall: Hu Jintao, is sitting in the front row. President Obama mentions that his "cap and trade bill" is stuck in the senate - it may be (if the rumours are right that the Chinese will make a big announcement today), it will put pressure on those senators who are worried that America's competiveness will be damaged by restriction on carbon emissions. He says the US will "slash its emissions" but rapidly growing nations must do their part as well.

0956: The President says he is determined to act and will bear the responsibility. He admits there is much more progress to be made, work to be done. He says the hardest part of the journey is in the run up to the Copenhagen summit. "All of us will face doubts and difficulties in our own capitals."

0955: So now the President's answer. Bold and swift action is needed or prosperity and security are in jeopardy. Since he came to power the United States has done more to promote climate change than at any other time in history.

0952: A film from the "next generation" is more uncomfortable for politicians, urging them to risk their political future and take action... now! "When are you going to do something?" they chorus. So what is President Obama going to do for "that pale blue dot, the only home we have ever known"?

0950: The actor Djimon Hounsou opens the climate change session at the UN in New York with a big picture of space , pointing to a little smudge: "That pale blue dot exists in the vastness of the cosmos." It's us. He tells us in ringing tones, backed by operatic music, that everyone we have ever heard of, kings and peasants, has lived here. It's all rather Shakespearean and has the more cynical shifting uncomfortably in their seats.

Comments

or register to comment.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.