“This is the only planet we’ve got, and this may be the last shot we’ve got to save it. And America and Canada are going to need to lead the way.” – U.S. President Barack Obama
An Excerpt from U.S. President Barack Obama’s June 29th, 2016 Address to Canada’s House of Commons
Posted June 29th, 2016 on Niagara At Large
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada – There is one threat, however, that we cannot solve militarily, nor can we solve alone, and that’s the threat of climate change.
Now, climate change is no longer an abstraction. It’s not an issue we can put off for the future. It is happening now. It is happening here in our own countries.
The United States and Canada are both Arctic nations, and last year when I became the first U.S. president to visit the Arctic, I could see the effects myself. Glaciers like Canada’s Athabasca Glacier, are melting at alarming rates. Tundra is burning, permafrost is thawing.
This is not a conspiracy. It’s happening. Within a generation, Arctic sea ice may all but disappear in the summer. So skeptics and cynics and insist on denying what’s right in front of our eyes, but the Alaska natives that I met, whose ancestral villages are sliding into the sea, they don’t have that luxury. They know climate change is real. They know it is not a hoax.
And from Bangladesh to the Pacific islands, rising seas are swallowing land and forcing people from their homes. Around the world, stronger storms and more intense droughts will create humanitarian crises and risk more conflict.
This is not just a moral issue, not just an economic issue, it is also an urgent matter of our national security. And for too long, we’ve heard that confronting climate change means destroying our own economies.
But let me just say, carbon emissions in the United States are back to where they were two decades ago, even as we’ve grown our economy dramatically over the same period.
Alberta, the oil country of Canada, is working hard to reduce emissions while still promoting growth.
So if Canada can do it and the United States can do it, the whole world can unleash economic growth and protect our planet. We can do this.
We can do it. We can do this. We can help lead the world to meet this threat. Already, together in Paris, we achieved the most ambitious agreement in history to fight climate change. Now, let’s bring it into force this year.
With our agreement with Mexico that we announced today, let’s generate half the electricity on this continent from clean energy sources within a decade. That’s achievable.
Let’s partner in the Arctic to help give its people the opportunity they deserve while conserving the only home they know. And building on the idea that began in Montreal three decades ago, let’s finally phase down dangerous HFC greenhouse gases.
This is the only planet we’ve got, and this may be the last shot we’ve got to save it. And America and Canada are going to need to lead the way. We’re going to have to lead the way. …”
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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders