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President Obama at Copenhagen Climate Change Conference (Transcript)

The President speaks and takes questions at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. December 18, 2009




President Obama

Let me start with a statement and then I’ll take a couple of questions. Today we’ve made meaningful and unprecedented — made a meaningful and unprecedented breakthrough here in Copenhagen.

For the first time in history all major economies have come together to accept their responsibility to take action to confront the threat of climate change. Let me first recount what our approach was throughout the year and coming into this conference.

To begin with, we’ve reaffirmed America’s commitment to transform our energy economy at home. We’ve made historic investments in renewable energy that have already put people back to work. We’ve raised our fuel efficiency standards. And we have renewed American leadership in international climate negotiations.

Most importantly, we remain committed to comprehensive legislation that will create millions of new American jobs, power new industry, and enhance our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil. That effort at home serves as a foundation for our leadership around the world.

Because of the actions we’re taking we came here to Copenhagen with an ambitious target to reduce our emissions. We agreed to join an international effort to provide financing to help developing countries, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable, adapt to climate change.

And we reaffirmed the necessity of listing our national actions and commitments in a transparent way. These three components — transparency, mitigation and finance — form the basis of the common approach that the United States and our partners embraced here in Copenhagen. Throughout the day we worked with many countries to establish a new consensus around these three points, a consensus that will serve as a foundation for global action to confront the threat of climate change for years to come. This success would have not been possible without the hard work of many countries and many leaders — and I have to add that because of weather constraints in Washington I am leaving before the final vote, but we feel confident that we are moving in the direction of a significant accord.

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