President Obama’s speech at the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit in New York City, on September 23, 2014.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: President Obama’s Speech at the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit
Mr. President, the Secretary General, fellow leaders.
For all the immediate challenges that we gather to address this week: terrorism, instability, inequality, disease, there is one issue that will define the contours of the century more dramatically than any other. And that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.
Five years have passed since many of us met in Copenhagen. And since then our understanding of climate change has advanced. Both in the deepening science that says this once distant threat has moved firmly into the present and into the sting of more frequent extreme weather events that show us exactly what these changes may mean for future generations.
No nation is immune. In America, the past decade has been our hottest on record. Along our eastern coast, the city of Miami now floods at high tide. In our West, wildfire season now stretches most of the year. In our heartland, farms have been parched by the worst drought in generations and drenched by the wettest spring in our history.
A hurricane left parts of this great city dark and underwater. And some nations already live with far worse. Worldwide, this summer was the hottest ever recorded — with global carbon emissions still on the rise.
So the climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it. The alarm bells keep ringing. Our citizens keep marching. We cannot pretend we do not hear them. We have to answer the call.