L’AQUILA, July 9 Reuters) - Following are comments at a news conference with U.S. President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
“While we don’t expect to solve this problem in one meeting or one summit. I believe we made some important strides forward as we move toward Copenhagen.
“Ice sheets are melting, sea levels are rising, our oceans are becoming more acidic and we have already seen its effects on weather patterns our food and water sources and our habitats.
“Every nation on this planet is at risk and just as no one nation is responsible for climate change, no one nation can address it alone.
“Developing nations have real and understandable concerns about the role they will play in these efforts. They want to make sure that they do not have to sacrifice their aspirations for development and higher living standards. Yet with most of the growth in projected emissions coming from these countries, their active participation is a prerequisite for a solution.
“We also agree that developed countries like my own have a historic responsibility to take the lead. We have a much larger carbon footprint per capita. I know that in the past the United States has sometimes fallen short of meeting our responsibilities. Let me be clear: those days are over.
“One of my highest priorities as president is to drive a clean energy transformation of our economy.”
“...As I wrestle with these issues politically in my own country, I see that it is going to be absolutely critical that all of us go beyond what is expected if we are going to achieve our goals ... This week the G8 came to a historic consensus on concrete goals for reducing carbon emissions. We all agreed that by 2050 developed nations will reduce their emissions by 80 percent and that we will work with all nations to cut global emissions in half. This ambitious effort is consistent with limiting global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, which ... is what the mainstream of the scientific community has called for.”
“....We recognize that climate change is already happening so we are going to have to help those affected countries adapt, particularly those who are least able to deal with its consequences because of a lack of resources, so we are looking at providing significant financial assistance to help these countries.”
“We have made a good start but I am the first person to say that progress on this issue will not be easy. One of the things we are going to have to do is fight the temptation toward cynicism. To feel the problem is so immense we cannot make significant strides.
“It is no small task for 17 leaders to bridge their differences on an issue like climate change ... it is even more difficult in the context of a global recession ... but ultimately we have a choice. Either we can shape our future or we can let events shape it for us ... It is clear from our progress today which path is preferable and which path we have chosen.
“The practical challenge we face...is what do we do about the problem, the challenge, of coal...There are practically no large carbon capture and storage projects under construction now.
Australia in the last 12 months has decided to work with other major economies, and all the major energy companies, on the establishment of a Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute. That is what we are here launching today.”