Obama: China and India must get serious over emissions

By RTCC staff

US President Barack Obama has called on China and India to ‘take seriously their responsibilities’ to the climate.

Speaking at the start of his first visit to Australia as President and 10 days before COP17 starts in Durban, Obama said he was committed to finding an ‘effective’ solution to climate change that involved all major emitters.

“If we are taking a series of steps, then it’s important that emerging economies like China and India are part of the bargain,” he said.

“That doesn’t mean they have to do exactly what we do. We understand that in terms of per capita carbon emissions, they’ve got a long way to go before they catch up to us.

“But it does mean they’re got to take seriously their emissions as well.”

Earlier this year Obama was criticised by former Vice-President and long-time climate campaigner Al Gore for ‘failing to make the case for action’.

But with Presidential elections now a year away and Congress apparently not swayed by accumulating evidence of dangerous climate change, Obama’s room for manoeuvre appears limited.

However Obama did praise the ‘bold strategy’ adopted by Australia’s government in adopting a carbon tax, which will see a fixed price for carbon introduced in July 2012, starting at Au$23 a tonne.

He also admitted that the USA would have to radically change how it uses energy and thinks about carbon.

“Although we haven’t passed what we call a cap-and-trade system, what we have done is taken steps to double fuel efficiency,” he said.

“As we move forward over the next several years, my hope is, in the United States, as one of several countries with a big carbon footprint, we can find further ways to reduce our carbon emissions.”

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