With all eyes on the United Nation’s Committee of the Parties 25 (COP25) climate meeting in Madrid last week, one couldn’t be blamed for missing the reports of former President Obama’s remarks to an audience of young Asian leaders in Kuala Lumpur. The occasion was a conference hosted by his foundation.
What Mr. Obama had to say helped clarify for me why his climate legacy is barely spoken of by today’s youth activists or the Democratic Party’s crop of presidential candidates—including his own vice-president.
Predictably, Mr. Obama was asked by his young audience to comment on the Paris Climate Agreement (Agreement), offer his insights on the Madrid meeting, and recommend ways forward from today.
As reported by AP News and other reliable outlets, Mr. Obama admitted that the global response to the climate emergency was already too little, too late for the world not to have already experienced some of the adverse effects of Earth’s warming:
…there’s gonna have to be some adaptation that’s going to take place. The oceans will be rising, and that is going to displace people. And so, we’re going to anticipate and care for some of the consequences of that, including large-scale migration and disruptions that are going to be very costly.
The former president also spoke of his satisfaction in knowing that just by setting up the mechanism (the Agreement), we had created the ability to [over time] turn up the standards, turn up the demands. Send a signal to businesses so that they started investing in more clean energy because they saw change coming.
Joel B. Stronberg
Joel Stronberg, MA, JD., of The JBS Group is a veteran clean energy policy analyst with over 30 years’ experience, based in Washington, DC.