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Obama at CGI

President Obama just wrapped up his remarks at the opening session of the Clinton Global Initiative.  It was not much of a newsy speech, but he did touch a theme that I think we can expect to see elaborated upon tomorrow during his General Assembly address.  Obama spoke of the need for new global partnerships to tackle global problems. A critical element of these partnerships, he stressed, was building capacity in the developing world and empowering low income countries to confront global challenges head on. Stay tuned. 

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At the UN: A turning point for China?

Chinese president Hu Jintao delivered what is arguably the most important speech of the day.  Hu endorsed the rubric that countries have "common, but differentiated responsibilities" to combat climate change and laid out specific policies that China is willing to undertake at home to combat climate change. I'll post a link to the text of the speech when it is available, but Hu said that China would enforce a carbon-emissions cap on a "per unit of GDP basis" by 2020.  He also pledged that China would incease its carbon sink by increasing forrest cover.  

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Obama’s Climate Change Speech at the UN

Says climate change is an "urgent, serious and growing threat." 

Good morning. I want to thank the Secretary-General for organizing this summit, and all the leaders who are participating. That so many of us are here today is a recognition that the threat from climate change is serious, it is urgent, and it is growing. Our generation’s response to this challenge will be judged by history, for if we fail to meet it – boldly, swiftly, and together – we risk consigning future generations to an irreversible catastrophe.

No nation, however large or small, wealthy or poor, can escape the impact of climate change. Rising sea levels threaten every coastline. More powerful storms and floods threaten every continent. More frequent drought and crop failures breed hunger and conflict in places where hunger and conflict already thrive. On shrinking islands, families are already being forced to flee their homes as climate refugees. The security and stability of each nation and all peoples – our prosperity, our health, our safety – are in jeopardy. And the time we have to reverse this tide is running out.

And yet, we can reverse it. John F. Kennedy once observed that “Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man.” It is true that for too many years, mankind has been slow to respond to or even recognize the magnitude of the climate threat. It is true of my own country as well. We recognize that. But this is a new day. It is a new era. And I am proud to say that the United States has done more to promote clean energy and reduce carbon pollution in the last eight months than at any other time in our history.

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At the UN today

UN Dispatch is camped out at the UN today for the climate change summit.  We are among a number of bloggers on site for all of today's activities.  So what are today's activities? From 9 to 11 various heads of state and dignitaries are scheduled to speak, including:

Speakers today include: 

Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General

Dr. Rajendra Pachuri, IPCC Chair

Barack Obama, USA

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A couple of press releases

There is a flurry of activity today. I just wanted to flag a couple of press releases.  The first is from the UN Foundation, highlighting a new film series, "See You in Copenhagen" (As regular readers know, UN Dispatch enjoys the sponsorship of the UN Foundation)

“See You in Copenhagen,” a short-film series highlighting the need for strong and immediate action on climate change. The first installment in the series was broadcast at the beginning of the Climate Week NYC Opening Ceremony, where United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Danish Minister of Climate and Energy Connie Hedegaard, actor Hugh Jackman and others addressed the urgent need to reach a new global agreement to combat climate change. The films, supported by the UN Foundation and the Global Campaign for Climate Action, were produced and directed by Gabriel London of Found Object Films. They are designed to raise public awareness and support civic engagement in advance of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 15) in Copenhagen, Denmark this December.

Here is the trailer:


See You in Copenhagen_ Copenhagen Is... from See You in Copenhagen on Vimeo.

Speaking of Copenhagen, below the fold is the full text of a release from the UN spelling out what to expect from the High Level Event on Climate Change tomorrow.  Below the fold.  

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Climate Week Opening Ceremony

Hugh Jackman, he of climate change destroying adamantium claws, just kicked off the climate week in New York in an event at the New York Public library with Ban Ki Moon, Tony Blair, and UN Foundation President Tim Wirth, among many others. 

I'm at the event now--and will Twitter it for UN Dispatch


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New York Post takes on climate change–not

Thousands of New Yorkers received free copies of a special edition of the New York Post this morning dedicated to the dangers of climate change and the need for robust international action to combat it.  For the unawares, the New York Post is a Murdoch owned-tabloid that tends to scew on the "climate change is myth" side of the spectrum, so I was mighty shocked to see an entire issue dedicated to climate change ahead of the UN climate summit tomorrow. 

The only problem, though, is that it was a spoof.  The Yes Men are responsible.