(CNSNews.com) - Speaking at the opening session of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, President Barack Obama called on the nations of the world to unite in fighting climate change to create: “A world that is worthy of our children.”
A website affiliated with the United Nations Environment Programme says the conference is aimed at “a legally binding” global climate agreement.
“In 2015 COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, will, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C,” it says.
“And let there be no doubt, the next generation is watching what we do,” Obama said at the conference’s opening session.
Here is an excerpt from Obama address, which is available in full at the White House website:
Here, in Paris, we can show the world what is possible when we come together, united in common effort and by a common purpose.
And let there be no doubt, the next generation is watching what we do. Just over a week ago, I was in Malaysia, where I held a town hall with young people, and the first question I received was from a young Indonesian woman. And it wasn’t about terrorism, it wasn’t about the economy, it wasn’t about human rights. It was about climate change. And she asked whether I was optimistic about what we can achieve here in Paris, and what young people like her could do to help.
I want our actions to show her that we’re listening. I want our actions to be big enough to draw on the talents of all our people -- men and women, rich and poor -- I want to show her passionate, idealistic young generation that we care about their future.
For I believe, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that there is such a thing as being too late. And when it comes to climate change, that hour is almost upon us. But if we act here, if we act now, if we place our own short-term interests behind the air that our young people will breathe, and the food that they will eat, and the water that they will drink, and the hopes and dreams that sustain their lives, then we won't be too late for them.
And, my fellow leaders, accepting this challenge will not reward us with moments of victory that are clear or quick. Our progress will be measured differently -- in the suffering that is averted, and a planet that's preserved. And that’s what’s always made this so hard. Our generation may not even live to see the full realization of what we do here. But the knowledge that the next generation will be better off for what we do here -- can we imagine a more worthy reward than that? Passing that on to our children and our grandchildren, so that when they look back and they see what we did here in Paris, they can take pride in our achievement.
Let that be the common purpose here in Paris. A world that is worthy of our children. A world that is marked not by conflict, but by cooperation; and not by human suffering, but by human progress. A world that’s safer, and more prosperous, and more secure, and more free than the one that we inherited.
Let’s get to work. Thank you very much.