US President Barack Obama has said the Paris climate deal would come into force much earlier than previously anticipated, days after India ratified the agreement on climate change. “I anticipate that this agreement will actually go into force in the next few weeks. India, just this past week, signed on. And we are going to get a few more nations signing on,” Obama said at a White House event.
“So, officially, this agreement will be into force much faster than I think many of us anticipated when we first organised it,” Obama said yesterday while participating in a discussion with Oscar-winning actor Leonardo Dicaprio and Dr Katharine Hayhoe as Part of the White House South Lawn Event.
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He appeared to be understanding the Indian effort to provide electricity to its millions of people.
“When it comes to poor countries, you take an example like India where hundreds of millions of people still do not have electricity on a regular basis, and they would like to have the standards of living that, at least would mean that they are not engaging in backbreaking work just to feed themselves, or keep warm – it is completely understandable that their priority is to create electricity for their people,” he said.
Resolving this problem needs to come up with new sources of energy that are clean and cheap, Obama said.
“The economics of energy are extremely complicated. Dirty fuel is cheap because we have been doing it a long time, so we know how to burn coal to produce electricity,” Obama said.
“People do not like nuclear power because they have visions of Chernobyl or Three Mile Island. Nuclear power generally evokes a lot of stuff in our imaginations. But nuclear power does not emit greenhouse gases.
“If we are going to get India or China to actually sign on to reducing carbon emissions, then we are going to have to have a conversation with them about nuclear power, and help them with technologies that ensure safety and we can figure out how to store it until we invite the perfect energy source,” Obama said, adding that climate change is almost perversely designed to be really hard to solve politically because it is a problem that creeps up.
“There is no single hurricane or tornado or drought or forest fire that you can directly attribute to climate change. What you know is that as the planet gets warmer the likelihood of what used to be, a hundred-year flood, that is supposed to happen only every hundred years, suddenly starts happening every five years, or every two years,” Obama added.
Last December, more than 190 countries adopted the Paris Agreement. At least 55 countries representing minimum 55 per cent of global emissions need to formally join the agreement before it comes into force.
India, the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, on Sunday ratified the landmark Paris climate deal, giving a major boost to the deal which appeared tantalisingly close to enter into force by the end of this year. With India’s move, a total of 62 countries accounting for almost 52 per cent of emissions have now ratified the accord.