Bill McKibben Reacts to President Obama’s Climate Summit Speech

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Jamie Henn, jamie@350.org, 415-890-3350

Bill McKibben Reacts to President Obama’s Climate Summit Speech

NEW YORK - Bill McKibben, the co-founder of 350.org, issued the following reaction to President Obama’s speech at the Climate Summit, two days after 400,000 people took the streets for the People’s Climate March on Sunday:

“President Obama says America has 'stepped up to the plate' -- and dropped down a bunt single when we're behind by 10 runs in the 9th inning. If the President really wants collective ambition, he's got to show a little more can do spirit from the world's leading economy. 

Today's boasts about his climate efforts ring hollow in the face of America passing Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world' s largest oil and gas producer. We hope that when 'next year' comes and he proposes actual targets they'll start to reverse the trend. But hope is not all we'll do--the movement to weaken the fossil fuel industry continues apace."

The President committed to putting forward a new greenhouse gas reduction target next year before the critical United Nations Climate Summit in Paris next year. He also gave a nod to the People’s Climate March, saying, “Our citizens keep marching. We cannot pretend we don't hear them. We have to answer the call.” 

May Boeve, 350.org executive director issued the following statement on the People’s Climate March and today’s Climate Summit earlier today: 

Sunday's climate march should be a wake up call to politicians. The march in New York, and marches around the world, were led by people who suffer already the effects of climate change. Their numbers grow daily, and our impatience as well--the time for pointless incremental change is past, and the opportunity for visionary leadership never larger. 

The 400,000 who took to the streets in New York City, and the hundreds of thousands more who marched around the world, represent a burning demand for action to save a world on fire.” 

350.org also thanks UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for his participation in the march and his statement of support for the march: “While marching with the people, I felt that I had become a Secretary-General of the People. I am the Secretary-General of the United Nations; I am now working for the People." 

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350 is the red line for human beings, the most important number on the planet. The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth. But solutions exist. All around the world, a movement is building to take on the climate crisis, to get humanity out of the danger zone and below 350. This movement is massive, it is diverse, and it is visionary. We are activists, scholars, and scientists. We are leaders in our businesses, our churches, our governments, and our schools. We are clean energy advocates, forward-thinking politicians, and fearless revolutionaries. And we are united around the world, driven to make our planet livable for all who come after us.

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