By Ben Geman - 12/24/09 12:41 AM EST
Obama acknowledged that the agreement does not ensure the level of global greenhouse gas emissions cuts in coming decades that climate scientists call necessary. But he added that the talks nearly collapsed before the limited deal was reached.
“What did occur was that at a point where there was about to be complete breakdown, and the prime minister of India was heading to the airport and the Chinese representatives were essentially skipping negotiations, and everybody's screaming, what did happen was, cooler heads prevailed,” Obama said.
“And we were able to at least agree on non-legally binding targets for all countries - not just the United States, not just Europe, but also for China and India, which, projecting forward, are going to be the world's largest emitters,” he added. He called this an important confirmation that “everybody’s got to do something in order to solve this problem.”
Obama also said his “main responsibility” is to convince the American people that boosting low-carbon energy sources like wind and solar in the U.S. will create jobs and help the economy, while addressing climate change in the process.