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Obama ‘optimistic’ about sealing global climate agreement

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Washington: US President Barack Obama on Sunday said he was “optimistic” about sealing a global climate agreement at the upcoming two-week UN conference in Paris.

“What makes this gathering different is that more than 180 nations have already submitted plans to reduce the harmful emissions that help cause climate change,” Obama said in a Facebook post as he traveled to the talks.

Negotiators in Paris, he said, will try to put in place “a long-term framework for further emissions reductions” that includes “targets set by each nation, but transparent enough to be verified by other nations”, Xinhua news agency reported.

The UN climate talks will officially start in Paris on November 30, tasked with adopting a universal climate deal. More than 180 countries have submitted their action plans before the conference.

However, it is unclear whether these pledges are enough to prevent the temperature from rising above 2 degrees Celsius from the pre-industrial level.

Obama said the UN summit will also “work to mobilize support to help the most vulnerable countries expand clean energy and adapt to the effects of climate change we can no longer avoid”.

Obama, who intends to cement his climate legacy, has acted mostly through executive power, including his push for emissions cuts from power plants.

Republicans, who controlled the US Congress, however, denied the reality of climate change and claimed that Obama’s climate policies may produce significant damage to the US economy.

Such intense opposition surely sowed doubts on the world stage about whether the US will honor its climate promises in the future.

Obama, who has just one year in office, rejected such claims.

“In fact, our businesses and workers have shown that it’s possible to make progress towards a low-carbon future while creating new jobs and growing the economy,” he wrote.

“Our economic output is at all-time highs, but our greenhouse gas emissions are down towards 20-year lows.”

Obama will only be attending on November 30 and December 1, the first and second day of the two-week event, during which he will have several bilateral meetings planned, including with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“I’m optimistic about what we can achieve — because I’ve already seen America take incredible strides these past seven years,” he said.

With the terror attacks on Paris two weeks ago, the US president said the UN climate summit was an opportunity for the world to “stand as one and show that we will not be deterred from building a better future for our children”.

(IANS)

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Obama On Why Its Important To Vote In This Midterm Election

The Democratic and Republican parties have traditionally experienced sharp declines in voter turnout in non-presidential elections.

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MIdterm Elections
Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Urbana, Illinois. VOA

Former U.S. president Barack Obama, who has maintained a low public profile since leaving office, entered the midterm election battle Friday with a simple message to America’s youth: “You need to vote because our democracy depends on it.”

“A glance at recent headlines should tell you that this moment really is different. The stakes really are higher. The consequences of any of us sitting on the sidelines are more dire,” Obama told students at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, where he accepted an ethics in government award.

In keeping with tradition, Obama has been reluctant to publicly comment on his successor, U.S. President Donald Trump, despite the fact Trump was a frequent critic of Obama.

Barack_Obama
Barack Obama, Wikimedia

The former president said the current state of Washington politics “did not start with Donald Trump. He is a symptom, not the cause. He’s just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years. A fear and anger that’s rooted in our past but is also born out of the enormous upheavals that have taken place in your brief lifetimes.”

Obama implored the students “to show up” at the polls in November, noting that only one in five young eligible voters cast ballots in the 2016 presidential election.

“This whole project of self-government only works if everybody’s doing their part. Don’t tell me your vote doesn’t matter,” he declared.

President Trump was dismissive of Obama’s speech.

“I found he’s very good, very good for sleeping,” Trump told a crowd of supporters at a fundraiser in North Dakota.

 Barack Obama
In keeping with tradition, Obama has been reluctant to publicly comment on his successor, U.S. President Donald Trump, despite the fact Trump was a frequent critic of Obama.

Obama’s appearance at the central Illinois university campus was the first of several campaign events in the coming weeks at which he will urge Democratic voters to cast ballots in November’s midterm elections to take control of Congress from Donald Trump’s Republican Party.

The former president also will attend a Southern California event for seven Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives in Republican-controlled districts that supported Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over Trump two years ago.

Obama will campaign in Ohio next week for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray, a former Obama administration official.

Obama
Trump has made his Twitter account — with more than 53 million followers — an integral and controversial part of his presidency. Pixabay.

He will return to Illinois later this month and then appear in Pennsylvania, a key state that Democrats hope will help deliver the 23 seats needed to regain control of the House and stop the advancement of Trump’s agenda.

Also Read: Twitter CEO Reacts To Criticism Given By Donald Trump

The Democratic and Republican parties have traditionally experienced sharp declines in voter turnout in non-presidential elections. But the November 6 election is widely perceived as a referendum on Trump, who regularly touts his accomplishments such as tax cuts and deregulation. However, a widening investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election that Trump won and more frequent questions about his fitness for office have cast a pall over his presidency. (VOA)