MILAN – Barack Obama is worried, as perhaps we all should be when we talk about the climate and the earth, because the continuing carbon dioxide emissions are putting a strain on our planet. The president of the United States takes this difficult situation very seriously, and in the magazine Rolling Stone he discussed strategies for the future, looking forward optimistically to the climate change conference that is due to be held in Paris in late November.
Progress has been made in terms of global warming, but not enough
This frank interview sought to assess the progress that nations have made in combatting global warming. According to Obama, “collectively, we have made modest progress, but nowhere near what we need to do. In Copenhagen (2009 United Nations climate change conference) we were able to establish the basic principle that, in order to stop climate change, it wasn't going to be enough just for the advanced countries to act. China and India, for example, were going to have to put some skin in the game as well. I believe that when we get to Paris we're now in a position for the first time to have all countries recognise their responsibilities to tackle the problem, and to have a meaningful set of targets as well as the financing required to help poor countries adapt. If we're able to do that by the end of this year, and I'm cautiously optimistic, then we will at least have put together the framework, the architecture to move in concert over the next decade.”
Free market and climate change
“It is indisputable that free market-based economic systems have produced more wealth than any other system in human history,” continues the president. “What I do think is true is that mindless free-market ideologies that ignore the externalities that any capitalist system produces can cause massive problems. Pollution has always been the classic market failure, where externalities are not captured and the system doesn't deal with them. Our goal here has to be to say that climate change is a major market failure. The way we solve any big market failure is to have a broad-based conversation and to come to a collective agreement.” We need a strong commitment to turning the tide and providing future generations with a healthy planet. Obama continues, “We go back to Hawaii every year, and I intend to, hopefully, spend a lot of time there when I'm out of office. I want to make sure my kids, when they go snorkelling, are seeing the same things that I saw when I went snorkelling when I was five years old, or eight years old.”
by editorial staff