Speaking to other world leaders at a special climate change summit Tuesday, President Obama warned the United States and other nations to act now to retard global warming, which he said has pushed the planet to the precipice of an “irreversible catastrophe.”
"We seek sweeping but necessary change in the midst of a global recession, where every nation's most immediate priority is reviving their economy and putting their people back to work," Obama said. "And so all of us will face doubts and difficulties in our own capitals as we try to reach a lasting solution to the climate challenge."
But Obama’s address, which also warned that the debilitating recession could stymie the ability of some nations to combat climate change, received only a tepid response, compared to more fervent applause for presentations by other leaders who offered more specifics on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the summit to stress the need for collaboration in coping with rising sea levels, diminishing fresh water sources, reduced agriculture production, increased disease and other current or expected effects of climate change, CNN reports.