COP21 Paris climate change summit: Barack Obama calls talks an "act of defiance" after terror attacks

Clara Guibourg
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Climate change: "We embrace our responsibility to do something" (Source: Getty)

US President Barack Obama has called the climate summit in Paris an “act of defiance”, taking place just weeks after terror attacks that left 130 people dead.

Speaking in front of world leaders from nearly 200 countries, gathered to seal the deal on a new global climate agreement, Obama praised Paris and its citizens for “insisting that this crucial conference will go on”:

We have come to Paris to show our resolve, to protect our people, and to uphold the values that keep us strong and keep us free.

Obama compared the destructive power of climate change to that of terrorism, adding that “for all the challenges we face, climate change will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other”.

Read more: Why you should feel optimistic about a Paris deal

In his speech, the US President also said his country accepted its responsibility for climate change:

I come here as the leader of the world’s largest economy to say that the United States not only recognizes our role in creating this problem, we embrace our responsibility to do something about it.

UK business has thrown its weight behind an "ambitious" deal in Paris, and Prime Minister David Cameron has promised Britain is looking to secure robust legal framework and support for poorer countries.

Obama has similarly pledged a bigger financial commitment to developing countries, to help them deal with the threat of climate change likely to hit poorer countries worst.

"One of the enemies we will be fighting at this conference is cynicism – the presumption that we can’t do anything about climate change," he said.

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