UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon came to the White House today to praise President Obama for his “visionary leadership” on the Climate Power Plan unveiled yesterday.
Ban also heaped more praise on the president for foreign policy, noting that September’s General Assembly would be “truly historic… in the aftermath of all these very historic diplomatic achievements that President Obama and the U.S. government have been making in many areas like the Iranian nuclear deal and normalization of diplomatic relations with Cuba, and his recent very successful visit to Africa.”
“And all these are truly historic diplomatic achievements,” the UN chief added.
Ban commended Obama’s “strong commitment since day one in his office up to now” on climate change, and the pair said they talked extensively about the upcoming climate summit in Paris this December.
“The U.S. can and will be able to change the world in addressing a climate phenomenon,” he continued. “…And I really appreciate your personal engagement starting with China and Brazil and India, and many others, as I’m going to have some small-scale leaders meeting on the margins of the General Assembly. I hope you will really lead all this campaign under your strong leadership.”
Obama said that climate change topped their list of discussion items — followed by people dying and terrorists gaining ground in Syria and Yemen.
“At the top of our list was the urgency of a world response to the threat off climate change. And the Secretary-General has been a consistent champion of a concerted, unified, global response to the issue. I shared with him the work that we are doing with the United Nations so that we can be a leader in addressing this critical — perhaps the critical issue that faces humankind going forward, and explained how through our power plant rule, through the work we’re doing on renewable energies and so forth, that we’re in a position now to meet the very aggressive targets that we’re putting forward in preparation for the Paris conference,” Obama said.
“And I encouraged the Secretary-General to continue to work with us to press those countries who have not yet put forward bold, aggressive plans to do so — because we need Paris to be a success, and the world has to step up in a concerted way on behalf of our children and future generations.”
Ban added that he really appreciates Obama’s “strong support for human rights.”
“In all these conflict areas, it is the people whose human rights are being abused,” the secretary-general said. “And we are taking human rights up front as priority issues, and I really appreciate the United States continuing support and leadership.”