Climate summit: Obama pleads for help – with the young generation – politics


No, on the title of the TimeMagazine, he didn’t make it at 16 – unlike the Swede Greta Thunberg. And if he ever skipped school, “it’s not because of the climate”. For a brief moment, Barack Obama is clearly in a good mood this afternoon. Otherwise his mood is rather gloomy.

The former US President has come to Glasgow for the United Nations climate change summit. He’s still a pop star here, the rush is at least as big as his successor a week earlier, if not more. He’s coming as a private person, says Obama. He is no longer in the front row and he can no longer easily get through traffic jams. “Traffic is another thing for me. But I can give a speech without wearing a tie and thereby cause a scandal at home.” Which means above all: He can speak more freely.

For example, he can admit that he is sometimes discouraged because everything goes so slowly. He can admit that there are climate deniers everywhere, but that they are particularly tough in the United States. He can assume that the fossil fuel industry is only after the quick buck – despite all the green confessions on television. And he can express his disappointment that China’s President Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin stayed away from the opening of the summit: “We cannot afford to leave anyone on the sidelines.”

Six years ago, in Paris, Obama last gave a speech at a climate conference. The conference at that time paved the way for the first truly global climate agreement. But just a year later, Donald Trump was elected as the next US president, and Obama is not squeamish about him either: Trump’s election resulted in “four years of active hostility” but was unable to destroy the Paris Agreement. Only: There is no trace of a breakthrough. “We’re nowhere near where we need to be,” says Barack Obama.

“Most of the energy here comes from young people”

And this is not only where Greta Thunberg comes into play – but also her German counterpart Luisa Neubauer. “Most of the energy here comes from young people,” says Obama. “They don’t just work for their own countries, they shape a global movement.” The world is “full of Gretas”. For example, there is the German climate activist Luisa Neubauer. “Luisa helped organize a demonstration for 270,000 people in Berlin,” says Obama, “to put pressure on the parties to take climate change seriously.”

More such young leaders are needed. “Because the cold, hard news is that governments won’t have better climate plans unless governments get more pressure from voters.” And for that young people are needed, for Obama they are the key to solving everything that the states have not managed in recent years – which, of course, as the once most powerful man in the world, is easy to say.

I want you to panic“- I want you to panic, Greta Thunberg demanded of the global elite at the world economic summit in Davos in 2019. In Glasgow Obama is playing the ball back:”I want you to get angry“At the end of his speech he demands of the young people” out there “:” I want you to stay angry, that you stay frustrated, “says Obama. Otherwise the problem cannot be overcome.” Put more and more pressure on. And hold on. “


www.sueddeutsche.de

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