Who are we?
If at some future date, the next generation faces the prospect of living in a world with steadily deteriorating prospects and no chance to reclaim the glories of this beautiful earth that we have enjoyed — if they look back at Copenhagen and ask, “Why didn’t you act? Why did you let this process fall into paralysis, and neither succeed or fail but become a symbol of futility? What were the arguments were again? You didn’t realize that we were at stake?”
If their conclusion was that the generation of human beings alive in the first years of the 21st century gathered together in Copenhagen with the leaders of virtually every nation in the world and instead of forthrightly addressing a mortal threat to the future of civilization, instead decided that the arguments were more important than the solution, that the compromises were just too difficult and allowed the process to fall into paralysis, thus condemning them to a life completely unlike what they deserve, they would be justified in asking of us:
“Who are you?
Didn’t you care?
Did you not feel any connection to us?”
The real source of the passion and the feelings that I have for this issue is a simple conviction: I don’t believe that’s who we are. I believe we are capable of rising to this occasion in spite of the difficulties. I believe that we are capable of resolving the remaining issues to the point where we can meet in Mexico City this July, in the aftermath of a successful action by the United States Senate in April, and conclude a binding international treaty that begins the process and builds our confidence and leads us to make bolder commitments and cuts in global warming pollution and provides the supports that are necessary until, like the Montreal Protocol process, we get to the point where we actually solve this crisis.
We can do it, we must do it, and as I have said many times, I believe political will is a renewable resource. Thank you very much.
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