GLASGOW (Reuters) – Former U.S. President Barack Obama lambasted those who would play politics to avoid acting on climate change, calling out Russia and China in the same breath as Republican politicians back home.
“It was particularly discouraging to see the leaders of two of the world’s largest emitters, China and Russia, declined to even attend the proceedings” in Glasgow, Obama said.
Their “national plans so far reflect what appears to be a dangerous lack of urgency and willingness to maintain the status quo on the part of those governments, and that’s a shame.”
The Democratic former president, speaking on the main stage at the COP26 climate summit, also took aim at domestic lawmakers from the Republican Party.
Obama said both he and current Democratic President Joe Biden had been “constrained in large part by the fact that one of our two major parties has decided not only to sit on the sidelines but express active hostility toward climate science and make climate change a partisan issue.”
“For those listening back home in the U.S., let me say this: It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat if your Florida house is flooded by rising seas, or your crops fail in the Dakotas or your California house is burning down.
“Nature, physics, science, do not care about party affiliation,” he said.
(Reporting by William James; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Jonathan Oatis)