President Obama made his big debut at the United Nations this morning, delivering a brief speech on climate change. "The security and stability of each nation and all peoples — our prosperity, our health, our safety — are in jeopardy," he warned. "And the time we have to reverse this tide is running out." In remarks to his fellow world leaders, the president warned that "difficulty is no excuse for complacency. Unease is no excuse for inaction," and looked to the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen for commitment to progress:
The journey is long. The journey is hard. And we don't have much time left to make it. It is a journey that will require each of us to persevere through setback, and fight for every inch of progress, even when it comes in fits and starts. So let us begin. For if we are flexible and pragmatic; if we can resolve to work tirelessly in common effort, then we will achieve our common purpose: a world that is safer, cleaner, and healthier than the one we found; and a future that is worthy of our children.
Watch the speech here:
The speech marked only the beginning of a long week for Obama. At the U.N. General Assembly, his ambassador Susan Rice indicated that he'd have four priorities: nuclear nonproliferation, peacekeeping, development, and climate change. He'll do that in a series of quiet meetings with world leaders, and also in his role as the chairman of the Security Council in a special session (which will include Libyan president Muammar Qaddafi) — during which he'll introduce a resolution urging all nuclear nations to lay down their arms. He'll also have a three-way meeting with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian National Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, in an effort to resume peace talks.
And that's all before the G20 in Pittsburgh later in the week. And, during it all, he'll have to keep trying to avoid running into Qaddafi, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. The last thing he needs right now is another great photo op with one of those guys.
Obama's U.N. Debut: A Dizzying Agenda [CBS News]