President Barack Obama is in Paris to participate in climate change talks, an issue the Latino community has made a priority.
Government representatives from 195 countries are in Paris to address climate change, in a United Nations meeting known as Conference of Parties (COP) 21. During a speech on Monday, Obama said climate change is a “growing threat” that “could define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other.” Noting that the 14 of the last 15 years have been the warmest on record and 2015 most likely becoming the warmest, Obama said no country, regardless of size or wealth, is immune to climate change’s dangers.
“I’ve come here personally, as the leader of the world’s largest economy and the second-largest emitter, to say that the United States of America not only recognizes our role in creating this problem, we embrace our responsibility to do something about it,” Obama said.
The president mentioned the U.S. made investments to solar power and wind power while reducing carbon emissions during his administration.
While in Paris, Obama said there is hope to create an agreement, with transparency and recognizing each country’s differences.
“I want our actions to show … that we’re listening. I want our actions to be big enough to draw on the talents of all our people — men and women, rich and poor,” Obama said.
“Our generation may not even live to see the full realization of what we do here, but the knowledge that the next generation will be better off for what we do here — can we imagine a more worthy reward than that? Passing that on to our children and our grandchildren, so that when they look back and they see what we did here in Paris, they can take pride in our achievement.”
Back in the U.S., Latinos have been consistent in considering climate change as an important issue.
Within California, where Latinos represent the majority of the population at 14.99 million, 93 percent of Latinos said climate change, or global warming, is important for the state to address. Within the 93 percent, 45 percent said addressing climate change is “very important,” ahead of 35 percent for “extremely important” and 14 percent for “somewhat important.” Eight percent of Californian Latinos said the issue was not important.
The Latino Decisions survey — conducted for Presente.org, California Environmental Justice Alliance, Communities for a Better Environment, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles and the Greenlining Institute — sampled 400 Latino registered voters and was released in August.
On behalf of Green Latinos and Earthjustice, Latino Decisions also conducted a national poll during June 24 and July 8, with 1,200 Latino registered voters participating. Most Latino respondents, with 88 percent, said they were either “very” or “somewhat” worried about climate change, as 17 percent were either “not too worried” or “not at all.”
Similar to California’s response, 93 percent of Latinos, nationally, said there should be national standards to prevent climate change. Seven percent said the issue was not important, while 1 percent was not sure. Another 93 percent also agreed developing or setting requirements for alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar, should be important.
The COP 21 summit, also referred to as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, concludes on Dec. 11,with the aim to “achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below [two-degrees Celsius],” which equates to 35-degrees Fahrenheit.