Apparently not one to let his presidential duties slip, Barack Obama has begun climate change tour which will include the G20 summit in China later this month.
Having already visited the southern shore of Lake Tahoe in California, the president – who will leave the White House after the US presidential elections in November – arrived in Hawaii, the pacific island state which is currently awaiting the arrival of two tropical storms.
Obama called for $10 billion in yearly conservation funding to combat the effects of climate change and will seek a breakthrough at the G20 international forum in Hangzhou in China, where he also hopes to further his ambitions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership – a trade pact that has been somewhat jeopardized by recent political backlash.
Conservation and combating climate change ‘linked’
Speaking at the Heavenly ski resort near Lake Tahoe, Obama told reporters: “The challenges of conservation and combating climate change are connected. They are linked.”
After arriving in Hawaii where he addressed leaders of Pacific Island nations, some of whom, like many of the inhabitants of the island state, face rising sea levels that threaten to engulf their homes.
“Few people understand the stakes better than our Pacific Island leaders,” Obama said, “because they are already seeing the impact.”
One final push
Of his trip to the G20 summit – where he hopes to announce that he and President Xi Jinping have both agreed to put the Paris climate change accord into effect – the President said: “Climate will be the centerpiece of our agenda. Joint US-Chinese leadership on climate was part of the reason that we were able to get the [Paris Agreement] done, and I am going to push to build on that record as long as I occupy this office and probably even after I leave it.”
On Thursday, Obama will continue his whistle stop tour to Midway – a remote Pacific atoll that Obama announced last week would quadruple in size.
From there he will move on the China before his final stop in Laos.