U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a speech at the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Nov. 30, 2015.
Photo by Eric Feferberg/Pool/AP

Obama: International gathering is an act of defiance, resolve

The Rachel Maddow Show, 11/30/15, 11:14 PM ET

Hope pervades as leaders craft world climate agreement

Chris Jansing, NBC News senior White House correspondent, talks with Rachel Maddow about the world leaders gathered in Paris to work on a climate change agreement, and the hard diplomatic work President Obama is doing personally to help make an…
The Paris Climate Conference, known as COP21 (Conference on Parties), began this morning, and while the gathering has been in the works all year, it’s not lost on any of the participants that the French capital suffered a deadly terrorist attack two weeks ago.
And with this in mind, when President Obama spoke at the opening session, he acknowledged the circumstances at the outset:
“President Hollande, Mr. Secretary General, fellow leaders. We have come to Paris to show our resolve.
“We offer our condolences to the people of France for the barbaric attacks on this beautiful city. We stand united in solidarity not only to deliver justice to the terrorist network responsible for those attacks but to protect our people and uphold the enduring values that keep us strong and keep us free. And we salute the people of Paris for insisting this crucial conference go on – an act of defiance that proves nothing will deter us from building the future we want for our children. What greater rejection of those who would tear down our world than marshaling our best efforts to save it?”
It’s no small detail. Organizers of the climate conference have noted that COP21 is the largest gathering of international heads of state in the history of, well, the world. That this is occurring just 17 days after Paris was gripped by violence and bloodshed is itself rather extraordinary, and Obama’s well justified to celebrate the circumstances.
If terrorists hoped the world would be frightened off by the events of Nov. 13, they failed.
As part of the same remarks, Obama was apparently supposed to be brief. The president, however, wasn’t overly concerned about the arbitrary constraints.
President Barack Obama was met with what appeared to be the U.N.’s version of the Oscars’ “wrap-it-up” music Monday after he significantly overran his allotted time to speak at a global climate change summit.
Obama was one of 147 world leaders given a three-minute slot at the COP21 conference to outline their vision for the future of the planet.
The president of the free world, however, had other ideas.
More than eight and a half minutes into Obama’s address – and with no sign he was stopping soon – three beeps sounded across the auditorium, clearly audible to everyone present and watching on TV.
The U.S. president had something he needed to say, regardless of time constraints: “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.”
11/30/15, 8:37 AM ET

Obama: ‘We embrace our responsibility’ to address climate change

President Obama discusses the role of the United States in the global efforts to address climate change at the COP21 climate summit in Paris.

Barack Obama, Climate Change, Global Warming and Paris

Obama: International gathering is an act of defiance, resolve