US President Barack Obama has delivered a strong message to the Abbott Government on climate change – that “every nation has a responsibility to do its part”.
In a speech to the University of Queensland on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Brisbane, Mr Obama made fighting climate change one of his central messages.
“As we develop, as we focus on our economy, cannot forget the need to lead on the global fight against climate change,” he said.
The audience applauded his statement.
The president said he wanted to preserve the Great Barrier Reef and be able to bring his daughters back to Australia to see it and for them to be able to bring their children one day.
The comments came after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called climate change “the defining issue of our time”.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has resisted giving climate change its own agenda item at the G20, instead including it in discussions on energy.
Mr Obama announced the US would contribute $US3 billion to the Green Climate Fund to help developing countries fight climate change.
He also indirectly rebuked countries trying to battle the Ebola virus by shutting their borders to people from infected countries.
“We cannot build a moat around our countries and we shouldn’t try,” he said.
In a wide ranging speech in which he cracked jokes about being in Bris Vegas” and wishing he could go to the beach, the president repeated his pledge to remain actively engaged in Asia and to support the rise of China provided it adhered to standards the world set.
He also called for equal rights for gay and lesbian people and the promotion of women in society.