Obama, DiCaprio call for action against climate change

US President Obama and Leonardo DiCaprio here highlighted the urgency of taking further action to combat climate change.

Published: 04th October 2016 12:18 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th October 2016 01:11 PM   |  A+A-


President Barack Obama and actor Leonardo DiCaprio walk to the stage to talk about climate change as part of the White House South event. | AP


WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama and Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio here highlighted the urgency of taking further action to combat climate change as there is "a race against time".

The two during the South by South Lawn festival on Monday, organised by the White House to encourage innovative ideas, stressed that the Americans should take the climate issue into account in the November Presidential elections, EFE news reported.

The Oscar-winning actor from "The Revenant" brought his environmental activism to the White House during a conversation with Obama, which began with a reference to politicians, such as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has been sceptical about the climate change being real.

"If you do not believe in climate change, you do not believe in facts or in science. And therefore, in my humble opinion, you should not be allowed to hold public office," DiCaprio said.

The actor did not mention Trump's name but he voiced great concern because the polls in November election show that the environment is one of the issues that voters are less concerned about, and only around two per cent identify it as a priority.

"Climate change is almost perversely designed to be really hard to solve politically," Obama said, adding that it is hard for people to "connect" tornadoes or floods with this global problem. 

It is not common in politics to make hard decisions on effects that are yet to come, until it was too late, Obama said.

"It takes time to ramp us these new energy sources, and we're in a race against time", said the President, who was nevertheless proud of his legacy on this issue and of his contributions to the Paris Climate Change Agreement aimed to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases.

During the festival, DiCaprio also presented his documentary, "Before The Flood", a three-year project, and claimed to have learnt a lot about the impact of climate change and the ways to fight it.

He suggested that the best way to solve this issue is to impose a tax on carbon. Obama, however, said that "the likelihood of an immediate carbon tax is ways away".


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