Apec: Obama presses for 'ambitious' climate change deal during Paris summit

US President Barack Obama speaking at the APEC CEO Summit in Manila on Nov 18.
US President Barack Obama speaking at the APEC CEO Summit in Manila on Nov 18. PHOTO: REUTERS

United States President Barack Obama on Wednesday (Nov 18) pressed for the conclusion of an "ambitious framework" during the two-week United Nations climate summit on a global deal to curb climate change set to begin on Nov 30 in Paris, saying nations need to act now.

"If we want to prevent the worst effects of climate change before it's too late, the time to act is now… We have to come together around an ambitious framework (in Paris) to protect the one planet that we have while we still can," Mr Obama said in a conference of chief executives during the ongoing Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Manila.

"No single weather events are necessarily caused by climate change alone," he said. "But the patterns and the science don't lie: Temperatures and sea levels are rising, ice caps are melting, storms are strengthening."

At least 160 countries representing 90 per cent of global emissions have put forward targets after 2020.

"But we have a lot of more work to do," said Mr Obama.

Urging business leaders to invest in ways to cut harmful carbon emissions, Mr Obama said climate change "is a challenge and also an opportunity".

He said an agreement in Paris should prompt corporations to invest in clean energy technology "because they will understand that the world is committed to a low-carbon future".

Opportunities for investments that will create jobs and lift weakening economies exist in clean and sustainable energy, and in "leapfrogging old technologies and getting into new technologies".

Members of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development early this week struck a deal to restrict subsidies used to export technology for coal-fired power plants, ending months of wrangling.

Representatives of the world's richest countries agreed a deal to end export credits for inefficient coal plant technology to take effect from Jan 1, 2017, with a review in 2019 that could allow the deal to be strengthened.