September 23, 2014

Bill McKibben Reacts to President Obama’s Climate Summit Speech

New York City — Bill McKibben, the co-founder of, issued the following reaction to President Obama’s speech at the Climate Summit, two days after 400,000 people took the streets for the People’s Climate March on Sunday:

“President Obama says America has ‘stepped up to the plate’ — and dropped down a bunt single when we’re behind by 10 runs in the 9th inning. If the President really wants collective ambition, he’s got to show a little more can do spirit from the world’s leading economy.

Today’s boasts about his climate efforts ring hollow in the face of America passing Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’ s largest oil and gas producer. We hope that when ‘next year’ comes and he proposes actual targets they’ll start to reverse the trend. But hope is not all we’ll do–the movement to weaken the fossil fuel industry continues apace.”

The President committed to putting forward a new greenhouse gas reduction target next year before the critical United Nations Climate Summit in Paris next year. He also gave a nod to the People’s Climate March, saying, “Our citizens keep marching. We cannot pretend we do not hear them. We have to answer the call.”

May Boeve, executive director issued the following statement on the People’s Climate March and today’s Climate Summit earlier today:

“The 400,000 people in the streets this Sunday were a wake-up call for politicians and today President Obama said that he would answer it. As he said, ‘citizens keep marching, we cannot pretend we don’t hear them.’ The President knows the climate movement is here to stay and growing everyday. The politics on this issue have changed. It’s time for our politicians to deliver.

The march in New York, and marches around the world, were led by people who suffer already the effects of climate change. Their numbers grow daily, and our impatience as well–the time for pointless incremental change is past, and the opportunity for visionary leadership never larger.

The hundreds of thousands who marched on Sunday  represent a burning demand for action to save a world on fire.” also thanks UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for his participation in the march and his statement of support for the march: “While marching with the people, I felt that I had become a Secretary-General of the People. I am the Secretary-General of the United Nations; I am now working for the People.”


1. Hi-res photos from the march are available on the AP wire and here:

2.Video footage of the march in NYC and global events are available on most wires, as well as via request from or Peoples Climate March