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President Obama Reflects on Climate Progress Before Heading to COP26 in Glasgow, Announces Upcoming Climate Event

October 29, 2021 at 8:15 AM CDT

CHICAGO — In advance of President Obama’s attendance at COP26 (Opens in a new tab) — the United Nations Climate Change Conference kicking off October 31, 2021 in Glasgow — and the upcoming anniversary of the Paris Agreement taking effect, the Obama Foundation released a video featuring the President reflecting on climate change progress made during his time in office and the challenges and opportunities ahead. The Obama Foundation also announced that the President would be participating in a roundtable discussion with emerging leaders focused on climate issues on November 8, 2021.


The Glasgow Conference is taking place five years to the day that the Paris Agreement took effect. To mark this milestone the Obama Foundation asked ten people—Obama Administration alumni, Obama Foundation leaders on the front lines of the climate fight, and President Obama himself—to reflect on the path to Paris and the work that remains to address the climate crisis.

From the earliest days of his campaign, throughout his presidency, and now through his leadership at the Obama Foundation, President Obama has demonstrated his deep commitment to addressing the climate crisis. The Paris Agreement remains one of the accomplishments President Obama is most proud of — but the agreement capstoned a longer effort that stretched across his two terms, and was intended to be a starting point for efforts to continually increase its ambition in the years to come. In the new video, President Obama speaks to the urgent need for global leaders to rise to the challenge and continue to make progress together. Watch that video and read reflections from Obama Administration climate leaders here.

“From the perspective of the Obama Foundation, one of the things I'm most excited about is to see the young activists from around the world who are taking up the baton and not just working in their own countries, but now forming a collective movement across borders to tell the older generation that has gotten us into this mess that we all have an obligation to dig our way out of it,” President Obama says in the video. “And if old folks won't do it, get out of the way, because these young folks are coming and they're ready to make sure that we have a sustainable planet and a better future for our kids and our grandkids.”

Roundtable with President Obama

The Obama Foundation, in collaboration with Columbia University’s Climate School, is hosting a roundtable to connect President Obama with young leaders attending COP26 in Glasgow for a discussion on how this generation is leading the fight against climate change. President Obama will sit down with this small group from around the world who are working through various means to fight climate change, to advance the conversation about how young people can continue to make their voices heard and spark action.

Many participants will be alumni of the Obama Foundation’s programs to support emerging leaders around the world who have demonstrated a commitment to making change in their communities. Through the Foundation’s leadership programs, these young people have connected with a global network of like-minded change makers working to confront pressing challenges like climate change.



Matt Lehrich


Ciara Mentzer