Obama calls for public attention to climate change, inequalities

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) — Climate change and inequalities driven in part by technology are the top challenges facing today’s world, former U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday.

“Climate change would be right at the top because there’s such a thing as being too late on some issues, and this is one,” Obama said at an annual conference held here by software company Salesforce Inc..

While people are creating all kinds of energy efficiencies and building, he said, they have developed a culture that encourages more consumption of power, which has led to climate change.

“Part of our challenge around climate change is a culture that says more is always better and bigger is always better,” he said.

Another challenge is the rise of inequalities amplified by new technologies, said the former U.S. president.

“The second would be the rise of extreme inequality, both within nations and between nations, that is being turbocharged by globalization and technology,” he said.

He noted that while the global reach of information technology has brought the world closer together, it has also amplified inequalities.

“So much of the political turmoil you see right now has to do with people feeling legitimately and materially insecure because of those disruptions,” Obama said.

He also pointed out that social institutions have not been adjusted to make people cope effectively with rising productivity brought about by technology.

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