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View of stained glass with the Georgetown University seal

Obama Makes Major Climate Change Speech on Historic Old North Steps

June 25, 2013 – In an address at Georgetown, President Barack Obama today presented the steps he believes the country needs to take to address the effects of climate change.

“We know the costs of these events can be measured in lost lives, lost livelihoods, lost homes, lost businesses, hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency services and disaster relief," he said, after noting rising sea levels, parched Midwestern western wildfires and other climate-related events.

The speech may be viewed at www.whitehouse.gov.

Obama spoke from the same university building the nation’s first president spoke from in 1797.

Old North, which served as Georgetown’s main building from 1795 until the completion of Healy Hall, has received 13 United States presidents.

The presidents include Washington, who spoke after completing his term, and Georgetown alumnus President Bill Clinton (SFS’68), who gave a speech to the diplomatic corps in 1993 just days before his inauguration.

“Through their words, these presidents have helped to shape the culture of dialogue and inquiry that animates our nation and community,” says Georgetown President John J. DeGioia. “We welcome President Obama back to campus to continue this tradition as the 14th president to visit the steps of Old North.”

More than half of the nation’s 43 presidents have visited Georgetown, and Obama will join those speaking from one of the university’s most historic buildings.

A Return to Campus

Tuesday’s speech was Obama’s third at Georgetown since he took office and his first visit since re-election. His previous speeches include a talk on economic recovery on April 14, 2009 and a speech on energy policy on March 30, 2011.

President Abraham Lincoln visited in May 1861, shortly after the Civil War began, to review the 69th Regiment of the New York State Militia that occupied campus.

More than a century later, President Gerald Ford participated in the ribbon-cutting for the rededication of Old North in 1983.

The First President’s Visit