And so we’re going to have to combine the low-hanging fruit of energy efficiency with rapid technological advances. And to the extent that in some cases we can get international cooperation and pool our scientific and technical knowledge around things like developing coal sequestration, for example, that can be extremely helpful. Okay?
I’m going to call on my last American correspondent, Chip. And, Chip, my heart goes out to you.
Q Thank you. Thank you very much, Mr. President. I appreciate that.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I just heard about that.
Q Certainly there is a lot of sentiment in G20 countries that the United States was a major cause of the global economic meltdown. To what degree did that topic come up in your discussions? Did it make it difficult for some countries to accept advice from the United States when they blame the United States and its economic system for causing this in the first place? And how do you respond to people who do blame America?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, you know, I don’t think that — I think my colleagues in the G20 were extraordinarily gracious about my participation. I think that they continue to express the desire to work with America, admiration about many things American. There were occasional comments, usually wedged into some other topic, that indicated from their perspective that this started in America, or this started on Wall Street, or this started with particular banks or companies.
Perhaps what helped was my willingness to acknowledge that — and it’s hard to deny — that some of this contagion did start on Wall Street. And as I’ve said back home, as I’ve said in public and as I would say in private, we had a number of firms that took wild and unjustified risks, we had regulators that were asleep at the switch, and it has taken an enormous toll on the U.S. economy and has spread to the world economy.
Now, I think that part of the reason people didn’t give me too hard a time is because if you look at European banks or Asian banks, that they’ve had their own issues both in the past and in the future. And I think there was a very constructive discussion about the fact that, given global financial flows, that unless we’ve got much more effective coordinated regulatory strategies, supervision, standards, that these problems will appear again.
Money is — can move around the globe in a second. And it will seek out the highest returns, and if those highest returns end up being built on a house of cards, then we’re going to be seeing another threat to the world financial system wherever that house of cards might be.
And so, overall, I think there was an extraordinarily constructive approach among all the leaders. I was very impressed with them. I’m very grateful to them. And I’m excited about the ability not just to help heal this economy but also to make progress on a sustainable model of economic growth that relies less on a cycle of bubble and bust — something that I’ve spoken about back home.
All right? Thank you, everybody. Appreciate it. (Applause.)
(Source: White House)