President Barack Obama hailed the Paris climate change agreement Saturday, calling it “the best chance we’ve had to save the one planet that we’ve got.”
Speaking from the White House on an unseasonably warm December day hours after negotiators approved the agreement, Obama called it a testament to American leadership that will help slow climate change.
“We came together around a strong agreement the world needed—We met the moment.” Obama said. “Full implementation of this agreement will help delay or avoid some of the worst consequences of climate change.”
Obama, who had traveled to Paris earlier this month to mark the beginning of the talks, dismissed critics of efforts to promote clean energy, arguing their warnings of job losses haven’t panned out.
Calling the agreement between more than 190 nations imperfect, Obama said more will be needed to curb the release of carbon into the atmosphere. But he cast the success as a helpful precedent for future efforts. “The Paris agreement establishes the enduring framework the world needs to solve the climate crisis,” he said.
The agreement was praised by Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton earlier Saturday. “The Paris agreement is testament to America’s ability to lead the world in building a clean energy future where no one is left out or left behind,” she said in a statement. “And it was made possible in part by every person, business owner, and community in the United States and around the world that stepped up to prove we don’t have to choose between growing our economy and protecting our kids’ health and future—we can do both.”
The deal commits most of the world’s countries to reducing carbon emissions through a combination of legally binding and voluntary efforts. They will report their progress using an international standard, a framework that environmentalists hope will lead to more ambitious carbon reductions in the future.
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