Obama Praises International Climate Change Agreement

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
President ObamaPresident Obama

After weeks of negotiation, 195 nations agreed on Dec. 12 to a landmark climate change deal that is intended to stave off the effects of global warming by limiting fossil-fuel pollution.

President Barack Obama hailed the accord, which is widely considered a cornerstone of his legacy.

“This historic agreement is a tribute to American leadership,” Obama said after the announcement, according to Bloomberg Politics. “This moment can be a turning point for the world. We’ve shown that the world has both the willingness and the ability to take on a challenge.”

Scientists told The New York Times that the agreement doesn’t go far enough. At best, they said, it would cut emissions by about half of what scientists recommend to prevent a devastating increase in atmospheric temperature.

Despite the fact that this agreement is the first to require so many nations to pitch in, Republicans are already digging in their heels.

“Before his international partners pop the champagne, they should remember that this is an unattainable deal based on a domestic energy plan that is likely illegal, that half the states have sued to halt, and that Congress has already voted to reject,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky in a statement.

Democrats are also on the offensive. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said on Twitter that the deal isn’t aggressive enough.

“The planet is in crisis,” he tweeted. "We need bold action in the very near future and this does not provide that."

Still, Obama isn’t relenting, although he agrees that more needs to be done.

“Negotiations that involve nearly 200 nations are always challenging,” he said. “Even if all the initial targets in Paris are met, we’ll only be part of the way there when it comes to reducing carbon from the atmosphere. So we cannot be complacent because of today’s agreement.”

Sources: Bloomberg Politics (2), New York Times / Photo credit: The White House/Flickr