With tensions from terrorist attacks overshadowing a global climate-change summit, President Obama urged world leaders in Paris Monday to reach a deal to curb global warming.
“I come here personally as the leader of world’s biggest economy and second biggest emitter to say that America not only acknowledges its role in climate change but embraces doing something about it,” Mr. Obama said at a conference near the French capital.
Speaking at the high-level conference amid extraordinarily tight security, the president said the Islamic State terrorists who attacked Paris on Nov. 13 couldn’t stop the civilized world from carrying out what he termed crucial work.
“We stand united in solidarity not only to deliver justice to the terrorist network responsible for those attacks but to protect our people and uphold the enduring values that keep us strong and keep us free,” Mr. Obama said. “And we salute the people of Paris for insisting this crucial conference go on — an act of defiance that proves nothing will deter us from building the future we want for our children.”
He added, “What greater rejection of those who would tear down our world than marshaling our best efforts to save it?”
Paris remains tense after the militants killed 130 and wounded more than 350 people in a series of coordinated attacks.
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The conference is aimed at getting 196 countries to agree to reduce man-made greenhouses gases from fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum. Mr. Obama said the shared urgency of the conferees demonstrates that “this is the moment we finally determined we would save our planet.”
In Washington, some Republican lawmakers said Mr. Obama is embarking on a course that is dangerously wrong. Rep. Mike Pompeo, Kansas Republican, said the president is ready “to bow down to radical environmentalists, all the while refusing to stand up to radical Islamists.”
“In this city that has suffered an enormous tragedy at the hands of jihadists, our president stands ready to handcuff the global economy instead of the barbarians that seek to kill Americans, our allies, and others all over the world,” Mr. Pompeo said in a statement.
Mr. Obama said the U.S. is one of the main culprits of global warming, and said America will cut its emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels within 10 years.
“Our understanding of the ways human beings disrupt the climate advances by the day,” Mr. Obama said. “Fourteen of the fifteen warmest years on record have occurred since the year 2000 — and 2015 is on pace to be the warmest year of all. No nation — large or small, wealthy or poor — is immune to what this means.”