Obama described the COP21 agreement as "a turning point for the world," and all but the most cynical can agree that the deal is a momentous leap forward.
After decades of discussion and negotiations every nation on earth has come together to sign an historic deal that unites the world in the fight against climate change. This is an historic agreement that heralds the start of our journey towards a low carbon future.
The US President launched COP21 with a powerful speech. However, Obama's support for climate action began long before the start of the climate talks at the end of November. In recent years he has transformed the US into an international leader in the fight against climate change.
His climate efforts date back to 2009 when he made sizable investments in renewable energy. The incentives included in the Recovery and Reinvestment Act helped to dramatically lower the costs of clean energy. More recently he has launched some new initiatives in support of renewables.
In his second term, the President is making climate action the centerpiece of his policy agenda. The scope of his ambition became clear in his historic Georgetown speech in which he laid the foundation for his climate action plan.
He has raised fuel efficiency standards for US cars and trucks. In response to Republican obstructionism, the President is also using his executive authority and executive orders to execute his climate plan. The crowning jewel of his climate accomplishments is the EPA's Clean Power Plan. Through the Department of Energy he has launched efficiency guidelines, including newly added standards, that will reduce emissions by 3 gigatons.
In addition to acting domestically the President has brokered climate deals with a number of countries including, China, India, Brazil, and Mexico.
US implications of US efforts extend well beyond Paris. The agreement will have positive repercussions that will be felt for generations. US actions have helped to usher in the dawn of the low carbon economy their efforts will also unleash a wave of renewable energy investment.
As President Obama said after the deal was signed:
"Today, the American people can be proud - because this historic agreement is a tribute to American leadership...In short, this agreement will mean less of the carbon pollution that threatens our planet and more of the jobs and economic growth driven by low-carbon investments."
Here is a video of President Obama's post Paris address acknowledging the signing of the COP21 climate agreement:
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