Obama is expected to arrive on Monday in the French capital in opposition to a very distinct backdrop. An agreement to slow global warming seems to be within reach, despite it being less enterprising and less extensive than first expected. After the terror attacks in Paris, President Barack Obama was among the first to say he would stay determined in terms of his plans to be present at the climate talks on November 30.
Republicans in Congress are utterly critical towards President Barack Obama’s climate change agenda and have attempted to weaken his stance ahead of a Paris climate summit, which the president is hoping can lead to an historic global agreement.
Air Force One will fly President Barack Obama to Paris this weekend for the start of the UN summit on climate change, where he will be joined by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese President Xi Jinping, among 158 other heads of state. It is one of the biggest gatherings of world leaders to date and is being promoted as the most essential climate talks in history.
The 2011-2015 period has also been the warmest, with many extreme weather events, especially heat waves, substantially exacerbated by human-induced climate change, in some cases by a factor of 10 or more, according to the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
Mr. Obama’s topmost environmental concern has been a worldwide agreement on climatic change. Republican leaders have said that the causes of climate change are uncertain and are not worth sweeping reactions; Sen. James Inhofe (R., Okla.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, even tossed a snowball on the Senate floor last February to mock the climate change agenda, a gesture Mr. Obama called “disturbing.”
“The president and his State Department officials are recklessly leading the world to believe we will live up to emission reductions the administration can’t substantiate and won’t even defend before congressional committees,” Mr. Inhofe said recently on the Senate floor.
Republicans are also making schemes to block the administration from channeling federal dollars to developing nations so they can tackle climate change as part of a UN program called the Green Climate Fund.
“There are significant legal limits on [President Obama’s] ability either to carry out the promises he has made in advance of Paris 2015 or to enforce any agreement arising out of the summit,” Republican Attorneys General Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia and Ken Paxton of Oklahoma wrote in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry on Nov. 24.
As many as two dozen states, almost all led by Republicans, have institutionalized legal proceedings to terminate the EPA’s rules, which call for a 32% cut in carbon emissions from existing power plants.
Expectations are quite high that this year’s United Nations climate meeting, known as Conference of the Parties, or COP21, will result in 160 countries, representing 90 percent of the world’s emissions, marking the world’s first truly comprehensive and systematic global agreement on climate change after 21 years of efforts.
“I’ve never seen the stars aligning going into a [COP] meeting like this one,” said Iden Meyer with the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington D.C., on a teleconference update on Monday. “The outlook is very positive to get an agreement.”