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President Obama: Paris climate pact ‘best chance’ to save the planet

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U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday hailed the landmark climate accord reached in Paris as strong and historic, calling it the best chance to save the planet from the effects of global climate change.

“Today the American people can be proud because this historic agreement is a tribute to American leadership. Over the past seven years, we’ve transformed the United States into the global leader in fighting climate change,” Obama said.

He said the accord shows what is possible when the world stands as one, adding: “This agreement represents the best chance we have to save the one planet that we’ve got.”

Speaking at the White House hours after the deal was completed, Obama said that “no agreement is perfect, including this one,” and that negotiations that involve nearly 200 nations are always challenging.

“Even if all the initial targets set in Paris are met, we’ll only be part of the way there when it comes to reducing carbon from the atmosphere,” Obama added.

Obama has made combating global climate change a top priority of his presidency but has encountered stiff resistance to his proposals from Republicans in Congress.

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Republican Jim Inhofe, a global warming skeptic who heads the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said the climate deal was “no more significant to the United States” than the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the last major climate deal.

Unlike the Kyoto pact, forged with Democratic President Bill Clinton in office, the Paris agreement will not be a fully legally binding treaty, which would almost certainly fail to pass in the U.S. Congress.

Clinton’s White House successor, George W. Bush, concluded that the Kyoto pact was giving big emerging economies such as China and India a free ride, and would cost U.S. jobs. Having signed the deal, Washington never ratified it.

“Senate leadership has already been outspoken in its positions that the United States is not legally bound to any agreement setting emissions targets or any financial commitment to it without approval by Congress,” Inhofe said.

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Besides Inhofe, few Republicans voiced their opinions on the deal.

None of the top Republican presidential candidates nor Republican leaders in Congress had commented on the deal on Twitter as of 6:00 pm Eastern (1100 GMT) Saturday.

Previously, Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump has cast doubt on science that attributes the warming of the climate to carbon emissions, saying the world’s temperature “goes up and it goes down.”

Democratic presidential front runner Hillary Clinton released a statement via Twitter applauding the agreement and pushing back against its critics.

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“We cannot afford to be slowed by the climate skeptics or deterred by the defeatists who doubt America’s ability to meet this challenge,” Clinton said, vowing to make climate change a top priority if elected president.

Representative Raul Grijalva, the top Democrat on the House Committee on Natural Resources, urged quick action by the Republican-led Congress to fund and support the Paris accord.

“Too many people have spent their careers pretending that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by shadowy environmental groups and Machiavellian research scientists,” Grijalva said. “The American public knows full well that’s not the case.”

(Reporting by Idrees Ali, Will Dunham, Annika McGinnis and Julia Edwards; Editing by Sandra Maler and David Gregorio)

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Most Republican voters admit to feeling ‘embarrassed’ and ‘exhausted’ by Trump’s comments

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Some diehard supporters of President Donald Trump have asserted that they admire the fact that he is so unapologetic about his rhetoric and his actions. But according to a new Pew Research survey, most Republican or Republican-leaning voters admit that they sometimes feel “embarrassed” or “concerned” about things that Trump says.

According to Pew, 53% of Republican or Republican-leaning voters say they sometimes feel “embarrassed” by Trump’s comments — while 59% are sometimes “concerned” by them. Some of the adjectives Pew ran by GOP or GOP-leaning voters were even stronger, including “angry,” “exhausted” and “frightened.”

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Facebook moderator died from heart attack on the job — and managers were ordered not to tell employees: report

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A Facebook moderator died of a heart attack last while on the job for the social media giant, according to a new report detailing miserable working conditions for the company's employees.

Keith Utley, a former Coast Guard lieutenant commander, was working an overnight shift at Facebook's moderator site in Tampa, Florida, when co-workers noticed him slump out of his chair, reported The Verge.

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2020 Election

Biden tells billionaires that things wouldn’t change under his administration

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Don't worry, billionaires: your standard of living won't change under a Joe Biden administration.

That's the message the Democratic frontrunner delivered to donors Tuesday as he continued a fundraising trip in New York that saw him on Monday tell a room of wealthy Wall Streeters "you guys are great" and ask a Trump-loving supermarket magnate for support.

In Biden's comments Tuesday, the former vice president told a room of 100 of the New York financial elite, including bankers Robert Rubin and Roger Altman, both of whom worked in the Treasury Department under Democratic administrations, that he wasn't their enemy. According to Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Epstein, Biden took pains to separate himself from the rest of the field in his comments.

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