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

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U.S. President Barack Obama holds a news conference at the conclusion of his visit to Paris, France December 1, 2015. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

“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.

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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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2020 Election

‘He just looks desperate’: Morning Joe panel destroys Trump’s attempts to undermine the election

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and his panelists tried to make sense of President Donald Trump's apparent attempts to undermine confidence in this year's election results.

The president attacked Pennsylvania's Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf during an Allentown rally, saying his administration was watching the state's vote count "very closely," and the "Morning Joe" host wondered what he was talking about.

"For the past year, you have had a lot of state attorney generals watching Donald Trump closely, really closely, especially in New York," Scarborough said. "The state of New York, Donald -- hey, Donald, the state of New York, the attorney general there, they're watching you closely. Attorney generals in other states, they're watching you closely, so I am sure they are glad that you are looking back. It's good, it's more reciprocal, and that's fine. Yeah, you watch all you want to watch, and they are just going to keep watching."

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2020 Election

Here’s why Wall Street has decided it’s fine with Democrats sweeping the election

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President Donald Trump has tried to portray himself as an economic savior, and warned that Joe Biden winning the election would be a disaster for jobs and businesses.

But according to Politico, Wall Street executives don't agree. Many of them are now actively rooting for Democrats to sweep the 2020 election — because Republicans have failed to deliver crucial stimulus.

"Traders in recent weeks have been piling into bets that a 'blue wave' election, in which Democrats also seize the Senate, will produce an economy-juicing blast of fresh fiscal stimulus of $3 trillion or more that carries the U.S. past the coronavirus crisis and into a more normal environment for markets," reported Ben White. "Far from panicking at the prospect of a Biden win, Wall Street CEOs, traders and investment managers now mostly say they would be fine with a change in the White House that reduces the Trump noise, lowers the threat of further trade wars and ensures a continuation of the government spending they’ve seen in recent years."

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2020 Election

Expert: Trump in a ‘dangerous’ battle with Bloomberg to win Texas for Biden

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Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg this week revealed that he's making a major last-minute ad blitz aimed at winning both Texas and Ohio for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

According to the New York Times, Bloomberg's Independence USA super PAC is "directing millions toward television advertising" in the two states in the hopes of swaying undecided voters into backing Biden instead of President Donald Trump.

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