Published On: Wed, Oct 5th, 2016

President Obama Marks an Historic Moment in Our Global Efforts to Combat Climate Change

Ten months ago, nations from across the globe gathered in Paris to announce an historic agreement to combat climate change. The Paris Agreement established a strong global consensus to reduce carbon pollution and set the world on a low-carbon course. For the agreement to go into effect, 55 countries representing 55 percent of global emissions had to formally join. In September, the U.S. and China, countries that represent 40 percent of emissions, officially joined. And today, the world crossed the threshold needed to bring the Paris Agreement into force. 

Speaking from the Rose Garden, President Obama welcomed this historic step in our global efforts to combat climate change. Watch his remarks: 

This historic moment did not happen overnight. Take a look back at significant moments on the path we took to get here: 

In 2009, we salvaged a chaotic climate summit in Copenhagen to esablish a foundational principle that all nations have a role to play in combating climate change. 

President Obama in Copenhagen 2009 President Barack Obama briefs European leaders, including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Union Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, and Danish Prime Minister Lars L. Rasmussen, following a multilateral meeting at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, Dec. 18, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

We then led by example with historic investments in growing industries like wind and solar, creating a steady stream of new jobs. 

Solar electricity in U.S.

In June of 2015, the President announced the Clean Power Plan, which proposed the first-ever nationwide standards to limit the amount of carbon pollution that power plants can dump into the air. 

President's CPP plan

We also set new transportation standards that changed the way we consume energy—and empowered consumers to leave a smaller footprint.

In September of this year, the U.S. and China—two countries that represent approximately 40 percent of global emissions—officially joined the Paris Agreement. 

The U.S. joins Paris Agreement President Barack Obama, President Xi Jinping of China and United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-Moon exchange greetings at the conclusion of a climate event at West Lake State House in Hangzhou, China, Sept. 3, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

And today, as the President said, the world has made history: “If we follow through on the commitments this agreement embodies, history will judge it as a turning point for our planet.”

Learn more about the President’s efforts to combat climate change here: 

The Record on Climate

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