Paris is just the beginning: America’s future in the fight against climate change

Leaders from over 140 nations gather this week in Paris to try to reach a new global agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions. If they are successful in forging a new and ambitious international climate pact—with all countries participating—we will have made a huge leap forward to avert the devastating effects of climate change

Thanks to President Obama’s leadership, the United States enters these complex multilateral negotiations on a very strong footing. We are leading the world with ambitious domestic carbon pollution reduction and clean energy goals—and we’re already backing these pledges with action.

Hillary Clinton’s work as Secretary of State was pivotal to many of the diplomatic breakthroughs that paved the road to Paris. As Secretary of State, Hillary made the fight against climate change a top-tier diplomatic priority. She led an international effort to launch the Climate and Clean Air Coalition and appointed the first high-level special envoy for climate change. She helped build new coalitions to reduce methane emissions and phase down the use of super-polluting Hydroflourocarbons, and launched a clean cookstove initiative to improve the health of communities and our planet.

In her first trip to Beijing, Hillary put climate change squarely on the agenda for the first time, making bilateral climate action a pivotal element of our relationship with China. At the Copenhagen Summit in 2009, Hillary worked with President Obama to hammer out the diplomatic breakthrough that led to the Copenhagen Accord, which was the first international agreement in which all of the major economies—including China—committed to reducing their greenhouse gas pollution.

Her efforts to establish a climate dialogue with the Chinese helped lay the foundation for last year’s historic U.S.–China joint announcement of new post-2020 emissions reduction targets. This agreement puts us on the path to successful talks in Paris today.

And we cannot afford to wait. Globally, 9 of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred this century. This October was the warmest in recorded history. Polluted air, erratic storms, raging wildfires, and rising oceans are already wreaking havoc in the United States and around the world.

We cannot leave our children and grandchildren to bear the burden of our inaction. The time has come. We simply cannot wait any longer. Millions of people in the U.S. and billions more around the world are looking to their leaders in Paris to fight for the world we all want—for our children, our planet, and our societies.

But an agreement in Paris must only be the beginning. A deal alone cannot stem the tide of global warming.

As President, Hillary will continue fighting to ensure that climate change remains a priority on the international stage. She will seek to forge a new North American Climate Compact between the United States, Canada, and Mexico to build a clean energy future for our continent.

Hillary has also ambitious plan to build on President Obama’s domestic climate action by installing 500 million solar panels by the end of her first term, and generating enough renewable electricity to power every home in America within 10 years.

And she will continue to act on climate here in the U.S., so countries worldwide can rest assured that the U.S. will make good on the mitigation commitments that we pledge in Paris and after.

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