Remarks On the COP21 Climate Accord

The following is a sample statement that a hypothetical Democratic politician could have given following the Paris Climate Agreement.

For over two decades now the world has sought to meet the challenge of climate change. In meetings from Kyoto to Copenhagen, Doah to Durban — over 200 nations have met, discussed and negotiated, all the while seeking progress on a threat that we must all confront — together. Progress has not been easy. Our march forward has been one of fits and starts. But today we can finally stand as one international community and celebrate a historic agreement.

Today’s accord in Paris is not a victory of the rich over the poor, the big over the small, or friend over foe. It is an achievement of us all. And in a world far too often dominated by headlines of strife, conflict and enmity, today we can tell a different story.

We can talk about the possible. What we can accomplish when we come together to discuss common problems and shared responsibilities. What we can achieve when we act as one.

As Americans, we should be particularly proud of our role in reaching this point — because this achievement would not have been possible were it not for sustained American leadership. Through initiatives ranging from state and local partnerships, to national mandates and international agreements — the United States has backed rhetoric with action.

We have made our commitment to solving climate change clear and we have taken steps to restore our international standing on this issue. In short, we have earned the authority to lead with conviction.

And it is because of this leadership that we can point to today when over 200 nations joined us with commitments of their own. Commitments that recognize the importance of shared sacrifice. That signify a dedication to solving this crisis. That collectively will do more to reduce our carbon footprint than anything we have seen in human history. This is progress. This is a turning point for us all.

Now, with that said, we cannot mistake progress for victory. Much work remains to be done. But it is important to pause and acknowledge the scope and significance of our achievements.

For the first time we now have the framework and the resolve in place to answer the challenge of climate change. By establishing real commitments, backed by transparent monitoring, this agreement ensures that each nation does its part to save the one planet we share.

And, as we implement and expanded upon these benchmarks we can expect to see less pollution, fewer carbon emissions and greater investment in renewable energy. We have demonstrated that we are capable of answering the call of our times.

Today we have proven what we can accomplish when we focus more on what unites us than on what divides us. When we spend more time discussing shared values than arguing over our differences. We should not pretend that this agreement solves all of our issues or that our work towards building a better planet is finished, but we should see this as a starting point.

We should also see this agreement as an opportunity. A chance to redouble our own efforts and to continue to build global consensus. For only when America leads on issues like this can we truly expect to bring about the change we hope to see.

In the past two weeks we have seen unprecedented movement that just a couple of years ago seemed improbable, if not impossible. Thanks to our own leadership, international cooperation and collective action we overcame these long odds.

The agreement we have reached today is not perfect. It is not the end point that we must reach. But it is a step in the right direction.

This agreement means new hope for the world. It represents an opportunity to leave a better planet to those who follow us. And it is a chance to imagine a brighter future.

This is an agreement that we can all celebrate.

Thank you.