A Need to Activate the Paris Agreement Fast

Oct 3, 2016

Climate change is a defining issue of our time, and one where U.S. leadership has made a real and measurable difference. Confronting this challenge will require a sustained global effort to ensure that our planet remains a safe and livable place for future generations. In the words of Secretary of State John Kerry:

“These high temperatures are already having consequences, already people dying in the heat, already people moving because of lack of water, already we have climate refugees on this planet, already we see more powerful storm surges, already we see lower productivity in many industries, and serious impacts on public health and well-being. We know there are diseases that used to die because it got cold and it doesn't get cold. We know that species are moving and that the ecosystem of the planet, including the oceans, is changing.”

The good news is that we still have a chance to prevent some of the worst impacts of climate change and adapt to those changes that we can't prevent, said Secretary of State Kerry at a United Nations event celebrating countries who have joined or will join the Paris Agreement. The Agreement is an enormous step in the right direction.

“I am confident we will bring this agreement into force this year, and that message ... will demonstrate to the world just how serious we are,” said Secretary of State Kerry.

“In Paris, a remarkable thing happened. More than 185 countries came together; more than 175 signed on. In Paris, we began to rewrite the ending of this story.

“It will be a story of how the world came together in the greatest aspirations of United Nations, of this institution, to embrace this moment and to safeguard the future of this planet for generations to come. That is this mission, nothing less, and we intend to get the job done.”