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U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with French President Francois Hollande during their meeting at the G8 Summit in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland June 18, 2013. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque) U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with French President Francois Hollande during their meeting at the G8 Summit in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland June 18, 2013. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)  

Obama joins with French president to demand action on global warming

President Barack Obama joined with French Socialist President Francois Hollande to demand an international agreement to fight global warming, saying the two countries have already done much to help developing nations cope with a warmer future.

The two leaders co-authored columns in The Washington Post and French newspaper Le Monde discussing a slew of diplomatic issues from trade to handling Iran and Syria, as well as how to tackle global warming. Both leaders urged international action on global warming ahead of the United Nations climate summit in Paris next year.

“Even as our two nations reduce our own carbon emissions, we can expand the clean energy partnerships that create jobs and move us toward low-carbon growth,” Obama and Hollande wrote. “We can do more to help developing countries shift to low-carbon energy as well, and deal with rising seas and more intense storms.”

“As we work toward next year’s climate conference in Paris, we continue to urge all nations to join us in pursuit of an ambitious and inclusive global agreement that reduces greenhouse gas emissions through concrete actions,” the two leaders added. “The climate summit organized by the U.N. secretary general this September will give us the opportunity to reaffirm our ambitions for the climate conference in Paris.”

Both the Obama and Hollande administrations have been particularly aggressive in implementing their plan to fight global warming. Obama has cracked down on the coal industry, taking steps to limit carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants and ending government-backed assistance for coal plants being built in developing countries.

The Obama administration has also spent billions in loans and grants to spur green energy development in the U.S., a controversial effort that brought about the failure of solar companies that got hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

Hollande’s Socialist government has made global warming a top priority as well. The country’s 2014 budget includes a carbon tax on heating oil and coal. French Socialists want to reduce the country’s energy consumption 50 percent by 2050 by increasing renewable energy use while reducing nuclear power.

The carbon tax came after violent protests broke out in October and November last year over France’s planned “eco-tax” on heavy goods vehicles using French roads. France’s agrarian northwest region of which heavily relies on vehicle transportation fought the measure.

“The challenges of our time cannot be wished away,” the two presidents wrote in the Washington Post. “The opportunities of our interconnected world will not simply fall into our laps. The future we seek, as always, must be earned. For more than two centuries, our two peoples have stood together for our mutual freedom. Now we are meeting our responsibilities not just to each other — but to a world that is more secure because our enduring alliance is being made new again.”

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