U.S. Voters Want President Willing to Act on Climate, Kerry Says

  • Republican president `would have ability' to undo UN agreement
  • Kerry's remarks follow historic global climate accord in Paris

U.S. voters won’t elect a leader who denies the damage that climate change incurs upon the planet and fails to commit to curbing greenhouse-gas emissions, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told ABC News.

“I don’t think they’re going to accept as a genuine leader, someone who doesn’t understand the science of climate change and isn’t willing to do something about it,” Kerry said in an interview broadcast Sunday on “This Week with George Stephanopolous.”

Kerry spoke on ABC and several other U.S. political shows the day after 195 countries struck a deal at United Nations climate talks in Paris. The agreement requires an historic overhaul of energy policies worldwide and a major investment in cleaning up the pollution now eroding the Earth’s atmosphere.

Kerry criticized Republicans in Congress, many of whom question whether human activity causes global warming and who’ve threatened to reverse President Barack Obama’s domestic regulations to limit greenhouse gases. He also acknowledged that a Republican who is elected president in 2016 “would have the ability” to get out of the UN deal by executive order.

The ultimate decision about U.S. participation in the global accord may come down to the American electorate, which goes to the polls next year to choose a new president and members of Congress.

“What do members of Congress think when leaders of major countries around the world are actually stepping up to do these things?” Kerry said. “These guys are not making up the science or the plans to do it. I think, frankly, a lot of members of Congress are on the wrong side of history.”

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