PARIS (CNN) — Combating climate change will prove to be a rebuttal of terrorist efforts, President Barack Obama declared at the opening of a major climate summit in Paris.
“What greater rejection of those who would tear down our world than marshaling our best efforts to save it,” Obama said Monday at the COP21 conference, being held at a highly secured site outside the French capital two weeks after ISIS terrorists carried out a bloody rampage.
“We have come to Paris to show our resolve,” Obama said, saying he offered condolences to the French people.
Obama interspersed his climate message with meetings on fighting ISIS during his stay in Paris, which began with a midnight tribute outside the Bataclan nightclub, where ninety people died during the November 13 attacks.
Obama laid a single white rose on a pile of bouquets, honoring the victims of the attacks alongside French President Francois Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
He said Monday the United States and France stand “united in solidarity, not only to deliver justice to the terrorist network responsible for those attacks but to protect our people and uphold the enduring values that keep us strong and keep us free.”
His message to the more than 150 world leaders gathered at the le Bourget summit site: confronting climate change will prove a powerful antidote to nihilistic terrorist worldviews.
In words directed to developing countries, many of which balk at demands to reduce carbon output, Obama said the United States recognizes its own role in contributing to climate change.
“I’ve come here personally as the leader of the world’s largest economy and the second largest emitter, to say that the United States of America not only recognizes our role in creating this problem, we embrace our responsibility to do something about it,” Obama said.
He cited new investments in clean energy and greater reliance on green technology as examples of U.S. commitments toward reducing carbon emissions.
“What this means can’t be overstated,” Obama said. “We have broken the old arguments for inaction. We’ve proved that strong economic growth and a safer environment no longer have to conflict with one another.”