Why are world leaders gathering near Paris for climate talks when there's a war going on in Syria? "Because this one trend, climate change, affects all trends," President Obama said at a news conference on Tuesday, reports the New York Times. "This is an economic and security imperative that we have to tackle now." Obama made the case that it will consume more and more resources, including military ones, until it's addressed, adding, "I actually think we're going to solve this problem," per CNBC. Obama said his hope was that world leaders would leave the climate talks with a "legally binding" mechanism ensuring that nations follow up on their commitments to reduce carbon emissions, reports CNN.
The words are notable because if the entire agreement were "legally binding," Congress would have the authority to review and block it, notes the AP. Obama aims to avoid that by making only parts of the agreement legally binding. He also spoke about Russia's involvement in Syria, noting the country has "invested for years now in keeping Assad in power" and there's no reason to expect immediate change. But he held out hope that Moscow would eventually switch its strategy, notes Bloomberg. "It is possible, over the next several months, that we'll see a shift in calculations by the Russians and a recognition that it's time to bring the civil war in Syria to a close," he said.