Hagel, who had opposed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 as it was then written, notes that he will support a Paris agrrement:
The Kyoto Protocol did not meet the conditions of Byrd-Hagel. Today, I believe that a Paris agreement could meet these conditions, laying out a path that is more realistic, effective and economically sound, and that would help catalyze a new global energy economy.
Hagel explained the national security risk of not addressing climate change, drawing attention to a statement he recently signed which urges global cooperation on climate change:
The military has defined climate change as a global threat multiplier that could exacerbate instigators of conflict such as resource disputes, ethnic tensions and economic discontent. Preparing for climate change is about risk—even if we do not understand every aspect of the scientific predictions, we know that the consequences of not acting may be significant.
At the end, he highlighted the need for cooperation between Congress and the president to “develop policies that will position America to lead on clean energy.”
Congress should play an active role in the negotiations—not by blocking the deal, but by sending a new Global Climate Change Observer Group to report on the proceedings in Paris and closely evaluate other countries’ climate plans. Strong oversight is necessary to ensure that other countries are meeting their commitments.
Read a full piece at Time.