President Barack Obama credited world leaders Saturday evening for working together to sign an agreement solve global climate change after years of talks.
Obama, going before cameras and reporters Saturday evening in the White House, said that the United States took leadership in addressing global climate change and helping to reduce greenhouse emissions.
"This agreement is ambitious with every nation setting and committing to their own specific targets, even as we take into account differences upon nations," Obama said. "We will hold every country accountable for meeting their commitments."
The White House says the accord establishes "a long-term, durable global framework" to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The U.S. is the world's second largest climate polluter, and Obama has pledged that the U.S. will cut its overall emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent by 2030.
"This agreement represents the best chance we've had to save the one planet we've got," Obama said.
The climate talks already had run into opposition from Republicans who control Congress. They say Obama's commitment to reduce emissions from U.S. power plants would cost thousands of American jobs and raise electricity costs.
"We can expect the administration to cite this 'agreement' as their excuse for establishing emission targets for every sector of the U.S. economy not only including utilities, but petroleum refining, all manufacturing, agriculture and others," said Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Secretary of State John Kerry responded quickly to GOP opposition, particularly from Inhofe and candidates:
"It's already happening," Kerry said in Paris. "I have news for Senator Inhofe: the United States of America has already reduced its emissions more than any other country in the world."
Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic minority leader, said climate change poses one of the greatest threats the world has ever known, and that no country acting alone can stem the tide.
"The time to act is now," Nevada's Reid said.