Secretary John Kerry on Historic Climate Deal

The secretary of state is interviewed on "This Week."
5:08 | 12/13/15

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Transcript for Secretary John Kerry on Historic Climate Deal
History made in Paris yesterday, as nearly 200 nations approved the first global agreement on climate change. The Paris accord will limit temperature increases and the consequences by curbing greenhouse gas emissions. Cutting the useover fossil fuels. President Obama gave the agreement an emphatic endorsement in a rare Saturday evening statement from the white house. The targets we set are bold and by empowering businesses, scientists, engineers, workers and the private sector, investors to work together, this agreement represents the best chance we have to save the one planet we've got. And we're joined by Obama's chief negotiator, the secretary of state John Kerry. Mr. Secretary, thank you for joining us. Pretty remarkable to get 195 nations to agree on anything, but the agreement has some significant critics, too, the nasa scientist many see the godfather of the movement. He said this guardian. He said it's a fraud, really, a fake, it's just worthless words. There's not action, just promises. Your reaction. Look, I have great respect for him. I was there when he first warned everyone that climate change was happening. But with all due respect to him, I understand the criticisms of the agreement, because it doesn't have the mandatory scheme and it doesn't have a compliance enforcement mechanism. That's true. But we have 186 countries for the first time in history all submitting independent plans that they have laid down which are real for reducing emissions. And what it does in my judgment, more than anything else, there is a uniform standard of transparency. And therefore, we will know what everybody is doing. A very clear signal to marketplace of the world that people are moving into low-carbon, no-carbon alternative, renewable energy. I think it's going to create millions of jobs. That r&d is going to produce the solutions, not government. As you know, there are no sanctions. It's not legally binding in part because the U.S. Couldn't get a treaty through in the senate. And senate majority leader Mitch Mcconnell has weighed in quite strongly already. He said, before the international partners pop the champagne, they should remember that this is an unattainable deal based on domestic energy plan that's likely illegal, that half the states have sued to halt and that the congress has already voted to reject. Can this deal actually be implemented absence a consequence in the united States? There is a consensus in the United States, among the people and among mayors across the nation, many of whom, those -- all of them who have joined the mayors conference with respect to climate reductions, and the fact is, the United States of America has already reduced its emissions more than any other country in the world and it has done so through various means by raising the efficiency standards on automobiles, by engaging in R and D and deployment of new technologies and the president has made it very, very clear that he's committed to this and this agreement really came about significantly due to American leadership with president Obama engaging with China, coming to an agreement with the two largest economies. The two largest emitters saying they were going to join together to put out their reductions and that spurred 184 other countries to step up. So, this is significant. I mean, what do members of congress think when leaders of major countries around the world are actually stepping up to do these things? These are not -- Mr. Secretary -- These guys aren't making up the science or the plans to do it. And I think, I think, frankly, a lot of members of congress are on the wrong side of history. And I don't believe you can be elected president of the united States if you don't understand climate change or you're not committed to this kind of a plan. Well, that's what I wanted to get to. Most of the republicans running for president said they wouldn't ae tend the Paris talks and many would vow to undo the president's to have the ability by executive order to undo things, the answer is yes, that's why I don't believe the American people who predominantly believe what's happening with climate change, I don't think they're going to accept as a genuine leader someone who doesn't understand the science of climate change. You know, we had eight storms last year which cost America well more than a billion dollars per storm, it's far cheaper to recognize what's coming and cure the problem ahead of time. Finally, Mr. Secretary, Donald Trump's comments about banning muslims' entry in the United States. How have his comments affected America's standard around the world? Well, it doesn't endanger national security. Because it exhibits an attitude by one American about a willingness to discriminate against a religion. I mean, that is against our constitution and it's against who we are as Americans. We have all kinds of ways of putting protections in to the programs by which people come into our nation. But to outright ban people because they belong to one particular religion, that's just stunningly contrary to the fundamental values of our country, which was built on tolerance. Where the president speaks from to deliver the state of union, inscribed in the panel is tolerance, and it seems to me that Mr. Trump is totally without recognition of the true American spirit and values, and certainly tolerance.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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