US president Barack Obama speaks during a press conference on December 1, 2015 at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAU
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Parts of a global climate agreement being hammered out in Paris should be legally binding, President Barack Obama said Tuesday.Obama has spent months prodding other countries to make ambitious carbon-cutting pledges to the agreement, which would last long beyond the end of his presidency in early 2017 .The White House had already said parts of the deal should be legally binding, but this is the first time Obama has said it himself, and spelled out which ones.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other Republican leaders have warned other countries not to trust any deal Obama may strike. Nigel Purvis, a former U.S. climate negotiator and president of the non-governmental organization Climate Advisers, said Tuesday that Obama has all the legislative authority he needs to enter such an agreement, thanks in part to a 1992 treaty signed by then-President George H.W. Bush and approved by the Senate. The president also has executive authority for what's likely to be required by a climate deal, he said.
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