There’s no doubt that President Obama is trying to shape a climate legacy and that showing leadership on all things climate related is his way of doing so. Accordingly, the President had already made a groundbreaking climate deal with Chinese premier Xi Jinping. Coming roughly a year ago, it neutralized what might otherwise have been the biggest issue in global climate talks — that is, what China will do.
And then, earlier this year, Obama’s administration delivered the finalized Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of the U.S.’s push to cap its own emissions. This was all about walking the walk and cleaning up our own house.
So what was left when it came to showing leadership? Well, the major symbolic move of rejecting a pipeline that environmentalists have extensively rallied against, and that has come to symbolize the notion that many new fossil fuel projects won’t be able to go forward if the U.S. and world stay committed to the goal of not allowing warming beyond 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels.
Read more: How Obama’s Keystone XL rejection gives him momentum for the Paris climate talks - The Washington Post