By Julian Pecquet - 02/04/13 07:45 PM EST
Vice President Joe Biden reaffirmed the Obama administration's goal of tackling climate change during the president's second term in a meeting with the French president Monday.
“I was impressed in the discussion we had relative to climate change — and I mean this sincerely, Mr. President — I could have been sitting in a private meeting with President Obama,” Biden said in joint remarks with Francois Hollande following their meeting at the Elysee Palace.
“As I pointed out to the Foreign Minister [Laurent Fabius], he is going to have an interlocutor in John Kerry. There is no one in my country who has been, over the period of time he’s been in the Senate, more concerned with or knowledgeable about the issues relating to global warming.”
While efforts to curtail greenhouse gas emissions are going nowhere in Congress, the State Department has been working on green energy and climate partnerships and multinational talks to address climate pollutants like methane, black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons. Environmental advocates hope the United States will show leadership in helping to craft a new global treaty with binding targets for reducing emissions by 2015.
Hollande said Fabius would soon be traveling to the United States to meet with Kerry.
The two leaders also talked about the conflicts in Mali and Syria, the nuclear standoff with Iran, the global economy and hopes for restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Biden's visit to Paris follows a weekend trip to the Munich Security conference, where he met with several world leaders on the topic of Syria's civil war, including U.N. special envoy Lakdhar Brahimi, Syrian Opposition Coalition President Moaz al-Khatib and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
During the conference, Biden said the United States could hold direct talks with Iran if its leaders showed they were “serious” about addressing concerns over their alleged nuclear weapons program.