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Green Party LogoGreen Party of the U.S.: Nonbinding deal at the U.N. climate change summit in Paris falls short

Green Party of the United States
http://www.gp.org

For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Contacts:
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-904-7614, mclarty@greens.org
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, starlene@gp.org


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Green Party leaders said that the nonbinding deal reached in Paris at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) showed progress but ultimately failed to address the crisis as a global emergency.

Greens from the U.S. and around the world attended the summit, with many taking part in public demonstrations outside of the summit and demanding that participating nations "Keep Coal, Oil and Gas in the Ground" and commit to 100% clean renewable energy.

Statements by Greens:

Dr. Margaret Flowers, Green candidate for the U.S. Senate in Maryland (http://www.flowersforsenate.org):

"While it is remarkable that an agreement was reached by all 195 nations, the agreement is not a solution. The severity of the climate crisis and the pressure of the global climate justice movement forced the nations to reach consensus, but the final language is completely inadequate to address the crisis and provide financial support to those who need it.

The final treaty, which will replace the Kyoto Treaty when it expires in 2020, is non-binding; and thus the inadequate commitments made by each nation are not mandatory. Current commitments to reduce greenhouse gases are too little, too late.

Though the stated goal of the Paris Treaty is to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius, the stated commitments won’t achieve that. And although previous drafts of the treaty called for phasing out fossil fuels in the second half of the century, the final draft excludes that language. Countries are also not required to cut emissions before the new treaty commences in 2020."

Andrea Mérida, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States:

"The decision to limit warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels was a positive step. But the deal combines this with only voluntary pledges from nations for the actions necessary to prevent average global temperatures from rising further.

Scientists and environmental groups have warned that the pledges, especially those from wealthy developed countries, to curb greenhouse gas emissions are more likely to result in a dangerous rise of 2.7C or more. Furthermore, the pledges are not legally binding. The deal tells us that it's unlikely that the global community will reach the 'net zero emissions' goal by 2070, based on imperatives established by U.N. scientists."

Audrey Clement, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States:

"Republicans continue to deny anthropogenic climate change, while Democrats like President Obama acknowledge the crisis but are reluctant to seek deep cuts in domestic fossil-fuel consumption and emissions. The positions of both parties show the pervasive influence of Big Oil and we can be certain that Republicans in Congress will block ratification by the U.S. of any climate-change agreement.

The Green Party calls for a complete reorientation of our national energy priorities, beginning with the elimination of subsidies for petroleum and coal energy, divestment from fossil-fuel companies, enactment of carbon fees and dividends to reflect the true cost of fossil fuel extraction, and phasing out of off-shore drilling, mountaintop removal mining, hydrofracking, and new pipeline construction. Ending dependence on fossil fuels requires massive investment in hybrid and electric vehicles, low-cost public transportation and new ecologically sound electricity transmission infrastructure. We must develop safe and clean energy technologies -- excluding nuclear power, which has its own risks -- and retrofit homes and buildings for energy efficiency.

All of these measures and more will create millions of new jobs across the U.S. Unfortunately, our current political establishment lacks the will to fight climate change or bar corporations from interfering in negotiations and legislation affecting the health of our planet. The future depends on popular movements, civic organizations, and political alternatives like the Green Party." (See the Green New Deal, http://gp.org/GreenNewDeal)

Sanda Everette, Green Party co-chair (Ms. Everette attended the summit and related events in Paris):

"By deferring higher aid levels until 2025, the COP 21 deal imposes little financial responsibility on wealthy nations with high rates of energy consumption -- especially the U.S. -- for poorer countries that will suffer the worst effects of climate change, including flooding, drought, extreme weather, disruption of agriculture, and food shortages. These same poorer nations of the Global South have provided the resources and labor that have fed richer nations for centuries.

This is a formula for civic unrest and global conflict for the rest of the 21st century. A truly effective climate deal must include a recognition that the world's economic structures must be transformed so that exploitation and plunder, which pumped greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, are replaced by humane systems that meet the needs of all the world's people."

See also:

Global Greens statement on the U.N. climate summit in Paris: "Failure is not an option"
Press release: Green Party of the United States, November 30, 2015
http://www.gp.org/global_greens_statement_on_climate_summit

The Green Party of the U.S. endorses the Global Climate March on Nov. 29 preceding the U.N. climate summit in Paris
Press release: Green Party of the United States, November 23, 2015
http://www.gp.org/us_greens_endorse_global_climate_march

Paris climate deal: key points at a glance
The Guardian, December 12, 2015
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/12/paris-climate-deal-key-points

European Green Party: Morning briefings from the Paris summit
https://europeangreens.eu/cop21

2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21)
http://unfccc.int/meetings/paris_nov_2015/meeting/8926.php


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