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U.S.-China agreement will not fix the climate

Posted Nov. 12, 2014 / Posted by: Kate Colwell

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to the announcement of a negotiated deal between the United States and China on greenhouse gas reductions, Friends of the Earth U.S. President Erich Pica made the following statement:

While the U.S.-China Announcement on climate change creates important political momentum internationally, it falls significantly short of the aggressive reductions needed to prevent climate disruption. The announced U.S. emissions reduction target -- 26-28 percent below 2005 levels, by 2025 -- is grounded in neither the physical reality of climate science nor the lived reality of hundreds of millions of people in developing countries whose lives and livelihoods are in jeopardy due to drought, flooding, fire and other extreme weather events. Simply put, the non-binding target falls miserably short of what science, justice and equity demand.

Further, the announcement is silent on the U.S. commitment to adaptation, technology transfer and climate finance in regards to the rest of the world. These commitments are fundamental for a meaningful climate agreement in Paris in 2015. The first litmus test of how serious the U.S. is about success in Paris will come during the Green Climate Fund pledging session later this month.

Looking ahead toward the 2016 presidential race, I hope that this pledge becomes a very low floor for presidential aspirants and not a ceiling for what is possible in the United States. Using executive authority, the President can and must go further by denying new fossil fuel leases, rejecting the Keystone pipeline and regulating other forms of greenhouse gas emissions.


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