Citizens Climate Lobby: Progress in Durban On Climate, But We Mustn’t Wait To Act
Citizens Climate Lobby Canada released this response to the recent Durban climate negotiations and the announcement yesterday by Environment Minister Peter Kent that Canada is pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol:
While it is encouraging that a path forward now exists for an international agreement on climate change, the deal completed Sunday in Durban, South Africa, will allow greenhouse gas emissions to continue rising until 2020, at which point we may well exceed the tipping point on global warming, Citizens Climate Lobby said Monday.
Under the agreement reached at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, phase one of the Kyoto Protocol will be extended until 2017. A legally-binding pact to limit greenhouse gases will be completed by 2015 and go into effect by 2020. The new agreement will include China and India, two of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters that were not previously covered in the Kyoto Protocol. The U.S., which never ratified Kyoto, will also be part of the new agreement. A $100-billion Green Climate Fund, designed to help developing nations mitigate and adapt on climate change, was also agreed to.
“There were some surprising breakthroughs in Durban that we should celebrate,” said Mark Reynolds, executive director of Citizens Climate Lobby. “It’s clear from what the science is telling us and the increasing number of extreme weather events, however, that we can’t wait much longer to start cutting fossil fuel emissions. This agreement shouldn’t give us permission to pollute the way we’ve been doing for the next nine years.”
Given recent warnings from the International Energy Agency about the rapidly-closing window to avoid catastrophic climate change, the U.S. must act soon with a policy that reduces our greenhouse gas emissions and leads other nations to take similar steps. A bill introduced in the U.S. House by Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), the Save Our Climate Act of 2011 (H.R. 3242), places a steadily-rising tax on carbon-based fuels and returns revenue to consumers on a per-capita basis. “We have a workable plan on the table with Stark’s bill. It’s a revenue-neutral approach that should appeal to both parties. It’s time for politicians to stop the partisan rhetoric on climate change and start talking about solutions like the Save Our Climate Act,” said Reynolds.
In late November Citizens Climate Lobby Canada conducted its first major lobbying blitz on Parliament Hill, lobbying 12 Members of Parliament for legislation that puts a fee on carbon pollution and gives the money back to the citizens, similar to the Save our Climate Act. This legislation makes the polluters pay while at the same protects Canadians from rising fuel costs. The Conservative plan of sector-by-sector regulation of CO2 emissions is creating bigger government and has Canada carbon emission reductions well below our fair share of climate mitigation to avoid irreversible and dangerous climate change. Is it any wonder Canada pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol on the Monday, December 12, 2011?
“At a time of ‘austerity’ shouldn’t our government put forth plans that do not increase the size of government? We applaud Canada’s commitment to the Green Energy fund. However, it is time to put a price on carbon pollution so that we can transition to a clean-energy economy, create good jobs in communities across Canada and restore our good name on the international stage. Adaptation plans without realistic mitigation plans are pointless. Most of humanity will experience grave difficulty adapting to catastrophic climate change. We need to act now,” says Cathy Orlando, Project Manager for Citizens Climate Lobby Canada.
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