Yesterday the Obama Administration took its largest step yet to curb dangerous carbon pollution and act on climate change. We acknowledge the President's action as a critical first step, but the Clean Power Plan is far from sufficient. The basic reality is simple: To avoid catastrophic climate impacts, we must limit global warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius and keep over 80% of fossil fuel reserves in the ground.
The Clean Power Plan needs more ambition, particularly in its 2030 goals. SustainUS Co-Chair Matt Maiorana said: "The Administration's Climate Action Plan claims the U.S. will 'lead international efforts to combat global climate change and prepare for its impacts,' but these weak 2030 targets fall far short of what the science says is necessary. We need real aggressive action to catalyze meaningful contributions and an acceptable outcome at COP 21."
The U.S. must show leadership by working with China, India, the European Union, and other countries to forge a bold and ambitious global agreement in 2015. This agreement should stabilize the climate and ensure a just transition for all countries, especially those most vulnerable to climate disasters.
Real action demands an energy sector with 100% decarbonized power by 2030, not policy that incentivizes shifting from coal to natural gas. SustainUS Co-Chair Leslye Penticoff stated: "We oppose the President's misleading 'all-of-the-above' energy strategy, which in reality prioritizes fossil fuel extraction and export over meaningful investment in alternative energy. For President Obama to secure a strong climate legacy, much more action is needed to reduce fossil fuel subsidies and expand renewable energy capacity. We will continue building a powerful movement for climate justice until our future on this planet is secure."
This morning, SustainUS Agents of Change delegates Amy Frieder and Kelly McGlinchey worked together to give an excellent intervention on youth involvement in the UN process, economic justice, and the importance of environmental sustainability. They spoke at the 52nd UN Commission on Social Development, where they are part of the SustainUS delegation.
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It's been an exciting couple of weeks for SustainUS! In addition to the ongoing work of our delegation on the ground at the 52nd Meeting of the United Nations Commission on Social Development, we were able to give an intervention during a Thematic Debate convened by the President of the 68th UN General Assembly, focusing on Water, Sanitation, and Sustainable Energy in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
SustainUS Development Co-Director Collin Rees gave the following statement during the session on Sustainable Energy, calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies, a just transition toward a clean energy future, and real action to address the climate change and human rights implications of such a transition.
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SustainUS is pleased to recognize the recent appointment of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as the UN Special Envoy for Climate and Cities. We appreciate and support the United Nations’ continuing recognition of the importance of urban spaces in the fight against climate change. With over 50% of the world’s population living in cities and that number rising every day, urban policy offers an important and effective way to address issues of sustainability, development, resilience, and social justice.