Sunday, December 11, 2011
The UN climate conference in Durban, South Africa today agreed to keep the world moving forward on climate change. The conference approved a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol and launched negotiations to adopt a new agreement with legal force covering all countries by 2015. The Durban package was agreed by
all countries including the United States.
These are welcome steps, but Durban only opens the door. The Durban package is necessary, but it is still far from sufficient. We need urgent action to keep global temperature rise below 2o C and address the increasing risks posed by extreme weather and many other climate change impacts.
The climate crisis requires a swift transition beyond coal and oil to a clean energy economy. The outcome in Durban supports that transition with the establishment of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which will grow over time to become the primary means for financing the clean energy future globally.
Now the ball is squarely in the US court to step up and help conclude a fair, ambitious and binding global climate agreement, and to deliver on our promises in the coming decade to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and help the rest of the world. That will require much greater commitment to emissions reduction, protection of forests and other lands, as well as adaptation to a rapidly changing climate.
Even at its best, the international process is slow. Given the urgency of the climate crisis it is critical that aggressive action be taken now to move the US and the world beyond coal and oil and toward a new clean energy economy.