DWEJ believes that the time is now for a climate justice agreement and we readily embrace the Climate Change Treaty, which was developed prior to the Climate Conference to respond to the disastrous weather events experienced by Gulf Coast residents. It is imperative that the Copenhagen Accord (official agreement) fully incorporate these principles to protect our human right to a healthy and safe environment.
Highlights of the Climate Change Treaty (Developed by the Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, New Orleans, Louisiana):
• Reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide to below 350 parts per million
• Transition to a clean energy economy that supports alternatives for workers employed in carbon-intensive industries and communities that rely on such industries
• Prioritize improving the environmental health, educational, and economic conditions in communities that suffer from the impacts of carbon-intensive industries
• Ensure that vulnerable communities, and women from vulnerable communities, are included in all levels of decision-making on climate change policies
• Support the climate resiliency of indigenous and poor communities in the U.S. and around the world by fostering sustainable land use and building materials
• Ensure that climate change adaptation policies are aligned with the U.N. Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement
• Require best practices in coastal restoration, reforestation flood protection, and disaster mitigation in the U.S. and around the world.
For more information and to view the entire Climate Change Treaty, please visit Advocates for Environmental Human Rights at www.ehumanrights.org
On Thursday and Friday, Dec. 17-18, many of the world leaders arrived in Copenhagen. On Friday, after stalled talks, President Obama met with China, India, Brazil and South Africa, and created the Copenhagen Accord. Although this document did not assign a deadline for establishing a binding agreement or short-term commitments to reducing carbon emissions, it was a long-awaited step towards an agreement. However, many countries reluctantly accepted the Accord and viewed the conference as a failure.
Highlights of the Accord:
• Confirms the continuation of the Kyoto protocol and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
• Sets maximum of 2 degrees Celsius for global temperature rise. Will review in 2016 to determine whether it should lower temperature to 1.5 Celsius (request of Africa, developing countries, small island states)
• Developed countries will commit $30 billion additional funding for developing countries for 2010-2012, and developed countries will support a goal of jointly mobilizing $100 billion a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries
• Developed countries commit at least 80 percent emission reduction by year 2050
• Mitigation actions subject to international measurement reporting and verification, will be monitored nationally and reported every second year by guidelines accepted by the parties to UNFCC
As the Conference of Parties (COP) moves towards establishing a binding treaty, we need for everyone to urge the U.S. Senate to pass an energy bill that is not watered down by the petroleum and coal industry, but achieves climate justice.
We need a fair energy bill that will protect low-income communities from the adverse effects of climate change, closely monitor and regulate the emissions reporting system, which is currently based on an honor system, and regulate the cap and trade system which has not been necessarily proven to reduce carbon emissions.
In fact, it is likely that older, dirtier facilities will feel compelled to buy more carbon permits than to reduce emissions because of the cost benefit. Call your senators today. U.S. Sen. Carl Levin can be reached at (313) 226-6020 or U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow can be reached at (313) 961-4330.
The next Conference of Parties 16 (COP16), held this year, will take place in Mexico City. COP 17 will take place in South Africa in 2011.
For more information and to view the entire Copenhagen Accord, please visit the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2009/cop15/eng/l07.pdf.
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