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Ben Hellerstein,
Environment Massachusetts

Speedy Paris climate agreement ratification must lead to strong action

For Immediate Release

Thanks to leadership from President Obama, today the Paris Climate Agreement cleared the final hurdle to enter into force. With the European Union voting to join the United States, China, India and other nations in ratifying the agreement, nations representing more than 55 percent of the world’s global warming pollution have now signed on — crossing the minimum threshold for the agreement to become official.

Under the agreement, global leaders have committed to limit global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius with an aspirational goal of 1.5° C, a benchmark scientists say is critical to avoid the most dangerous impacts of global warming — including disruption of our food supply, increasingly extreme weather, and loss of coastal regions to flooding. The planet has already warmed nearly 1° C above the 20th century average, and scientists have warned that urgent, wide-scale action will be required to stop temperatures from rising much further.

Jacqueline Meyncke Risch, Campaign Organizer for Environment Massachusetts, issued the following statement:

“We’re thrilled that global leaders have moved quickly to ratify this important agreement to preserve our climate. It sends a strong signal that the world plans to do more, faster to protect our communities, our families and our future.

“Now we must turn our attention to delivering on the promise of this historic agreement. While this agreement was ratified way ahead of schedule, the impacts of global warming are upon us. There’s no time to lose.

“Here in the United States, we must redouble our efforts to reduce — and eventually eliminate — global warming pollution. President Obama has already put America on track to slash emissions from vehicles and power plants, but we can and must do much more.

“We have the tools to shift away from dirty and dangerous fossil fuels towards a 100 percent renewable energy future powered by solar, wind, and energy efficiency.  Tapping this immense potential, President Obama should establish a goal for the United States to achieve net-zero carbon pollution by 2050. Setting this ambitious goal will not only seal the President’s legacy as an historic world leader but also guide our nation to avert climate disaster in the coming decades.

“In Massachusetts, state officials should commit to a goal of 100 percent renewable energy and do everything they can to expand clean energy and reduce fossil fuel pollution. In particular, Governor Baker should follow through on his administration's commitment to double the strength of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and push the leaders of other northeastern states to get on board. Moreover, Governor Baker should take additional action to reduce pollution from vehicles and transportation in order to comply with the state's Global Warming Solutions Act.”