Paris Summit's Carbon Reduction Agreement Not Enough to Stave Off Climate Catastrophe

Posted Dec. 16, 2015

MP3 Interview with David Pomerantz, senior climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace USA, conducted by Scott Harris

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While U.S. President Obama and other world leaders hailed the agreement hammered out between 195 countries at the United Nations Paris climate summit as a success and a turning point, many climate activists – while acknowledging areas of progress, took a more critical view.

Pledges from 186 of the 195 nations participating in the summit to reduce the growth of their greenhouse gas emissions to limit a rise in global temperature to 2 degrees Celsius, but pursue a limit of 1.5 degrees, is commendable. But according to various research groups even if every nation honored their announced carbon emissions reduction targets, the world would still be headed toward a 3.5 degree Celsius rise in temperature by the end of the century. That increase, scientists predict, can lead to crop failures, food shortages and widespread plant and animal life extinctions.

The Paris climate agreement is not legally binding, in large part because the Republican party, which controls the U.S. Congress, would never have approved this global treaty. But other provisions in the deal call for mandatory five-year reviews of greenhouse gas reduction pledges from each country with transparency in the efforts made to reach national carbon emission goals. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with David Pomerantz, a senior climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace USA, who assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the climate agreement and the hard work ahead for climate activists across the globe.

For more information visit Greenpeace at greenpeace.org; ThreeFifty.org at 350.org/; Friends of the Earth at foe.org; Sierra Club at sierraclub.org.

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