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Heather Leibowitz,
Environment New York

Speedy Paris Climate Agreement Ratification must lead to Strong Action

For Immediate Release

New York, NY- Thanks to leadership from President Obama, the Paris Climate Agreement entered into force today. With the European Union joining 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.

Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York, 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% 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.

Here in New York, Governor Cuomo should act to keep accelerating our transition to clean electricity by doubling the strength of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to further limit global warming pollution from power plants. Moreover, Cuomo should take additional action to reduce pollution from vehicles and transportation. New York must meet or exceed its goal of reducing total global warming pollution by at least 40 percent by 2030."