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CLIMATE CHANGE

Environmental Justice in Action

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Environmental Justice in Action

Nov 15, 2016

Finding My Place as a Climate Justice Activist

About the Author: Hodan Hassan is a Climate Justice Organizer for Got Green. She gained skills as a political organizer while working on group of college and university campuses as a Washington Bus Fellow.

Got Green4

I was an underemployed college graduate looking for a job when I was invited to be part of the Climate Justice Committee, organized by Puget Sound Sage and Got Green. I had never really thought about climate-related work. I was much more concerned with racism and I wanted to work mostly organizing with black communities. Climate was not my thing and I didn’t see the connection between a warming climate and the immediate challenges facing my community and other communities of color, but I said yes.

Climate Justice Steering CommitteeIn our first committee meeting, I was in a room full of young people of color from all backgrounds. We immediately started talking about climate change: what it is, what it isn’t and what it means to live in the kinds of environments that many people of color live in around our country.

Still, I wasn’t ready to punch my ticket to “climate justice activist land” just yet.

As a black Muslim woman living in the United States, in my mind, there were things that were much more pressing than climate change.  And to be honest, every time I had ever heard the words climate change, I still couldn’t relate.

Then a fellow committee member explained to me how climate threatens our livelihoods, especially as communities of color. I learned that a majority of African Americans live near coal plants and other polluting industries, which hurts their health while contributing to climate change.

This was when I realized that climate justice was an important journey that I wanted to be part of.

Got Green3

Led by young adults and people of color, Got Green is a grassroots organization that promotes movement towards an equitable, green economy as a strategy for fighting poverty and global warming.

I served as a member of the Climate Justice Committee for five months, learning new information every day, like how the environments where we live impact our health and opportunities. I was also growing as an organizer, working with different people on how to engage communities of color in climate work. In June 2015 the opportunity to work for Got Green as their climate justice organizer presented itself.

Climate Justice Steering Committee3Within Got Green I can incorporate all of the passions I care about under the umbrella of climate justice work. I can be a black Muslim woman who is concerned about racial disparities while also working on climate-related issues to prevent displacement of communities of color from things like a lack of preparedness to extreme weather events and inequitable development.

Our People ReportLast year, Got Green launched the Climate Justice Project, a community-based participatory research project surveying individuals and communities about their climate change priorities. This project, contracted by the City of Seattle’s Equity and Environment Initiative, found that only 24 percent of participants thought people of color and low income people are most impacted by climate change. This tells us that the current climate activist narrative is not working. We are not talking about climate change in a way that’s culturally relevant to people of color.

Here at Got Green we are working to change that.

Like with our most recent work as a project partner with El Centro de la Raza. As a result of receiving an Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) Cooperative Agreement from the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice, we will be assisting El Centro to improve the environmental health of the Beacon Hill neighborhood through educational outreach, engagement and capacity building.

Climate Justice Steering Committee Mtg1It is projects like these where we start by localizing the impacts and connecting people of color to what’s going on in our communities so that people, like me, can see themselves in climate work.

And it is this work that has taught me that only through an inclusive and diverse movement can we truly hope to ensure all people are protected from a warming and destabilizing climate.

Source: https://blog.epa.gov/blog/category/environmental_justice/

 

A Historic Day in Our Fight Against Climate Change

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Statement, Blog, from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on Historic Kigali Agreement

Gina McCarthy10/15/2016
Contact Information:
Melissa Harrison ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
202-697-0208

Statement from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on Historic Kigali Agreement

This week, nearly 200 nations came together to take a historic step in combatting climate change. After years of hard work and difficult negotiations, a global commitment to protecting our planet brought us to this moment. Amending the Montreal Protocol will significantly phase down HFCs and avoid up to a half-degree centigrade of warming by the end of the century. While we have seen many significant successes under President Obama’s leadership in fighting climate change, this day will unquestionably be remembered as one of the most important in our effort to save the one planet we have. It is truly an exciting time for all of us who have worked so hard to achieve this new level of success, and as head of the U.S. delegation, I could not be more delighted with the outcome of the negotiations and our collective resolve. The prospects for the future of our planet are bright. 

Blog: A Historic Day in Our Fight Against Climate Change

By EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

Protecting the air we breathe and slowing the effects of climate change are a core part of EPA’s mission. And today, I am proud to say that we, alongside nearly every country on Earth, have taken another historic step in carrying out that mission by cutting down on the use of damaging hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs.

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Financing the Climate-Change Transition

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Financing the Climate-Change Transition

"Over the next 15 years, an estimated $93 trillion will be needed for investments in low-carbon infrastructure."

POTSDAM, PARIS, ZURICH – Unless the world reduces greenhouse-gas emissions rapidly, humanity is likely to enter an era of unprecedented climate risks. Devastating extreme-weather events are already increasing in frequency, but much of the worst climate-related damage, such as a sustained rise in sea levels, will be recognized only once it is too late to act.

Clearly, the climate system’s time horizon does not align well with the world’s much shorter political and economic cycles. Listed companies report on a quarterly basis, and recent regulatory changes, such as those mandating increased use of mark-to-market accounting, limit long-term thinking.

Donald Trump looks at Barack Obama

What Will Trump Do?

The populist surge challenging political establishments worldwide has now claimed the biggest prize of all. Project Syndicate commentators weigh the costs for America and the world.

Governments usually have legislative cycles of no more than four years, and they must also respond to immediate developments. Yet stabilizing the climate requires sustained and consistent action over an extended period.

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Kyoto Protocol

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Kyoto Protocol

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kyoto Protocol
Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
{{{image_alt}}}
Annex B parties with binding targets in the second period
Annex B parties with binding targets in the first period but not the second
non-Annex B parties without binding targets
Annex B parties with binding targets in the first period but which withdrew from the Protocol
Signatories to the Protocol that have not ratified
Other UN member states and observers that are not party to the Protocol
Signed 11 December 1997[1]
Location Kyoto, Japan
Effective 16 February 2005[1]
Condition Ratification by at least 55 States to the Convention
Expiration in force
(first commitment period expired 31 December 2012)[2]
Signatories 84[1]
Parties 192[3][4] EU, Cook Islands, Niue and all UN member states, except Andorra, Canada, South Sudan and US
Depositary Secretary-General of the United Nations
Languages Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish

Kyoto Protocol Extension (2012–20)
Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol
{{{image_alt}}}
Acceptance of the Doha Amendment
States that ratified
Kyoto protocol parties that did not ratify
Non-parties to the Kyoto Protocol
Drafted 8 December 2012
Location Doha, Qatar
Effective not in effect
Condition ratification by 144 (3/4 of 192 Parties) required
Ratifiers 73[5]
Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol at Wikisource
Refer to caption
Kyoto Parties with first period (2008–12) greenhouse gas emissions limitations targets, and the percentage change in their carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion between 1990 and 2009. For more detailed country/region information, see Kyoto Protocol and government action.
Refer to caption
Overview map of states committed to greenhouse gas (GHG) limitations in the first Kyoto Protocol period (2008–12):[6]
Annex I Parties who have agreed to reduce their GHG emissions below their individual base year levels (see definition in this article)
Annex I Parties who have agreed to cap their GHG emissions at their base year levels
Non-Annex I Parties who are not obligated by caps or Annex I Parties with an emissions cap that allows their emissions to expand above their base year levels or countries that have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol

For specific emission reduction commitments of Annex I Parties, see the section of the article on 2012 emission targets and "flexible mechanisms".

The European Union as a whole has in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol committed itself to an 8% reduction. However, many member states (such as Greece, Spain, Ireland and Sweden) have not committed themselves to any reduction while France has committed itself not to expand its emissions (0% reduction).[7]

The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty which extends the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that commits State Parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, based on the premise that (a) global warming exists and (b) human-made CO2 emissions have caused it. The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005. There are currently 192 parties (Canada withdrew effective December 2012)[4] to the Protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol implemented the objective of the UNFCCC to fight global warming by reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to "a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system" (Art. 2). The Protocol is based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities: it puts the obligation to reduce current emissions on developed countries on the basis that they are historically responsible for the current levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The Protocol’s first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012. A second commitment period was agreed on in 2012, known as the Doha Amendment to the protocol, in which 37 countries have binding targets: Australia, the European Union (and its 28 member states), Belarus, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and Ukraine. Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine have stated that they may withdraw from the Protocol or not put into legal force the Amendment with second round targets.[8] Japan, New Zealand and Russia have participated in Kyoto's first-round but have not taken on new targets in the second commitment period. Other developed countries without second-round targets are Canada (which withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol in 2012) and the United States (which has not ratified the Protocol). As of July 2016, 66[9] states have accepted the Doha Amendment, while entry into force requires the acceptances of 144 states. Of the 37 countries with binding commitments, 7 have ratified.

Negotiations were held in the framework of the yearly UNFCCC Climate Change Conferences on measures to be taken after the second commitment period ends in 2020. This resulted in the 2015 adoption of the Paris Agreement, which is a separate instrument under the UNFCCC rather than an amendment of the Kyoto protocol.

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Paris Agreement

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Paris Agreement

Policy

At the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal.

United Nations flag © Comstock

The agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C.

Key elements

The Paris Agreement is a bridge between today's policies and climate-neutrality before the end of the century.

Mitigation: reducing emissions

Governments agreed

  • a long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels;
  • to aim to limit the increase to 1.5°C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change;
  • on the need for global emissions to peak as soon as possible, recognising that this will take longer for developing countries;
  • to undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with the best available science.

Before and during the Paris conference, countries submitted comprehensive national climate action plans (INDCs). These are not yet enough to keep global warming below 2°C, but the agreement traces the way to achieving this target.

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