An Ohio View from Paris: "World is Ready for Climate Action"
Monday, December 28, 2015
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Some Ohoans were on hand this month in Paris as global leaders mapped out a blueprint for the future to reduce the damaging impacts of climate change.
Cathy Becker of Grove City was a member of the Sierra Club delegation at the U.N. Climate Change Conference. After her time spent among other activists, students, business leaders, lawmakers, indigenous groups and faith organizations, she said she now sees that the world is ready for climate action.
"It was just really refreshing," she said. "The debate wasn't whether it's happening or whether we can do something about it - it's what to do about it, and how to do it, and what our ultimate goals are."
She said she believes the accord is truly historic because it involves 195 countries agreeing to make their own steps to lower emissions, and then revisit their contributions every five years. In the past, attempts at global climate accords held just 10 major nations responsible.
The accord seeks to limit rising temperatures to within 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Becker said leaders also listened to a call from some small island countries threatened by rising sea levels to include a possible limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius, which she called "a really high bar.
"We will have to convert lots of fossil fuels very quickly to meet 1.5, but that is the de facto target at this point," she said., "That was a surprise there was just so much momentum going into this that countries, basically a lot of them, agreed to this."
Another notable moment, Becker said, was a pledge by 1,000 mayors to go 100 percent renewable by 2050.
"The UN said about 75 percent of carbon emissions are on the local level, so cities can make a huge, huge difference," she said. "So I would encourage any local leaders in Ohio to take a look at that and take a look at their cities and see what they can do."
Becker said climate discussions did not just focus on the transition away from the use of fossil fuels, but also the need to address justice and democracy in climate action by helping those in the developing world access clean energy.
get more stories like this via email
The Iowa League of Women Voters plans to ask the Iowa Legislature to rethink the voting restrictions put in place prior to last month's midterm electi…
Agriculture groups and government agencies aren't slowing down in trying to convince farmers to use more sustainable practices such as cover crops…
Winter is here, leaving many older South Dakotans vulnerable to social isolation. But a growing body of research, as well as opportunities, shows …
By Jala Forest / Broadcast version by Nadia Ramlagan Reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration Nearly 40% of college students a…
The Biden administration has proposed a rule to limit methane flaring from oil and gas development on public lands. The rule would impose royalty …
The flu, COVID and RSV are rapidly spreading in Kentucky, and health experts say that's a problem for hospitals, schools and the state's vulnerable …
As its 125th anniversary nears, the Connecticut Audubon Society has released a report detailing the effectiveness of conservation efforts in the …
2022 was a banner year for women elected as governor. Nearly one-third of America's governors will be women next year, which is a record. Iowa …