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Arizonans Working Toward Goals Outlined in Paris Climate Accords


Monday, December 14, 2020   

PHOENIX -- A coalition of Arizona conservation groups, local governments and environmental justice advocates are using the 5th anniversary of the Paris Climate Accords to call for local action on climate change.

The international agreement, signed by 196 nations, set an ambitious agenda for governments to tackle global warming. Sandy Bahr, director at the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club, chaired a roundtable discussion last week; noting while the Trump administration pulled the United States out of the agreement in 2017, Arizona officials are working at the local level to counter the devastating effects of a changing climate.

"Many state and local leaders have doubled down on reducing carbon pollution and have done so despite the federal retreat on climate action and increasingly challenging scientific outlook on climate change," Bahr said.

During the 2020 campaign, President-elect Joe Biden promised voters that, under his administration, the U.S. will rejoin the climate agreement.

Tempe Mayor Corey Woods said local officials deal with climate change issues every day.

"Over 300 cities, towns and counties stepped into the fray to say if cities are consuming over 78% of the world's energy and produce 60% of GHG emissions, that we are committed to driving the solutions," Mayor Woods said. "While the federal government might have been out, we're still in."

State Sen. Kirsten Engel, D-Tucson, said Arizona's dry climate makes it vulnerable to global warming.

"We're a desert state, and seeing these drought conditions, especially that are affecting our future water supplies," Engel said. "So, again, another motivation for why we need to act."

Sonja Klinsky is a sustainability scientist at Arizona State who participated in drafting the 2015 Accords. She said the agreement requires the signatories to meet every five years to evaluate its progress.

"And it's an invitation for every grassroots group, every city, every state, every country to coalesce every five years and put immense pressure on the system," Klinsky said; "wherever they can figure out the right leverage points to rock the boat as much as they possibly can."

Disclosure: The Partnership Project contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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