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Today, many in the US will shift their focus to climate change and the myriad ways people can work to stop it. Frontline communities will continue organizing trans-locally to fight the bad and build the new in their own neighborhoods, cities and states. Environmental justice communities are paving the way for a Just Transition away from extractive energy models that have created this crisis to renewable and regenerative ones that leave no one behind – from community owned solar energy systems that create safe, good paying jobs to just recovery efforts that ensure those most impacted by the crisis are built back in sustainable and safe ways based on their needs.
Right now, President Biden is convening a virtual Leaders Summit on Climate with 40 world leaders in preparation for the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, commonly referred to as the COP, set to take place in Glasgow, Scotland this fall.
One key objective of the summit and COP26 for the Biden Administration is “to catalyze efforts that keep that 1.5-degree goal within reach. The Summit will also highlight examples of how enhanced climate ambition will create good paying jobs, advance innovative technologies, and help vulnerable countries adapt to climate impacts.” While we appreciate Biden’s ability to participate in international bodies again, this approach is not the US leadership our communities need nor does it ensure just solutions to the climate emergency.
Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) welcomes US commitments to pay their fair share and invest in a Green Climate Fund. However, the focus on promoting market-based approaches and unproven techno-fixes will only further harm Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities here and in the Global South. Passing the burden of emissions reductions through unproven technologies including carbon capture and storage (CCS), REDD and REDD+, carbon markets, gas, nuclear and biomass to the Global South is nothing more than cruel, disingenuous and doomed to fail.
CJA encourages all hands on deck to battle this climate emergency world-wide, but we can’t continue to follow, empower, and rely on those who created the crisis to solve it. These false schemes should not be on the menu or funded through US investments. This will only serve to save the dying fossil fuel and gas industries fattening their wallets while continuing to lay the burden to solve the crisis on frontline communities. As we stated earlier this year, we will continue to push back against Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which supports carbon pricing systems and offsets. We will continue to expose the perils of geoengineering, which are nothing more than risky, unproven technologies that mess with our ecosystems, will not reduce emissions at source, and will put frontline communities around the world in danger.
We call on the U.S. to immediately:
- Commit to reducing emissions at source to limit global warming to at least 1.5 degree Celsius;
- Stop all new fossil fuel projects and stop extracting from Mother Earth;
- Pay reparations to the Global South through investments including renewable energy and sustainable mitigation measures and infrastructure, among others; and
- Address environmental racism by ending your support for false solutions that harm BIPOC communities and the Global South, which only continue the practice of using our communities as sacrifice zones.