In response to China and the US formally joining the landmark Paris Agreement, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statement from Lou Leonard, senior vice president, climate & energy
"There is no substitute for leadership by the United States and China to propel progress on global climate action. By so quickly joining the Paris Agreement, President Obama and President Xi Jinping are signaling to other countries that the Paris Agreement can come into force this year. Even six months ago, this seemed an impossible idea. On the heels of designating the world’s largest marine protected area, President Obama is quite clearly running through the finish line of his presidency and solidifying his conservation and climate legacy along the way.
"That said, for world leaders, including President Obama, there are more critical items on their to-do list for 2016. Despite having only a few months left at the helm, the Obama Administration can and should take three key steps to ensure the Paris Agreement is more than a paper tiger:
"First, the Obama Administration should keep fossil fuels under the Arctic Ocean by removing the Beaufort and Chukchi seas from the Department of the Interior’s offshore drilling plan. Risky drilling for dirty oil in one of the most pristine areas of the Arctic would be a blot on any climate legacy.
“Second, the Obama Administration should catalyze a coalition of countries under the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization to close a gaping loophole in the Paris Agreement by regulating emissions from the aviation industry - the world's fastest growing source of carbon pollution.
"Finally, as 2016 sizzles toward breaking new records, the Obama Administration should chart a course for long-term decarbonization that ensures the US does its fair share to meet the Paris Agreement’s global temperature goals. To do so, the President should deliver a mid-century road map showing the pathway for the United States to achieve net-zero carbon emissions before 2050.
“With these steps, the President can leave office having set the table for the next era of global climate cooperation while signaling strong US leadership for years to come.”