World Wildlife Fund issued the following statement from Lou Leonard, Vice President, Climate Change in reaction to today’s formal submission of the US’ contribution to a global climate pact expected to be signed in Paris later this year:
“Climate disruption cuts across national borders and our solutions must do the same. We can only face this threat if we act together. Today, the United States joins a growing group of countries proposing national contributions to a global climate pact. Ahead of negotiations in Paris this December, nearly every nation on Earth will be on this list, marking a major turning point on climate cooperation.
“Politically, today’s announcement is a big deal. It signals that US climate policy over the next decade will begin to line up with growing majorities of Republicans, Democrats and Independents, as well as key business leaders, calling for climate action now. By developing this target based on existing authority, the United States is signaling that countries should have confidence it can deliver. To maintain that confidence, a strong final rule this summer to cut carbon pollution from new and existing power plants will be critical.
“In fact the US must do more than just deliver on this pledge; the 28% domestic target can and must be a floor not a ceiling. As the largest contributor to climate impacts already here today, the United States has a responsibility to lead and do its fair share. When compared to what scientists warn us is needed to avoid the worst impacts to our cities, our food systems and water supplies, the US pledge falls short.
“Although a milestone, the unprecedented collection of country pledges ahead of negotiations in Paris aren’t likely to cover the entire bill for the world’s fossil fuel feast over the past century. Rather than pretending that this first round of pledges is enough, we need to accept this gap as our common challenge. Ahead of Paris, all countries should focus on ways to ratchet up additional cooperative action and design a new international regime that collectively closes this science gap as quickly as possible. By turning the page from conflict to cooperation, the Paris agreement can begin a new chapter in the struggle against climate change.
“The US should come to Paris ready to join this new era of climate cooperation by adding to its domestic contribution with an additional concrete commitment to work with other nations, businesses and civil society to take a big bite out of the gap.”