April 21, 2016

What’s Next Following the Historic Signing of Paris Agreement?

Statements by Alden Meyer and Ken Kimmell, Union of Concerned Scientists

WASHINGTON (April 21, 2016)—Tomorrow, over 150 countries are expected to sign the Paris Agreement at the United Nations building in New York City. The number of countries participating makes this event one for the history books and also sends a strong signal to carbon polluter that the age of fossil fuels is coming to an end.

Below is a statement by Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), and a leading expert on the UN’s international climate negotiations.

“The unprecedented number of countries signing the Paris Agreement confirms there’s strong global will to act urgently to limit the dire impacts of climate change, by shifting away from fossil fuels toward clean renewable energy and efficiency technologies.

“However, the signing ceremony is just the beginning. Countries—especially top emitters like the U.S. and China—must move aggressively to implement and strengthen their domestic action commitments, if we’re to meet the Paris Agreement’s ambitious temperature limitation goals. We also need to see collective action by leaders at the upcoming G-7 and G-20 summit meetings, to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, shift investments away from high-carbon infrastructure like coal, and do more to help vulnerable communities deal with the mounting impacts of climate change.”

Below is a statement by Ken Kimmell, president of UCS. Kimmell is the former commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative board chair.

“The Paris agreement is the capstone of years and years of hard work. The U.S. showed great leadership by making an ambitious pledge in Paris, the backbone of which is the Clean Power Plan and fuel economy standards for cars and trucks. These policies are widely supported by the public and can save consumers money. But they won’t get us all the reductions we pledged to make. It’s now up to President Obama and his successor, Congress, state and local governments, and the private sector to roll up their sleeves to adopt additional policies that will make our Paris pledge a reality.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.