EDF joined 15 other major non-governmental organizations in urging U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to not block progress on a global climate deal going on now in the UN climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa.
In a letter sent to Secretary Clinton, the groups highlighted a 2008 speech from then President-elect Obama during which he said combating climate change was one of the most urgent issues facing America and the world, and pledged:
Once I take office, you can be sure that the United States will once again engage vigorously in these negotiations, and help lead the world toward a new era of global cooperation on climate change.
But now, three years later in Durban, the groups say America:
risks being viewed not as a global leader on climate change, but as a major obstacle to progress.
The letter urged Secretary Clinton to direct U.S. negotiators to show more flexibility on the U.S. position for two major issues in the negotiations, which threatens to impede critically needed global cooperation:
- The mandate to launch negotiations for a comprehensive binding climate regime
- Climate finance
Jennifer Haverkamp, EDF’s international climate program director, said:
Domestically, despite the cacophony coming from Congress, the U.S. is making major strides using existing legal authorities to reduce air pollution from power plants, mobile sources, and factories in ways that will also significantly reduce U.S. carbon emissions over the next several years.
However, that doesn’t make up for the fact that the U.S. is going out of its way to stymie progress in Durban toward a binding new agreement. In the remaining week and a half in Durban, the U.S. needs to clear the way for countries to move forward on preventing the catastrophic effect of global warming.
The groups again signaled in the letter their unhappiness with the U.S. opposition to the European Union’s pioneering anti-pollution law for aviation, calling for the U.S. to end its opposition to include aviation emissions within the European Union Emissions Trading System.
Signers of the letter, which was sent to Secretary Clinton yesterday and released publicly today, include: Center for International Environmental Law, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Environmental Defense Fund, Greenpeace USA, National Tribal Environmental Council, Native American Rights Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oxfam America, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Population Action International, Population Connection, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, The Wilderness Society, and World Wildlife Fund.