Paris was the spotlight of the 21st meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP21) in December where 196 nations including China and the United States came together to address the global climate crisis. Environmental Concerns’ firsthand reports came from COP21 attendees Tom Kelly, Executive Director and Founder of Kyoto USA non-profit that encourages local governments, school districts and communities to reduce GHGs; and Claire Greensfelder, from the women’s Global Call for Climate Justice, a coalition of more than 24 international environmental, women’s and human rights networks from across the world.
“We have a climate agreement in place, it’s not perfect… but it’s a major step forward,”Greensfelder said. “It’s only going to be as good as we make it.”
Greensfelder said we’ve reduced from 24 tons CO2 per person per year to about 17 tons; Kelly pressed getting to Zero. The point, they agreed, is commitment to efficiency, conservation and renewables and being mindful of consumerism – “We don’t need three cars and houses – in Europe they live smaller and buy less,” she said. “We’re going to inch our way there,” Kelly said. “[Congress’] extension of the investment tax credit — making solar on homes more affordable – is a big step.”
Greensfelder concluded, “We have to look at our way of life… Look at a smaller scale local level, so much can be done at the local level. We can do it. We have a lot of good work to do. There’s no time to waste.”
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