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Saturday, December 26, 2009

African American Environmental Justice at COP15

The Copenhagen climate change conference sought to draft a binding follow-up treaty to the Kyoto Protocol. It is generally accepted that such a treaty would be based on cap-and-trade. Although AAEA supports cap-and-trade, virtually all other environmental justice groups oppose cap and trade. Moreover, environmental justice NGO representatives from developing nations believe the industrialized world created the climate crisis and is not doing enough to reduce pollution. They want developed nations to commit to significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions along with the allocation of billions of dollars to poor countries. AAEA agrees with these positions.

During a press conference at COP15, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, a coalition of organizations in 43 African countries, presented a letter for delivery to the Obama administration. The letter implored President Obama to consider the impacts of a 2 degree temperature rise on Africa, describing this target as a death sentence for millions of Africans.

American groups, such as the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative (EJCC), which is hosted by Redefining Progress, joined with African countries in an appeal for a fair, ambitious, and binding agreement. We wonder how they reconcile opposition to cap-and-trade with their support of the industrialized nation emission cuts and the financial support. African nations accused rich countries of reneging on promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions and walked out of the negotiations at one point in the conference.

EJCC worked to include the Principles of Environmental Justice in a final document. EJCC joined over 100,000 people from around the world in a rally and march in support of a legally binding global agreement on emissions cuts. EJCC is a national coalition of over thirty environmental and climate justice, advocacy, faith-based and other social justice organizations. The nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots organization is also committed to informing youth of color about the issue of global warming and climate justice. AAEA is not a member of the EJCC Initiative. (California Newswire, 12/15/09)

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