BlueGreen Alliance Urges Strong U.S. Leadership and Focus on Workers, Communities at COP19

The BlueGreen Alliance called on the U.S. to stake out a clear leadership role at the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP19) at the United Nations Convention Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that brings us closer to a strong global agreement by 2015.

November 19, 2013

Warsaw Briefing Features Labor, Business and Environmental Leaders To Discuss U.S. Climate Action Plan

WARSAW, POLAND – The BlueGreen Alliance today called on the United States to stake out a clear leadership role at the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP19) at the United Nations Convention Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that brings us closer to a strong global agreement by 2015. Leaders from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy joined the BlueGreen Alliance for a media briefing to discuss President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan.

In its COP 19 statement, the BlueGreen Alliance stressed the need for action that recognizes the severity of the human causes of climate change; averts the compounding damage to our health, the economy and the environment; and recognizes the importance of working people in this transition.

“This year’s conference is a launching point that will bring us closer to the best possible global agreement for 2015 and beyond,” said David Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “Everyone has a role to play to prevent worse effects of climate change and make the transition to a cleaner economy. Now is the time for each country to pursue serious mitigation policies that will make this vision achievable.”

Lisa Jacobson, President of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, joined BlueGreen Alliance leaders to discuss the importance of moving forward on astrong global agreement. “The development and deployment of clean energy technologies is critical to quickly reducing greenhouse gas emissions whilealso ensuring strong economic growth and job creation,” said Jacobson.

The BlueGreen Alliance statement urged all countries to take action, setting the framework for a global agreement in 2015 with the aim of creating a safe and equitable world. The BlueGreen Alliance also urged the U.S. to build on theprogress of the president’s Climate Action Plan to fully stake out its role as a global climate leader.

“Typhoon Haiyan is just the latest example of the growing vulnerability of people all over the world to the reality of human-induced climate change. Fortunately, we have the clean technologies needed for every country to make the rapid transition to low-carbon economies that’s needed to avoid the worst threats of global warming. What’s in short supply is political will. The time is now for each country to be deliberate and aggressive in working towards much more ambitious national emissions reduction commitments,” said Alden Meyer, Director of Strategy & Policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, who joined the BlueGreen Alliance for the media briefing.

Specifically, the statement identified the need to bridge the sizeable gap between the global emissions projected in 2020 and the existing pledges of emissions reductions made by nations in 2009. In order to have a likely chance of staying under the 2 degrees Celsius global temperature threshold, nations must continue to work towards achieving those commitments and leverage those efforts as a framework for continued and significant reductions beyond 2020.

“It’s important that the U.S. and other countries act now to reduce emissions, while laying the groundwork for deeper international action in 2015. Many countries are seeing the benefits of acting now, from reduced air pollution to more jobs,” said Jake Schmidt, International Policy Climate Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, who alsotook part in the briefing. “The responsibility of setting that example falls largely on our shoulders.”

“The strong commitments must also provide flexibility for nations that have made progress in transitioning to a cleaner economy,” said Foster. “Transforming and developing clean industries must be done with a complementary strategy to empower workers to access the jobs created in those industries and support workers along the way. Sustainable investments, decent work promotion, social protection, skills development and more must all be part of a final agreement,” added Foster.