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PSR Attends Signing of the Paris Accord

Posted by Catherine Thomasson, MD on April 22, 2016

Catherine Thomasson at the Paris Agreement Signing
Catherine Thomasson at the Paris Agreement Signing

It is an honor to witness the signing of the Paris Agreement, which was attended by representatives from a record number of countries. The pivotal climate treaty emphasizes the right to health is central to actions taken. It will safeguard the environment and conditions on which health depends: clean air, clean water, adequate food and a stable climate.

Many countries are restating their commitments to concrete actions. In the U.S., the success of the Clean Power Plan is essential to achieve the targets we have set. Clean energy is the solution. PSR will advocate for further emissions reductions, especially those from methane. Only by doing so will we achieve the Paris Agreement target well below 2° Celsius.

Countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo illuminated the needs of countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Agriculture is fragile. Water is already scarce.

On this propitious Earth Day, Bolivian President Evo Morales warned of the threats due to climate change. He called for stronger protections for Mother Earth to protect all humans, especially the most vulnerable, and remember: this treaty is just the first step.

Some countries have taken decisive actions. The Vice Minister of China announced targets in a new five-year plan that will exceed its Copenhagen target. Their goal is to peak carbon emissions earlier than the previous goal of 2030. It has suspended construction of new coal plants in 15 provinces. They also plan a carbon trading system.

Clean energy investment reached a record $329 billion. However, we must remember that in the U.S., extreme weather events caused by climate change have cost more than that.

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