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New Englanders Encouraged By Draft Climate Pact

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Foreign ministers in Paris have a tough week ahead as they tackle the first draft of a global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But local...

Foreign ministers in Paris have a tough week ahead as they tackle the first draft of a global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But local observers are still encouraged by positive signs in the climate negotiations.

The first draft of the pact includes the option to limit global warming temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celcius – enough to prevent low-lying countries from disappearing.

From Paris, Conservation Law Foundation President Bradley Campbell said that would also benefit New England.

“We think that offers the promise of averting the most catastrophic effects that we anticipate from climate change,” said Campbell. “The commitments we are seeing come out of Paris will help avoid for New England and many other coastal communities this triple whammy of extreme storm events, sea level rise, and of course ocean acidification.”

Campbell said all of those impacts threaten people’s lives and the economy. He said he is pleased Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse traveled to Paris to push for a strong climate agreement.

But that push doesn’t have to come only from the federal delegation. Brown University Professor J. Timmons Roberts thinks it’s valuable for legislators to hear from constituents who see the important role the U.S. government plays in reaching “an ambitious and equitable solution” in Paris.

“We really need it,” said Roberts. “This is a critical moment for climate change decision-making.”

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Ocean acidification and declining lobster populations are among the effects Rhode Island is experiencing due to climate change.
Ocean acidification and declining lobster populations are among the effects Rhode Island is experiencing due to climate change.