Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, November 30, 2015

Contact:   Kassie Siegel (in Paris), (951) 961-7972,
Patrick Sullivan (in U.S.), (415) 517-9364,  

Paris Actions to Push President Obama for Stronger Climate Action

Aviation, Fracking Panels to Highlight Need for America to Make Bigger Pollution Cuts,
Leave Fossil Fuels in Ground

PARIS— As the global climate negotiations begin in Paris, activists and experts with the Center for Biological Diversity are taking action on the ground and inside the conference to push President Barack Obama and other world leaders to back a just, ambitious and binding treaty to fight global warming.

In addition to street protests outside the United Nations climate talks, the Center will participate in panels at the U.N. Conference of the Parties 21 aimed at highlighting the need for developed countries to make more ambitious pollution cuts and leave most fossil fuels in the ground. Pollution-cutting pledges made by the United States and other countries so far are insufficient to limit warming even to below 2 degrees Celsius and will still result in a 2.7-3.5° Celsius global temperature increase. 

“President Obama and other leaders must make bigger, bolder moves in Paris and beyond to keep our planet from plunging off the climate cliff,” said Kassie Siegel, director of the Center’s Climate Law Institute. “America and other rich nations have to make more ambitious cuts to the pollution pouring out of our smokestacks and tailpipes. We’ve also got to stop America’s frenzy of fracking, drilling and mining and leave most fossil fuels in the ground, where they can’t damage our climate.”

Siegel will join other experts for two key panel discussions in Paris. On Thursday, Dec. 3, she’ll participate in International Aviation Emissions: The Flightpath to 2 Degrees, which runs from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the European Union Pavilion, Hall 2B, in the blue zone of Le Bourget; Room: Brussels. This panel will also feature Alice Bows-Larkin, a leading aviation emissions scientist; and Athar Hussain Khan of the Association of European Airlines. A COP21 badge is required.

If commercial aviation were considered a country, it would rank seventh after Germany in terms of carbon emissions — and aircraft pollution is projected to triple by mid-century.

On Wednesday, Dec. 9, Siegel will moderate Keeping Fossil Fuels in the Ground: The International Movement to Ban Fracking, a panel discussion featuring Bill McKibben,, cofounder and senior advisor; Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., EcoWatch; Joaquin Turco, climate change negotiator, Argentine Workers' Central Union - Autonomous (CTA-A); Kathleen Van Brempt, member of the European Parliament from Belgium; Liesbeth van Tongeren, vice-president of the Green Left (GroenLinks) group in the House of Representatives of the Dutch Parliament; and Wenonah Hauter, executive director, Food and Water Watch.

This fossil fuel panel takes place twice: from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the COP21 Conference Center, Observer Room 01; and from1:15 to 2:45 p.m. in the Climate Generations Area, Salle 5. A COP 21 badge required for 11:30 a.m. panel.

In a recent report, The Potential Greenhouse Gas Emissions of U.S. Federal Fossil Fuels, EcoShift Consulting, on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth, found that ending new federal fossil fuel leasing on public lands could keep up to 450 billion tons of carbon pollution from the global pool of potential future greenhouse gas emissions. 

“From cutting airplane pollution to halting fracking, President Obama can and should take much stronger steps to fight global warming,” Siegel said. “Halting the Keystone XL pipeline just isn’t enough in the face of this mounting crisis. The president has to move faster to ward off climate change’s terrifying threats to Earth’s poorest people and our planet’s web of life.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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