Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, November 18, 2016


Clare Lakewood, +212 653 700 299, (in Morocco)
Patrick Sullivan, (415) 517-9364, (U.S.)

Conclusion of Morocco Climate Summit Underscores Need for U.S. Action

47 Nations Pledge to Use Only Renewable Fuels by 2050

MARRAKESH, MoroccoA pledge by 47 nations at the Morocco climate conference to use only renewable energy by 2050 underscores the world's powerful determination to move away from fossil fuels, even after Donald Trump's victory in the U.S. presidential race.

“The shock of the U.S. elections has ignited a fiery determination to fight Trump’s regressive rhetoric on climate,” said Clare Lakewood of the Center for Biological Diversity, who attended the Morocco conference. “The world is more determined than ever to fight for climate justice. A broad coalition of people and organizations is rising up and working together to keep dirty fossil fuels in the ground and stop dangerous and unjust projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline.”

The clean-energy pledge, made just before the conference's conclusion by a group of developing countries that are highly vulnerable to the climate crisis, underscores the need for developed nations, including the United States, to take much stronger steps on climate finance and action. But it also highlighted the growing strength of the international climate movement.

The Center spearheaded two panel discussions at the conference in Marrakesh that explored the growing global movement to end fossil fuel extraction and usher in a zero-carbon pollution future. On every continent except Antarctica, communities are organizing to fight the fossil fuel industry and demand that keeping fossil fuels in the ground be a core component of plans to implement the Paris climate agreement.

“The pledge by some of the world’s most vulnerable developing countries to end fossil fuel use should shame the United States into taking strong action on climate,” Lakewood said. “The U.S. has played an outsized role in creating the climate crisis. We have a profound moral responsibility to take much more ambitious steps to protect our planet, and that starts with keeping it in the ground.”

To avoid climate change’s worst dangers, the world must leave most oil, natural gas and coal in the ground. A recent Oil Change International study found that using just the reserves in currently operating gas- and oilfields alone — even without coal — would take the planet dangerously beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming. The report urges governments to stop granting permits for new fossil fuel extraction or transportation infrastructure like pipelines.

In the United States, an analysis by EcoShift on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth found that ending new fossil fuel leasing on public lands and offshore areas controlled by the U.S. government, for example, would keep up to 450 billion tons of greenhouse gases from polluting the atmosphere.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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