At COP24, state and local officials call for phase-out of fossil fuels

By James Melton, Yonside 

A coalition of more than 300 state and local officials from 40 states released a letter Friday calling for a plan to phase out fossil fuels and ramp up renewable energy as part of a “green new deal” approach to energy.

In its letter—drafted by state and local officials in September released at the COP24 Climate Talks in Katowice, Poland—Elected Officials to Protect America urges U.S.jurisdictions commit to three broad goals:

  • Production of “100% clean, renewable energy, starting investments in “disadvantaged communities and places most affected by pollution and currently dependent on fossil fuel jobs.”
  • A moratorium on permits for oil, gas, and coal projects and infrastructure, as part of a“managed decline of fossil fuel production.”
  • An end to public subsidies for fossil fuels, divestment from fossil fuel companies, and public investments intended to “accelerate the transition to 100% clean energy and help pay for the harm fossil fuels cause our states and municipalities.”

The letter cites the increasingly severe local impacts of climate change and harm to public health from the production and burning of fossil fuels, including pollution, water contamination, leaks, explosions, and other dangers.

“As the world gathers in Poland for the climate talks, it’s imperative that we take the action here at home that really leads the nation and the world,” Maryland State Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk said in a statement. “It’s time to end the era of fossil fuel production and build our clean energy future together.”

The goal of the COP24 talks, which involved 196 countries and the European Union, was to reach an agreement on implementing the implementing the Paris Agreement on global climate change, reached in 2015 and formally joined by the United States in late 2016. After two weeks, COP24 wrapped up Saturday with a deal reached in the final hours.

According to the BBC, the COP24 accord will make the Paris Agreement operational in 2020. The Paris deal seeks to limit the rise in average world temperatures to”well below” two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above levels seen before the industrial era. 

In June 2017, President Donald Trump announced the United States would cease all participation in the Paris Agreement. However, the United States remains a participant and a U.S. delegation participated in the COP24 talks.

If the United States is to officially leave the Paris accord,the earliest possible withdrawal date is Nov. 4,2020, one day after the 2020 presidential election.

This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) license.