Former president lends support for US climate action, days after Republicans threaten to attack carbon cutting laws
By Ed King
The UN’s most recent warning of the dangers of climate change is a “wake up call” according to former US president Bill Clinton.
In a statement released on Monday, Clinton said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent synthesis study proved humans and nature faced a “profound threat.”
He said: “This report makes clear: our climate is changing in long-lasting ways that threaten ecosystems and growing numbers of people – yet we still have the capacity to avoid the most dire predictions, by reducing emissions and changing the way we consume and produce energy.”
Released on November 2, the IPCC synthesis pulled together three major studies released over the past 12 months.
It warned some climate impacts such as rising sea levels and a melting Arctic are irreversible and to avoid the worst effects, fossil fuel emissions would have to stop by 2100.
Clinton, whose wife and former US secretary of state Hilary Clinton is likely to run for president in 2016, said efforts to address climate change needed to be taken today.
“The good news is those actions, properly implemented, will improve not weaken our economies, creating new jobs and businesses and lowering long-term energy and insurance costs for the rest of us,” he added.
The intervention came days after the Republican Party won a resounding victory over its rival Democrats in US elections, handing climate sceptics new powers in Washington DC.
The leaders of the US Senate and House of Representatives both want President Obama to rescind proposed climate laws such as his plan to curb power plant emissions through his own executive authority.
Other Republicans such as 79-year-old Senator Jim Inhofe, who is in line to chair the influential senate environment committee, wants to cut US funding for international climate initiatives.
Last week four leading Democrat senators – Robert Menendez, Ron Wyden, Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray – wrote to the president urging him to “continue his robust leadership” on climate.
“The US must propose a strong target for emissions reductions after 2020 in order to internationalize our strong efforts to reduce carbon pollution at home,” they wrote.