Sen. Bernie Sanders, Democratic candidate for president of the United States in 2016, reacted to news of an agreement at the United Nations global climate talks in Paris with criticism, saying that the measures don’t go “nowhere near far enough.”
The historic agreement sets a goal of keeping the global average temperature from increasing more than 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels, with an eye toward a more ambitious aim of holding to less than 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. The efforts all aim to reduce the risks climate change pose to the future of the planet.
“While this is a step forward it goes nowhere near far enough. The planet is in crisis. We need bold action in the very near future and this does not provide that,” said Sanders.
This year will likely be the hottest year ever recorded. According to the World Meteorological Association, 2015 is expected to break the global average temperature record set last year, and predictions for 2016 show additional increases. Sanders points to these recent temperature records as a sign that global response should be urgent and drastic.
The resolution struck in Paris comes after two weeks of intense negotiations in which small island nations fought for their continued existence against rising sea levels, and developing nations stressed concerns that emissions restrictions would hinder their economic growth.
Sanders’ competition, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, presented her climate change proposals this summer, with an emphasis on shifting American electricity production to renewable sources, including adding half a billion solar panels to the grid.
Like Clinton, Sanders has called for American global leadership on climate change, putting a focus not just on emissions reductions but on American leadership in scientific innovation, as well as an awareness of how climate change affects international conflict.
Sanders’ focus on how climate change has exacerbated international tensions and contributed to the rise of terrorism has drawn criticism from the political right in America, with many insisting that attention should instead be squarely focused on terrorism from Islamic extremists.