Is the COP21 Racist? U.S. Civil Society Speaks Out

Columbia and Barnard students demand that the administration divest from fossil fuel companies during a university event. | Photo: Facebook / Columbia Divest for Climate Justice

In order to properly combat climate change, marginal voices must be heard and policies must reflect the demands of those communities.

States will sign the Paris Agreement in New York City Friday — which just so happens to be Earth Day — but not all New Yorkers are happy about it.

The voluntary, non-binding agreement sets the goal of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius, but many scientists have criticized this as not being low enough. Civil society is not too impressed, either.

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“We got what was politically possible at the time, but what we need to achieve climate justice is more than what we’ve got,” said Cecil Corbin-Mark, deputy director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice, to teleSUR.

With Manhattan expected to become partly submerged by rising sea-levels, the most vulnerable communities are those already marginalized, and Corbin-Mark’s group helps organize Harlem communities to demand fairer policies for people of color and low income communities.

In December, WE ACT sent a number of representatives to Paris for the COP21 conference, but according to Corbin-Mark their voices were ignored and the group returned to the U.S. disillusioned. Corporate and state interests come first in these kinds of conferences, he said.

In order to properly combat climate change, policy makers must ensure that marginal voices are not only heard but policies “more accurately reflect those communities.”

This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address:

(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

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