UN Plans Shift to Green Energy
Compiled by Alex Cosper
Sunday, December 13, 2015

After two decades of talks on climate change, the United Nations moved toward ending the fossil fuel era with a commitment among nearly 200 nations to plan for renewable energy. The historic decision on December 12, 2015 from Paris, France was greeted with both enthusiasm and skepticism from the environmental community and beyond. Two major issues that dominated the talks focused on how nations should aim to cap rising temperatures and the amount of funding that wealthy nations should give to developing nations to cut greenhouse gases.

President Obama told the press from the White House that the agreement was the "best chance to save the planet." The environment has been one of the president's top priorities throughout his administration, which he has demonstrated with funding for solar power and resistence to the Keystone Pipeline.

Secretary of State John Kerry was quoted by Reuters saying "it's a victory for all of the planet and future generations." Former Vice President Al Gore agreed with Obama that the deal was not perfect but was quoted by The Guardian saying that "society will now begin to reduce dangerous carbon pollution through the framework of this agreement."

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders called it a good first step to fight climate change but that the deal "goes nowhere near far enough," according to a story on the MSNBC website. He pointed out that targets for emissions reduction are not internationally binding. CNN reported that Hillary Clinton applauded both Obama and Kerry for their negotiation efforts at the Paris conference.

On the more skeptical side, former NASA scientist James Hansen, known as a pioneer in climate change awareness, was quoted in The Guardian saying the deal was a "fraud" and just "worthless words." Hansen believes that the only way to force a reduction in emissions quick enough to avoid climate change disaster is to tax gas emissions across the board.

A political chart posted by James West of Mother Jones on October 30, 2015 revealed how each presidential candidate would deal with climate change. It listed Clinton, Sanders and O'Malley as candidates who have a plan. All of the republican candidates except Carson, who wants clean energy, fell into either the "do nothing deniers" or "real but who cares?" categories. Trump, Rubio, Cruz, Paul, Huckabee and Santorum were categorized as "do nothing deniers" who believe humans are not to blame. Bush, Christie and Fiorina have called climate change real but were listed as "dog-whistlers."

Despite what opponents of green energy are saying, the New York Times announced on November 5, 2015 that the New York attorney general had begun an investigation into the Exxon Mobil's public statements about climate change. Documents have surfaced that the company funded industry PR organizations to spread false information in the media that climate change is a hoax. While 2014 was the warmest year on record, there are indications that 2015 will be even warmer.

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