Speaking on Wednesday at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), better known as COP24, the United States doubled down on its allegiance to the fossil fuel industry and a business-as-usual case, while further espousing a view about its emissions levels that is beginning to bear less and less relation with the truth.
As COP24 wound down and the negotiating text began to be analysed, attention again focused on the role of the United States at the event, and in the global scheme of climate action, after Judith Garber, head of the US delegation at the conference gave a speech on Wednesday which served to confirm the United States’ willingness to double down on its fossil fuel propaganda campaign.
Judith Garber — who is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs — delivered the United States’ National Statement to representatives at COP24 on Wednesday in which she left little doubt as to the path the US was planning to take. Garber started out by declaring the United States “energy-related CO2 emissions have fallen by 14% since 2005” — which, while true through 2017, as we saw on Thursday thanks to the United States Energy Information Administration, will no longer be the case after 2018 as energy-related emissions are expected to increase by 3% in 2018.
She then went on to reiterate President Donald Trump’s intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement “absent the identification of terms that are more favorable to the American people” which, again, bears very little resemblance to the truth when you consider that the terms set for the United States as part of the Paris Agreement were in fact set by the United States, and not imposed on them by others. Garber then went on to highlight how “the United States will continue to be a leader in clean energy, innovation, and emissions reduction.”
“The global climate conversation needs to embrace not only aspiration but today’s reality,” said Garber. “The US approach incorporates the realities of the global energy mix and uses all energy sources and technologies as cleanly and efficiently as possible, including fossils fuels, nuclear energy, and renewable energy.”
Garber highlighted the United States’ CO2-reduction industry through CCUS technology and innovation, its nuclear industry, all the while using phrases which attempt to paint the United States as better than “any other country in the world” instead of acknowledging the role it must play as one of the largest nations on the planet, not necessarily one of the countries making strides equivalent to its size.
“Once again, the Trump administration is pandering to corporate polluters at the expense of those suffering the worst impacts of climate change,” said May Boeve, Executive Director of global grassroots climate movement 350.org. “From boasting about fossil fuel production to refusing endorsement of the staggering UN IPCC report on the climate crisis, the official US response to COP 24 has been deeply disturbing. Despite this administration’s actions, communities across America are building support from the ground up for transformative climate action.
“These past weeks, momentum has soared for a Green New Deal, bringing climate change to the forefront in headlines and the halls of power. Trump and his allies can dig in their heels, but the movement for a just transition off of fossil fuels to a 100% renewable energy economy won’t be stopped.”