“We Want True Climate Leadership”: Hundreds of Minnesotans Demand the Biden Administration Do Its Fair Share
Dubai, UAE – World leaders are wrapping up the 28th Conference of the Peoples to collectively plan how to address the global climate crisis. It’s looking historic, as it should. The parties have agreed what we all have known. Our world is going to need to phase out fossil fuels. Scientists agree: a cap of 1.5 degrees C average temperature increase globally is what we need to stay alive, and for the first time in 30 years negotiators were specific. It will take eliminating the use of fossil fuels by mid century. Thank goodness for truth telling.
Last week Thursday, on December 7th, we reached 59 degrees, which is unbelievable for those of us who know winter on the Great Plains. Minnesotans are still jogging outside and raking their leaves well into December. Meanwhile people around the world are losing their homes due to climate disruption. Greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere persist for hundreds of years, meaning the carbon produced from your families’ gas tanks in the 1970’s is still creating the problems we see today. This graph shows the relative contribution of historical carbon from different regions of the world. The US is the clear winner, producing nearly a quarter of the total carbon currently in the atmosphere. It’s time to clean up our mess.
So how will this phase-out happen? The UNFCCC estimates we need to lower global emissions 43% by 2030. How will we take care of each other in the decades to come. Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light’s Global Campaigns Organizer, Analyah Schlaeger Dos Santos, was on the ground in Dubai to send a message to the US negotiators. She delivered a letter with over 600 Minnesotans asking the US to step up and DO OUR FAIR SHARE to help solve this global crisis. Part of our ask was met: negotiators have begun the process of planning for a phase-out of fossil fuels. But we still desperately need to figure out how to do our fair share, and we need the US to show leadership, not block progress.
Last year the Loss and Damage fund, championed in 2022 by Representative Ilhan Omar and faith actors throughout Minnesota, was formally launched. We are celebrating the commitment of this fund to global repair while at the same time shaking our heads. Just to meet the needs of developing countries we will need a Loss and Damage fund between 280 to 450 billion USD per year, and yet last week the US pledged an embarrassing $17.5 Million — what some might call a rounding error.
By recognizing, and funding its fair share, the United States would be acknowledging the historical emissions that it has produced over years, and taking action in line with how those emissions have influenced the changing climate. We are grateful that there is commitment to a total phase out of fossil fuels but to get there “it means supporting countries abroad financially and technically to bring down their emissions enough to address the historical imbalance,” says Susannah Tuttle, a coordinator of the US Fair Shares Collaborative.
Minnesotans are asking the US to step up to do its fair share. Read their letter here.