Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders slammed the global climate change accord signed Saturday between nearly 200 countries in Paris, saying the measures go "nowhere near far enough" to ensure the country will remain habitable.
The historical pact commits the countries to cutting carbon emissions and aims to prevent global average temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with a more ambitious plan of keeping the rise under 1.5 degrees Celsius. Wealthy countries also agreed to donate $100 billion a year to help poorer countries transform their economies, according to The Guardian.
"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," Sanders said in a statement.
"In the United States we have a Republican Party which is much more interested in contributions from the fossil fuel industry than they care about the future of the planet. That is true all over the globe," he said.
Some aspects of the deal will be legally binding, but emissions targets set by countries will not be binding, as many had hoped, BBC News reported.
Sanders has pledged to stop all new oil, natural gas and coal development on public lands and offshore, according to The Hill. The Vermont independent introduced legislation this week to tax carbon emissions and cut total emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. It would also fund investments in sustainable energy technologies and return billions of dollars to working families, according to Common Dreams.
"We've got to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and fight for national and international legislation that transforms our energy system away from fossil fuel as quickly as possible," Sanders said in his statement on Saturday.
Nick Dearden, director of campaign group Global Justice Now, said that it is "outrageous that the deal that's on the table is being spun as a success when it undermines the rights of the world's most vulnerable communities and has almost nothing binding to ensure a safe and liveable climate for future generations."
Former NASA scientist James Hansen, considered to be the father of climate change awareness, has called the talks a "fraud."
"It's a fraud really, a fake," he said. "It's just bullshit for them to say: 'We'll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.' It's just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned."