Thursday, November 17, 2022

Bringing the Adirondacks to a Global Audience at COP27 

aaron mair at cop-27

By Aaron Mair 

It is indeed an honor to represent the Adirondack Council and region at the most significant global discussions on climate known as the 27th Conference of the Parties to the 27th Conference of Parties United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – COP27.  Climate change is the most significant threat to humanity and global biodiversity.   

As recent studies indicate, temperatures are rising at unsustainable rates due to humanity’s inability to control carbon and methane emission rates. It isn’t because we lack the capacity, resources, or technology. It now comes down to the 193 nations and states to act. 

The goal of this COP is to act on the key outcomes known as the Glasgow Climate Pact.  The ambitious goals of the Pact “requests” that countries “revisit and strengthen” their climate pledges by the end of this year 2022, called for a “phasedown” of coal, and sets up processes towards delivering a global goal on adaptation, higher levels of climate finance and finance for loss and damage nations and peoples greatly impacted by crises. 

At every COP since Paris, 193 nations (along with sub-national local governments, NGO’s like the Adirondack Council, and private sector) continue to gather annually to report, review and assess their respective nationally determined contributions (NDCs).  NDC’s are at the heart of the Paris Agreement that are believed to be essential to global long-term goal of limiting global temperatures rise no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.   

What happens when nations try to achieve these goals is that the voices and needs of the most impacted and poor, frontline, and indigenous marginalized communities get swept aside by the fossil fuel-driven nations and corporations who have significant investments in dirty energy.  The Adirondack Council is committed to decarbonization.  We support the efforts led by our allies and the recent steps approved under the federal Inflation Reduction Act.  But that is not enough.  We further call for full transparency, climate justice, and funding the science needed to prove what has been damaged and lost — as agreed to under the Paris Agreement – which will cost $100 billion to assist frontline nations.

Through the Paris Agreement framework each nation has to prepare, communicate and maintain successive their progress and contributions towards their respective NDC targets of reduction of CO2 emissions by 45% in 2030 or a 25% reduction by 2030 ( https://unfccc.int/news/cop26-update-to-the-ndc-synthesis-report .)  The United States has returned to the process in 2021 with a series of Presidential Executive Orders like “30 by30” (protecting 30 percent of our nation’s wilderness ecosystems by 2030) or the bold “Justice 40” initiative (https://www.whitehouse.gov/environmentaljustice/justice40/) which requires all Executive Branch agencies to make sure 40 percent of federal funding is directly delivered to underserved communities throughout the US.   

With the passage of the Inflation Reduction Action, our nation is poised to make the biggest investments to fight climate change and provide states with the resources to do it.  Adirondack North Country counties from St. Lawrence to Saratoga are eligible for the potential billions set aside for our nation to meet its global Climate NDC’s.  We have the need and the compelling natural resource of the Adirondacks that can and will be part of the global solution to tackle climate change. 

  aaron mair and al gore

In partnership with our activist network allies, the Adirondack Council’s Forever Adirondacks Campaign has been at the forefront in lifting up our region, presence, and voice since COP 26 in Glasgow.  The Adirondack Council’s presence at COPs has provided our region and state a voice, visibility, collaborative global networks that inform our work and a seat at the global conversation on wilderness and water quality protection.   

The Adirondack Council’s participation in the US Justice40 Coalition enabled us to engage at the Climate Justice pavilion and connect with Climate Reality founder and global leader, Al Gore to lift up the need for investments of federal IRA funds to accelerate significant actions within states.  Collaborating on the science for climate action like air monitoring, source water and wilderness protection allowed me meet with and extend an invitation to Union of Concerned Scientist CEO, Johanna Chao Kreilick and wilderness protection advocate, Pastor Leo Woodberry of the South Carolina Environmental Justice Network.    

Indigenous Environmental Network founder and the Stop Dakota Access Pipeline leader, Tom Goldtooth and Sierra Club Canada leaders are very supportive of our call for natural “carbon sink” solutions that protect biodiversity, source waters and wilderness.  All Indigenous and global Climate Justice environmental NGO’s are lifting our collective voices in calling on the COP parties not to “mitigate” the impacts of continued fossil fuel dependency (which allows for the continuation of fossil fuel use at increasing level), but fully invest in clean energy infrastructure now.   

The Adirondack Council, is honored to be in this space and lending our solidarity with our allies like West Harlem Environmental Action, The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice and the Bob Bullard Center for Environmental Justice to reduce the harm to humanity.  Together, we can help America and the world protect clean water and wilderness, while creating new jobs that support both.

Aaron Mair is the “Forever Adirondacks” Director for Adirondack Council. 

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The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional guest essays from Adirondack residents, visitors, and those with an interest in the Adirondack Park. Submissions should be directed to Almanack editor Melissa Hart at editor@adirondackalmanack.com




2 Responses

  1. Jay says:

    Al Gore makes it all fake. What a big phony!

  2. Mike says:

    Im surprised al doesnt own a 12,000 sq ft mansion in the Adirondacks with heat pumps to help save the planet. Lots of happy campaign donors can’t wait to get their hands on the $4.2 bn environmental bond act money to save the environment. Maybe thats why al is coming around, that money could buy a real nice environmentally friendly mansion in Lake Placid. Go Adirondack Council! Cha Ching!!!

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