‘Trump is out but we are in the fight against climate change,’ senators say
Serkan Ocak – KATOWICE
President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement in 2017, but some U.S. politicians still totally disagree with him, pledging to continue struggling against the highly criticized move.
“Trump is out but we are in, we’ll win,” said Robert Hertzberg, one of the two senators from the California State Senate who took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Poland’s Katowice earlier this month.
He chairs the Committee on Natural Resources and Water in the senate of the state.
Despite their “subnational” status, Hertzberg and Bob Wieckoswski, another California State senator who chairs the Committee on Environmental Policy, took part in the U.N. summit at which Washington’s seat was empty.
“We’re here to take home that message to our people and also to build the message to people in Turkey and the people in all other parts of the world that we’re in this together and whether our national governments agree or don’t, we do and we’re going to win this fight,” Hertzberg told Hürriyet Daily News on the sidelines of the summit.
“At the subnational levels we have 18 states that agree with California and our automobile emissions to bring it up that now we’re fighting at the national level and that’s 43 percent of the population,” Wieckoswski agreed.
He was referring to a global warming rebellion against the U.S. leader.
When Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, a group of state governors said they would uphold the agreement and continue tackling global warming on their own. California was one of them. It has set stringent emission standards according to U.N. acquis, but they fight with the federal government which is not a signatory of the Paris climate agreement. The legal struggle continues.
The global warming issue is a hot topic in California because it is one of the worst effected states in the U.S. from rising temperatures.
The state was hit by huge wildfires last summer. Thus, Californians have had to advance their fire-fighting techniques.
Hertzberg pointed out some important projects to give advice to Mediterranean countries like Turkey and Greece who suffer from fires as well.
“We have cameras that literally can detect fires early because of the fires someplace in a forest. And we have all these new technologies on cameras, heat detectors,” he said.
Wieckoswski underlined the importance of controlling emissions for other countries, including Turkey, as well.
“We’re going to get the next generation so that the cars in Korea, Japan and Turkey are all, you know, performing at these high levels and that in each the EU set their own standards. Each of the countries are saying we want to have all electric vehicles by 2035 or 2045 whatever the number is, but there’s pressure on other electives who aren’t here in Katowice. We have to put some pressure on them to be a voice in their country and say we’re going to set our target at this level,” he said.
‘Turkey’s role in struggle against climate change crucial’
Turkey has not ratified the Paris Agreement yet, but for two senators from the California State Senate the involvement of a big country like Turkey in the fight against global change is crucial.
“There’s a book that talks about the six countries that are going to be the biggest new countries in the next hundred years, and Turkey is considered one of them. Wouldn’t it be great if Turkey was a signatory? But there’s a lot of interest from Turkey and I think it’s just a matter of time. You’ll be part of the solution,” California Senator Robert Hertzberg has told the Daily News.
His colleague Bob Wieckoswski underlined the similarities between Turkey and California. “We’re both reliant on tourism. People come from all over the world. And what do they want? They want a pristine clean environment. Turkey is going to market itself as a leader in climate. They’re not there yet, but in different cities, that’s very important to local leaders. They’re worried about transportation, they’re worried about emissions from cars. They don’t want to have that to ruin their beautiful countryside,” he said.
Turkey and Russia are signatories to the agreement, but have not yet ratified it internally.