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Sec. Clinton attacks Sen. Sanders for demanding stronger climate action

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In an exclusive interview with Time Warner Cable News on Monday, Secretary Hillary Clinton criticized Senator Bernie Sanders’ actions to combat climate change, stating, “I couldn’t believe it when Senator Sanders opposed the Paris Agreement.”  This was not an accurate characterization of Senator Sanders’ response to the international climate agreement that was reached in Paris in December 2015.

In a statement released after the Conference of the Parties, Senator Sanders said, “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.”

“What Secretary Clinton is doing is disgraceful,” said Friends of the Earth Action Spokesman Ben Schreiber.  “Secretary Clinton misrepresented Senator Sanders’ call for stronger action and twisted it to portray him as being weak on climate change. Listening to her talk about climate change is like entering The Twilight Zone.”

There is scientific and political agreement that the Paris Agreement will not keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, let alone the 1.5 degree threshold that many scientists are calling for.  This is a reality that Christiana Figueres, then Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, stated clearly prior to the Paris negotiations.  A civil society review of country’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions found that they would lead to 3 degrees Celsius of warming or more.

“This is not the first time that Secretary Clinton has played fast and loose with the truth on climate change,” said Schreiber. “The agreement that she helped negotiate in Copenhagen undermined the integrity of the U.N. process, yet she is trying to spin it as a major accomplishment.”

In a presidential debate in October 2015, Secretary Clinton said, “I have been on the forefront of dealing with climate change starting in 2009 when President Obama and I crashed a meeting with the Chinese and got them to sign up to the first international agreement to combat climate change that they’d ever joined.” The deal in Copenhagen was criticized by Friends of the Earth and much of civil society.

“Secretary Clinton is attacking Senator Sanders for daring to acknowledge what scientists know —  we are going to need to do much more on climate change,” said Schreiber. “Maybe she is worried that having to take a stronger stand will jeopardize her cozy relationship with oil industry executives and lobbyists.  Whatever the reason, Secretary Clinton is engaging in soft climate denial.”

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Expert contact: Ben Schreiber, (202) 222-0752, bschreiber@foe.org
Communications contact: Kate Colwell, (202) 222-0744, kcolwell@foe.org