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2017 Nilza Sena WMEconomic and environmental committee Chair Nilza Sena at the OSCE PA's 2017 Winter Meeting in ViennaCOPENHAGEN, 29 March 2017 – The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s economic and environment committee Chair Nilza Sena (MP, Portugal) today expressed concerns about U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order Tuesday to ease restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. She emphasized that this represents a significant step backward in efforts to combat global warming, and stressed that all signatories to the Paris Agreement on climate change must respect the hard-fought compromises reached on emission reductions.

“As the world’s biggest source of carbon dioxide over the past century, it is fundamental that the United States continues to exercise leadership as part of the international effort to reduce emissions and to prevent a dangerous rise in global temperatures,” said Sena. “Following this alarming shift in climate policy, the world will be watching closely to see if it meets its commitments under the Paris Agreement, and if its leaders take the initiative to increase the United States’ key role in reducing global emissions output.”

Sena noted that while the Paris commitments are ambitious in theory, even the current targets represent compromises that must be built upon to effectively counter climate change.

“In order to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius, as called for in Paris, world leaders – not only in the United States, but in the European Union and Russia as well – must all commit to taking ambitious and innovative steps to shift to a low-carbon economy and to strengthen national targets for emissions reductions,” she said.

She pointed out that the Trump administration’s proposals to eliminate regulations on greenhouse gas pollution from coal-fired power plants are particularly alarming. “Science tells us that no country can afford to reverse course on their respective climate change commitments,” said Sena.

She added: “The impacts for future generations have the potential to be destructive on a global scale – the consequences of ignoring climate change include decreasing access to water resources, civil unrest, and large-scale migrations of people. I hope that the topic will be reconsidered and that we can all commit to a common global task: preserving the planet we live on!”

Sena is the Chair of the OSCE PA’s General Committee on Economics Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment. Last year, at the OSCE PA’s 25th Annual Session in Tbilisi, the OSCE PA called on all OSCE participating States to “redouble their efforts to identify and pursue comprehensive solutions” to their “common environmental and economic challenges,” including climate change.

The topic is also expected to feature in a forthcoming report by Marietta Tidei (MP, Italy), Rapporteur of the economic and environmental committee, to be debated at the 26th Annual Session in Minsk, Belarus.