Venezuela Agrees to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 20% at UN Conference

Business people holding recycle signAfter an historic summit that took place in Paris over the last month, Venezuelan leaders have pledged to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions if wealthier countries claim responsibility for their role in climate change.

According to Venezuela Analysis, Venezuela agreed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20% by 2030. After extensive negotiation, the agreement was finalized this past Saturday evening.

The pledge was outlined in a 38-page INDC (intended nationally determined contributions) submitted to the United Nation’s 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) by Venezuela’s chief envoy to the COP, Claudia Salerno.

“This Paris agreement is victory #COP21 The time for diplomacy is over and the time to nationally implement our INDC begins,” Salerno tweeted.

The goal of COP21 was to develop a concrete path to reducing greenhouse gas emissions around the world in response to increased global warming. Salerno and her colleagues demanded an “effective” but “just” climate deal which respects the desires of developing countries like Venezuela.

Venezuela has been on the forefront of environmentalism for quite some time, and the country provided an extensive list of its eco-friendly accomplishments to other nations at the conference.

These efforts include a widespread reforestation plan, modern public transport systems, and 200 socialist recycling factories. Recycling cardboard, for example, reduces pollution by about 95% compared to cardboard made with trees, and the country hopes that other nations will follow their lead in reusing materials.

In its INDC, Venezuela urged world leaders to recognize climate change as one of the “clearest demonstrations of the crisis of capitalism” and championed “eco-socialist values” as the only way to undo centuries of environmental abuse.

“Climate change is one of the facets of the global environmental crisis generated by the owners of production and excessive and unsustainable consumption in developed countries. Consequently, only a modification of these owners will constitute a true and lasting solution to the environmental crisis,” the INDC states.

The capitalistic nature of major corporations often leads to a looser interpretation of environmental policies. According to USA Today, Volkswagen is currently under investigation after they were caught installing software in vehicles that was designed to cheat U.S. emissions test.

The global car manufacturer has already admitted to fitting approximately 11 million vehicles with the software, which allows harmful nitrous oxide to be emitted at rates of up to 40 times EPA standards.

As for the COP21, 195 countries agreed to make changes that would lead to a global temperature rise of less than 2 degrees Celsius by 2100. Wealthy nations will be forced to provide $100 billion in funding to help developing countries like Venezuela transition away from fossil fuel.

Several Latin American governments refused to sign a similar treaty in 2009, citing the global North’s lack of dialogue with underdeveloped nations. Salerno was pleased with the progress made at the summit, called it the world’s “greatest diplomatic success.”