Sanders: Paris climate pact ‘goes nowhere near far enough’

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDNC vice chairwoman apologizes to Sanders 7 pieces of advice for Hillary Clinton Wasserman Schultz backs down, won't open convention MORE (I-Vt.) is slamming the climate pact that nearly 200 countries are likely to agree on Saturday in Paris, saying it’s far too weak for the task at hand.

Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate, said the agreement is a good first step in fighting climate change, but not much more.

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“The planet is in crisis. We need bold action in the very near future and this does not provide that,” he said Saturday in a statement released shortly before delegates in Paris are due to vote on the agreement, the first to require climate efforts of nearly every country.

None of the emissions targets in the deal are internationally binding.

“In the United States we have a Republican Party which is much more interested in contributions from the fossil fuel industry than they care about the future of the planet. That is true all over the globe,” he said.

Sanders has consistently fought against fossil fuels and for more action to fight climate change, often openly challenging Clinton’s commitment to the climate.

He wants to stop all new oil, natural gas and coal development on public lands and offshore, and introduced legislation this week to put a tax on carbon emissions, aiming to cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.

“We’ve got to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and fight for national and international legislation that transforms our energy system away from fossil fuel as quickly as possible,” Sanders said in his statement on the Paris agreement.

Sanders was not among the 10 Senate Democrats who traveled to Paris last weekend to support the negotiations.

His opinion contrasts with most environmental groups, who were overwhelmingly pleased with the final agreement text released early Saturday.

But some groups, like Friends of the Earth and Food and Water Watch, took a similar tone to Sanders, slamming the pact for not striving for an end to the use of fossil fuels, among other wishes.