Monday, 14 December 2015

COP out 21

Of course the agreement to try to limit climate change at less than 2 degrees is a positive statement but the Paris Agreement is lacking in detail, requirements and ambition. It seems to give:

  • a broad aim to limit climate change to 2 degrees
  • for the world to be carbon neutral by 2050
  • instructs governments to come up with their own plans and targets 
  • a requirement for the UN to report back in 2018.

If this wasn't wish washy enough, phrases such as 'greater efforts', 'voluntary participation', 'should', 'urging' and 'aiming' are weasel words that can be flouted by governments. It is so easy to say that you are making greater efforts without delivering. Should is a poor word to use must be replaced with 'must'.

"much greater emission reduction efforts will be required than those associated with the intended nationally determined contributions"

"Voluntary participation authorized by each Party involved;"

"financial resources provided to developing countries should enhance the implementation of their policies"

"Urging all Parties to the Kyoto Protocol that have not already done so to ratify and implement the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol"

"aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible"

There are some good words and ambitions, but even these are not strong enough.

"hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2 ˚C above pre-industrial levels by reducing emissions to 40 gigatonnes or to 1.5 ˚C above pre-industrial levels" but it fails to say by when the 40gt should be achieved instead referring the target to a report due in 2018.

"achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century" great but carbon neutral by 2050 is not going to stop runaway climate change.

"Noting the importance of ensuring the integrity of all ecosystems, including oceans, and the protection of biodiversity, recognized by some cultures as Mother Earth, and noting the importance for some of the concept of “climate justice”, when taking action to address climate change" my favourite paragraph even though it doesn't give a definitive protection to anything, it is still great to see a recognition that Mother Earth  requires her integrity to be maintained and that biodiversity is important (actually it is essential). The paragraph also talks of climate justice which is often forgotten.

On the plus side there is $100bn in climate finance for poorer countries (the word finance worries me - I assume a loan???).

Finally, it seems the political Greens are more positive about the deal than campaigning greens. Reaction from Molly, Natalie and Caroline is quite different to FOE and The Ecologist

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