24th December 2014 Anthony Rae for FOE The conclusion of COP20 with the agreement in Peru on 14th December of the Lima Call for Climate Action – which, said the press release ‘puts the world on track’ for COP21 in Paris one year from now (read the detailed agreement here ) – marks the beginning of a trek for governments and climate campaigners alike along the road to Paris which will prove to be much more critical than the 2009 COP15 in Copenhagen – the ‘conference that failed’, and which disappointed so many.
To understand how likely it is that this 12 months’ journey will end in any measure of success depends on your interpretation of what actually happened at Lima, which was preceded by what was heralded to be a historic deal between the world’s two largest emitters of carbon dioxide: US and China. It was their inability to reach a mutually agreeable approach to global carbon reduction that scuppered Copenhagen. There is no single ‘right interpretation’ of the Lima agreement – firstly because the analysis of all the components of an international climate treaty under discussion is extraordinarily complex; and secondly because how you view it will be strongly influenced by who you are: a high emitting developed country like the UK, or alternatively a developing country with no prosperity and almost no emissions either, but plenty of climate threats; a ‘realist’ who thinks that we have to sign some kind of a treaty in Paris, or a supporter of climate justice who might hold that ‘no treaty is better than a weak one’.
Essentially it’s a massive and multi-dimensional argument over the Global Carbon Budget, which is the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that has already been emitted over the last century or so, and will be emitted in the future to 2050 or 2100, and which cannot be allowed to exceed a certain level if the risk of precipitating ‘dangerous climate change’ is to be avoided. The 2014 update of the Global Carbon Budget ‘shows that total future CO2 emissions cannot exceed 1,200 billion tonnes – for a likely 66% chance of keeping average global warming under 2°C (since pre-industrial times)’ (read the detail <a href="http://www.greencalderdale.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/GCPBudget2014-rel prix boite viagra.pdf”>here).
To make up your own mind why not read through this assessment by former BBC environment correrspondent Richard Black and then a selection of media articles from around the world that you will find in the daily Environmental Aggregator newspaper which I compile: see the editions of 15th December , 16th December and 18th December. Over the coming weeks and months periodically reading through the climate change headlines of the Environmental Aggregator will probably be your best way of keeping in touch with the progress of round after round of negotiations.
In terms of campaigning activity locally and nationally here in the UK a most important date for your diary is Wednesday 17th June in London when the Climate Coalition – which brings together the environmental and development campaigning organisations, and much more besides – will be lobbying the new government and all the MPs elected at the general election in May 2015 to ask them to commit to these three pledges:
– To seek a strong, legally binding, global climate deal which limits temperature rises to 2°C which is fair for the world’s poorest.
– To work together across party lines to agree carbon budgets in accordance with the Climate Change Act.
– To accelerate the transition to a competitive, energy efficient low-carbon economy and end the use of unabated coal for power generation
By the way if you are someone brought to the Green Calderdale website from the link at the end of the last of five letters exchanged in the Hebden Bridge Times/ Todmorden News between a climate change ‘sceptic’ Tony Moore and myself (which you can read here: TM 20th November; AR 27th November; AR 11th December; TM 18th December and AR 24th December – links not yet available) then a final article by John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace will maybe raise a smile:
‘2015: the beginning of the end for climate sceptics’