There is little time left until the Paris UN Climate Change Conference starts in Paris on November 30th. Meanwhile, pledges of all sorts are seemingly ramping up the efforts to effectively fight climate change.
But with a multitude of hoops to jump through, it remains to be seen whether the Paris UN Climate Change Conference will deliver on the promise to become the cornerstone of counter-climate change efforts instead of becoming a resounding disappointment, much as the Copenhagen UN Climate Change Conference in 2009.
Economically, the 100 million dollars pledged at the Copenhagen Climate Summit until 2020 is still a dream to come true. Things are moving for the better. Yet, with no definition of climate finance set in place, with less than half of the pledge stacked together and with no agreement on what type of aid should result from these funds, there’s a long way to go.
Thankfully, in terms of curbing emissions the latest series of pledges coming from the big players in the arena should be setting the stage for more compromise, more dedication to a common goal and more actions to be taken in this direction. Brazil, China and the United States have pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions. India is still keeping away from the club. The European Union is leading the efforts for a decarbonized economy and a decarbonized world.
It’s good news, albeit the fact that these initial pledges, even if complied with, still keep the world on track for warming by over 2 degrees Celsius this century alone. World governments need to reach a binding agreement that keeps the warming scenario under the 2 degrees Celsius milestone. However, according to Chris Field, one of the candidates for the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) chairing position:
“Much of the underlying motivation for any emissions reduction agenda is that first steps lead to second steps, which lead to third steps. It is probably the case that first steps won’t solve the problem, but they start the journey”.
Optimistic? Perhaps. We’re in dire need of optimism in the climate debate. According to an analysis of Climate Interactive, the pledges currently made by world governments will still result in a 3.5 degrees Celsius warming by the end of the century.
The analysis signed by Climate Action Tracker presents a similar scenario, with a 3 degrees Celsius warming by the end of the century compared to pre-industrial times. The difference might stem from variables concerning the course of action following 2030 when these pledges have an expiration date.
If critical steps to curb emissions are taken by 2030, then we still stand a chance to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. But that is a matter of political will and value judgements.
For now, the Paris UN Climate Change Conference taking place from November 30th until December 11th is surrounded with hype. A hype that mirrors high expectations that this is finally the year when an ambitious and binding climate treaty will finally be signed.
It is a matter of political will indeed. Perhaps it’s time to set differences aside and set together at the negotiation table, willing to compromise and negotiate for a future.
Photo Credits: Pixabay