30 Nov – 11 Dec, 2015
COP21 Official Sites:
Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform (ADP)
COP21 News Sites:
EurActive: Climate & Environment
The Guardian: Climate Change
US Clmate Network: Recent International Climate Negotiations
Has COP21 found the magic bullet for climate change? It looks that way. In Paris, even OPEC is signing up. It is said that the world will change track from 4.5°C to under 3°C. And according to Christiana Figueres, the UN climate chief, that’s just a down payment. She says it’s like traveling from Washington to New York and already getting to Philadelphia.
But we’re puzzled. Why didn’t anyone think of this 20 years ago? Just let everyone sign up to do whatever they want, and make sure there are no consequences if they don’t. Everyone will be happy. But will this really get countries to do more than they would have done otherwise? The EU and the UN have done the calculations and say, “Yes, they will do more.” But let’s look more closely. Perhaps, the politicians and negotiators just want to look like heroes instead of looking like schmucks, as they did in Copenhagen. It’s best to keep our eyes open:
- Why does Christiana say, quote, “No one’s doing this to save the planet, it’s just self-interest”? Self-interest is nothing new.
- Why didn’t China mention the climate when it first announced it’s so-called climate policy? Could it be all about 1.6 million deaths per year from smog?
- Why does India want $2,500,000,000 to keep its pledge?
- How does the UN calculate the impact of INDCs without asking what would happen without them?
- Why does the UN Newsroom say INDCs keep the door open to 2⁰C, when the UN scientists say INDCs make that next to impossible?
- Why does Christiana say she will “chop off the head” of anyone that asks why we are going to miss the 2C target?
Here’s why we’re worried: Figueres tells us the INDCs are pure self-interest, and it looks like it’s almost that bad. China is just fixing its smog problem. India wants $2.5 trillion to meet its pledge. Republican’s will limit the US to its self-interest.
- This still looks good for three main reasons:
- China’s smog problem put a limit on their coal binge.
- Trillions of $$ would enable optimistic INDCs.
- Some countries just over-promise—there’s no penalty.
- But the UN scientists tell us that by 2030, the 2°C goal will be far more difficult and costly to reach.
- So the real climate problem—how to get countries to cooperate and do more than narrow self-interest, has just been postponed and made much harder in 2030.
The science of cooperation actually explains how to break through the narrow self-interest barrier, but Figueres has banned any discussion of it in Paris. And 2030 will be too late.