“The Paris Agreement is a monumental triumph for people and our planet,” tweeted UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the close of COP21. “It sets the stage for progress in ending poverty, strengthening peace and ensuring a life of dignity and opportunity for all.” Taking a different view, James Hansen, climate scientist and former director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies,
The world is listening. We've rallied, we've marched, we've kicked, we've screamed - Yesterday, 195 nations made a step in the right direction in the Paris Agreement at COP21, but what does that mean? I've scrolled through countless articles sharing the hallmark of this moment, but, again, what does it really mean? It means that nations have agreed that it's time to do something. GREAT - to what extent?
Some reflections on my time at COP21:
COP21, scheduled to end on Friday, December 11, will continue on Saturday. Extension of the annual negotiating meeting beyond the planned closing time has become commonplace. This time there were hopeful speculations that they would finish on time, fed by a more positive atmosphere at the COP than in the past, and by relatively rapid progress that was being made in negotiating the text for the Paris agreement. But the parts of the text left in brackets, meaning still contested and under negotiation among Parties, are some of the most diifficult to resolve.
A side-event convened by Harvard University and the Fondazione Centro Studi Enel on December 9 addressed the need for comparing the national mitigation efforts that Parties to the UNFCCC have proposed in the “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” (INDCs) that they have submitted to the UNFCCC. The INDCs are the foundation on which the agreement that is emerging at COP21 in Paris is being constructed.
In an earlier post, I discussed the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), which is the group of countries that have declared themselves the most vulnerable to climate change. The CVF’s message during this COP is simple and singular. They are calling for the world to agree that global temperature rise shall not exceed (and actually that is well below) 1.5 degrees Celsius.
On Monday I participated in a “High-Level Chatham House Dialogue” organized by the Citizen’s Climate Lobby (CCL) and facilitated by Joe Robertson, CCL’s Global Strategy Director. The group assembled for the dialogue included representatives from the energy sector, investment management, sustainable business, civil society and higher education, as well as myself. The purpose? To share perspectives on accelerating climate action. A variety of views were expressed.