Latest news: a half-full glass...
The first global climate treaty has been ratified at Paris. Text here...
Taking into account the political context, the agreement is probably the best possible outcome for the COP21 conference:
- 187 countries have proposed reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, which correspond to a total of 55 Gigatons of greenhouse gas produced in 2030, i.e. 15 Gigatons too much for the goal of 2°C (paragraph II/7)
- that's not enough, however the agreement includes a stocktake on the emissions and goals every five years, the first time in 2023 - and once before the treaty starts in 2018. The aim is to push countries to adopt more ambitious reduction goals. (article 14)
- the agreement includes financial and technical aid for developping countries, for the necessary adaptations, and to cover losses due to global warming (articles 9 to 11)
- it mentions for the first time a limit to global warming of 1.5°C (article 2) - which would mean a decrease of greenhouse gas emissions of 85% by 2050... according to figures from the UNEP Gap report
- it mentions "zero net emissions" as a goal for the second half of the century (article 4)
- it promotes the protection of forests (article 5)
However, it does not include:
- legally binding reduction targets per country
- a limit to the quantity of extracted fossil fuels, a carbon tax or the end of fossil fuel subsidies
- an explicit mention of emissions from air or maritime traffic
and it still allows countries to rely on reductions made in other countries (article 6/3)
The Paris treaty entered into force on the 4th of November 2016...
What is COP21 ?
Scientists have warned a long time ago that CO2 emissions would cause global warming. In 1992, at the Rio conference, the bases of future climate negotiations were established, and the UNFCCC was created.
But since then, climate conference follows climate conference without any real result. The next conference is in Paris in December 2015, COP21, and we hope that this time all countries will agree on a treaty to limit the effects of global warming.
Some of the aims for the Paris conference:
- Reach a global agreement, if possible legally binding
- Fix the reduction of greenhouse gases per country, so as not to overrun the global quota of 1000 Gigatons of CO2-e, which corresponds to global warming of around 2°C
- Set up a fund for less developed countries, to help them prepare for global warming effects and invest in renewable energy / energy efficiency
- Maybe fix a carbon tax or price, so as to make investments in renewable energy or energy efficiency more profitable
"To act locally, we need a national reference. To establish a national reference, we need a coordinated action at the international level, because individual countries consider they are competing with other countries. The negotiations share out the effort between countries. But a government can only ratify a treaty if it's accepted in their country. Local movments and the implication of local firms (energy efficient renovations, green energy...) help reduce negative vibes in the country" Roger Nordmann (translated), conclusion of the climate debate, 6th of June