Climate Change on the Agenda in Paris: time to make some progress

Image Courtesy of David Lally

One hundred and fifty heads of state will gather in Paris tomorrow for COP21 to discuss one of the most pressing issues facing humanity: climate change.

One hundred and seventy five nations have committed to Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to lower their carbon emissions. This will amount to a limiting of global warming to 2.7C should all countries deliver on their pledges.

The world’s governments have shown intent toward lowering global carbon emissions but developing a coordinated effort between states that share only hostilities and adopt differing ideological and political positions remains a huge challenge.

International negotiators have been attempting to orchestrate a unified approach to climate change since the conference began in the early 90s but have had little success in coordinating disparate national strategies. It was determined at the 2011 conference that an agreed solution must be arrived at by the end of 2015 at the very latest. This means that the pressure will be on for negotiators at this year’s event.

Limiting climate change may be seen by some as the effective limiting of potential financial gain and therefore a curbing of the global free market capitalist system. In light of such considerations progress is limited by strategic consensus. Each nation must be agreed upon the method and aims of any action taken. Ensuring fairness in such a way has in the past however limited the efficacy of the conference.

Forty thousand guests are expected to attend the conference in addition to tens of thousands of activists. Exploiting the attendance of world heads and international media a march has been organised by protesters through the streets of Paris on issues from the environment to human rights.

Here’s hoping an agreement may be made and action be put into place before it is too late for our beautiful blue planet. As will be written on many of the protesters banners and placards: ‘there is no planet b’