Paris COP21: Nations approve landmark climate accord!


Paris COP21: Nations approve landmark climate accord!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

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It is a fact that the ongoing so-called wars on terror have accelerated atmospheric disorder and complicate the wealthier conditions. All UN veto powers must step forward to place a moratorium on terror wars or any bilateral wars for at least a couple of years to check if the worsening climate conditions get stabilized.

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Apparently world powers have become serious now about the impending dangers to earth from deadly climate change.  The communiqué of Paris COP21 reveals eloquently that for the first time in human history the political leaders are concerned about saving the world from early destruction.

 

The deal

 

Representatives of 195 nations reached a landmark accord at Paris COP21 to reduce climate change that will, for the first time, commit nearly every country to lowering planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions to help stave off the most drastic effects of climate change. The deal adopted on December 12 after two weeks of negotiations will come into force in 2020 and commits all countries to cut emissions

The announcement of accord by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was met with an eruption of cheers and ovations from thousands of delegates gathered from around the world, represents a major breakthrough on an issue that has foiled decades of international efforts to address climate change.

The text sets the objective of making sure that global warming stays “well below” 2 degrees Celsius and continuing to “pursue efforts” to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Temperatures have already increased by 1 degree Celsius since pre-industrial times. To achieve that goal, governments pledged to stop the rise in greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible without any time frame. By some point after 2050, man-made emissions should be reduced to a level that nature can absorb. However, there is no penalty for countries that miss their emission-reduction targets. The measures also include $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries by 2020, with a commitment to increase the figure in the future.

Most environmental activists reacted positively to the agreement, which replaces the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, but warned it was only the first step of many.  “World governments finalized a global agreement today in Paris that lays a foundation for long-term efforts to fight climate change,” the WWF conservation group said. However, it also warned that “more effort is needed to secure a path that would limit warming to 1.5C.”

The accord, which United Nations diplomats have been working toward for nine years, changes that dynamic by requiring action in some form from every country, rich or poor. “This is truly a historic moment,” the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said in an interview. “For the first time, we have a truly universal agreement on climate change, one of the most crucial problems on earth.”

President Obama, who regards tackling climate change as a central element of his legacy, spoke of the deal in a televised address from the White House. “This agreement sends a powerful signal that the world is fully committed to a low-carbon future,” he said. “We’ve shown that the world has both the will and the ability to take on this challenge.”

China earlier said rich developed countries needed to offer more financial support to developing countries. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said there were “no winners or losers”. “Climate justice has won and we are all working towards a greener future,” he said.

 

Scientists and leaders said the talks here represented the world’s last, best hope of striking a deal that would begin to avert the most devastating effects of a warming planet.

Poorer countries had pushed for a legally binding provision requiring that rich countries appropriate a minimum of at least $100 billion a year to help them mitigate and adapt to the ravages of climate change. Representatives of some developing nations expressed dissatisfaction.

 

Solution

 

Traditionally, such pacts have required developed economies like the United States to take action to lower greenhouse gas emissions, but they have exempted developing countries like China and India from such obligations.

Negotiators from many countries have said that a crucial moment in the path to the Paris accord came last year in the USA, when President Obama enacted the nation’s first climate change policy — a set of stringent new Environmental Protection Agency regulations designed to slash greenhouse gas pollution from the nation’s coal-fired power plants.

Just five years ago, such a deal seemed politically impossible. A similar 2009 climate change summit meeting in Copenhagen collapsed in acrimonious failure after countries could not unite around a deal.

Unlike in Copenhagen, the stars for this assembly were aligned. The changes that led to the Paris accord came about through a mix of factors, particularly major shifts in the domestic politics and bilateral relationships of China and the United States, the world’s two largest greenhouse gas polluters.

The attempt to impose emissions targets on countries was one of the main reasons why the Copenhagen talks in 2009 failed. Nations including China, India and South Africa were unwilling to sign up to a condition that they felt could hamper economic growth and development.

 

Since the Copenhagen deal collapsed, scientific studies have confirmed that the earliest impacts of climate change have started to sweep across the planet. While scientists once warned that climate change was a problem for future generations, recent scientific reports have concluded that it has started to wreak havoc now, from flooding in Miami to droughts and water shortages in China.

Recent giant floods in Indian city of Chennai in the South testify to the horrors of climatic disorder.

Scientific studies have concluded, the world will be locked into a future of devastating consequences, including rising sea levels, severe droughts and flooding, widespread food and water shortages and more destructive storms. The Paris deal could represent the moment at which, because of a shift in global economic policy, the inexorable rise in planet-warming carbon emissions that started during the Industrial Revolution began to level out and eventually decline.

The new deal will not, on its own, solve global warming. At best it will cut global greenhouse gas emissions by about half enough as is necessary to stave off an increase in atmospheric temperatures of 2 degrees Celsius or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, the targets themselves will not be legally binding under the Paris deal.

It is a fact that the ongoing so-called wars on terror have accelerated atmospheric disorder and complicate the wealthier conditions. All UN veto powers must step forward to place a moratorium on terror wars or any bilateral wars for at least a couple of years to check if the worsening climate conditions get stabilized.

 

Illumination

 

The climate deal reached in Paris is “the best chance we have to save the one planet we have”, US President Obama has said. BBC says the speeches and the cliches at the adoption of the Paris Agreement flowed like good champagne – success after all has many fathers! The main emotion is relief.

 

The world has come together around an agreement that will empower us to chart a new path for our planet. The world finally has a framework for cooperating on climate change that’s suited to the task. Whether or not this becomes a true turning point for the world, though, depends critically on how seriously countries follow through..

The deal could be viewed as a signal to global financial and energy markets, triggering a fundamental shift away from investment in coal, oil and gas as primary energy sources toward zero-carbon energy sources like wind, solar and nuclear power.

The deal that has been agreed is without parallel in terms of climate change or of the environment. It sets out a clear long-term temperature limit for the planet and a clear way of getting there. There is money for poor countries to adapt; there is a strong review mechanism to increase ambition over time. This is key if the deal is to achieve the aim of keeping warming well below 2C.

Effects of climate change are dreadful. More than anything though the deal signifies, a new way for the world to achieve progress – without it costing the earth. A long term perspective on the way we do sustainability is at the heart of this deal. If it delivers that, it truly will be world changing.

 

Ban Ki Moon said there was “no Plan B” to save the earth and life  if the deal fell apart. The Eiffel Tower in Paris was illuminated with that phrase Friday night.

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