COP 22: actions or warnings of storms on the climate?

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On December 12, 2015, a first universal climate agreement was adopted by 195 countries, during the COP 21 in Paris. The objective of this Paris agreement is to contain global warming below 2 ° C by 2100. Following this agreement which entered into force on November 4, 2016, the COP 22 which takes place in Marrakech from November 7 to 18 , must define the action plan. After a year 2016 classified as being the hottest, there is an urgent need to act. The stake for our humanity goes beyond simple climatic questions and also poses ethical questions of sharing, solidarity… because the Earth is our common good. With COP 22, has the time for action really arrived? Or will a few climatic storms still sweep the planet by shattering this hope?

Fwas he going to enjoy the Paris Agreement adopted at COP 21? Of course, this agreement to fight against global warming is a significant step forward from a diplomatic point of view. I wrote four columns on COP 21 for Info Chrétienne but I took care not to write one on his signature although I was tempted to do so. Why ? Because there was (and still is) urgent action to slow down global warming and keep it below 2 ° C. There was also no obligation for signatory countries to wait for ratification. of the agreement in order to start committing to this process. Even though 2016 broke all heat records, we must realize that in practice, in France, in Europe (and elsewhere?) Few policy changes have taken place. as underlined by the alter-globalization movement ATTAC in its column of April 2016, proposing 14 actions for the climate:

“In the aftermath of COP 21, the United Nations and the French Government, as well as economic and financial lobbies, insist on the urgency of ratifying the Paris Agreement without, however, taking the courageous and visionary decisions that are necessary while The state of climate emergency is worsening. "

The Hulot Foundation present at COP 22 issues a "Storm warning on the climate"

The Hulot Foundation, present at COP 22, issues a "Storm warning on the climate", and calls in a statement states to "be firmer in their determination". Global warming has consequences on nature, on people and on the economy which will only get worse if there is no real determination. According to a report by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP or UNEP for United Nations Environment Program), if the countries do not accelerate their ambition to fight against global warming, the door which would make it possible to keep the increase in temperature below 1,5 ° C could be definitively closed in 2020. There would therefore only be 3 years left in order to save the 1,5 ° C target set in the Paris Agreement.

“Even if the commitments made in Paris are fully implemented, the emissions forecast by 2030 will cause global temperatures to rise from 2,9 ° C to 3,4 ° C by the end of the year. century. "

Extract annual report on the reduction of emissions of the United Nations Environment Program

The Paris Agreement, ratified by 180 countries on the eve of COP 22, entered into force on November 4, 2016, less than a year after being adopted. This period is exceptionally short for an international agreement. COP 22 is determined as “the time for action”. The time to act is very short in the areas influencing the climate, or concerning the necessary adaptations.

On the energy side, it is the developing countries that are strongly committed to renewable energies.

On the energy side, it is the developing countries that are strongly committed to renewable energies. Whether on the African continent or elsewhere, access to energy is an emerging “need” and everything must be done to facilitate these countries in producing clean and non-emitting greenhouse gases. It is planned to help them with a contribution from industrialized countries, will the commitments be respected? Surprisingly, it is China which has invested heavily in renewable energies. The enormous pollution created by the economic boom in this country causing major public health problems, forced the Chinese government to act very quickly. China holds the leadership of this energy. India with France are co-founders of the International Solar Alliance which has the objective of "deploying solar energy in countries located between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn". During COP 22, 11 countries from Africa, America, Asia and the Pacific signed the statutes of this alliance. Yes France supports several coalitions in order to develop renewable energies or concrete actions following COP 21, it must be admitted that its obsession with nuclear energy on its own territory does not contribute to the energy transition, unlike Germany, which is committed to this process. Switzerland decides on this transition on November 27. In the arguments, it is noted the beneficial effects on the economy: 7000 jobs created in renewable energies, while the Swiss power stations would have lost approximately 500 million Swiss francs in 2015 and 2016.

As a sign of hope, in 2015, the production of renewable energies has exceeded that of coal. 500 solar panels are produced per day. The turn of the energy transition is well taken, but must be further accelerated to permanently slow down global warming.

Fossil fuels are sources of political and economic conflicts

Speaking of fossil fuels, we understand that these are a source of political and economic conflicts while renewable energies are “freely” available everywhere around the Earth. The sun, the wind, sea currents, rivers, geothermal energy, biomass, bioenergy are all possibilities for the sustainable and local creation of a new economy and new jobs. They make it possible to do without polluting fossil fuels (nuclear energy is also fossil fuels), which release the carbon dioxide that they have stored for millennia. According to several environmentalists, the abandonment of fossil fuels could make the world more peaceful and economically more livable.

“Embracing sustainable consumption and production is one way people can help mitigate climate change by adapting. "
UN Environment Program

The energy transition must be an opening towards a more united, better shared economy, insofar as our leaders will be able to resist the fossil fuel lobbies, who seek to defend their interests without realizing (or wanting to see it) that they are going. in a wall. Globalization, free trade (and the CETA, TAFTA agreements) are not going in the direction of a participatory economy, more united, more respectful of the environment and people.

Both COP 22 and COP 21 have not really worked on the economic model linked to global warming. However according to a World Bank report, presented in Marrakech on November 14, the cost of disasters resulting from global warming would be underestimated. Annual losses amount to 520 billion dollars and these disasters push 26 million people into poverty. This study calls for the urgent adoption of policies capable of better protecting the most vulnerable in the face of the challenges of climate change.

The consequences of global warming on man and nature are multiple and complex. Our unequal energy system, based on fossil fuels, not only already puts many refugees on the roads because of the conflicts it generates, but it could also soon generate 'climate refugees' fleeing their country which has become uninhabitable or their poverty in order to to survive. Humans, at all levels, need to be imaginative in order to fight global warming and be creative in adapting, and not believing that 'I can live alone' or selfishly, raking in my attic (or my bank) without taking into account the other inhabitants of the planet.

"It is imperative to build resilience to succeed in ending global poverty and promoting shared prosperity ..."
Extract from the World Bank report

One of the key elements of our survival is biodiversity

One of the key elements of our life or survival, as I pointed out in an article about seeds, is biodiversity. Nature can adapt to a certain extent, but beyond a certain warming threshold, the oceans would become acidic and all maritime life would be impacted. Less (or no) life in the oceans will impact our entire food chain. This is why actions have been taken specifically towards the protection of the oceans which constitute 96% of the biosphere and which can be an important source of renewable energy.

In addition to natural disasters, it should be understood that climate change is at the origin of the destruction of thousands of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. These are however fundamental in the balance of our planet.

Balance is the word! But it is understood very differently depending on the way we look at the climate issue.

Balance is the word! But it is understood very differently depending on how we look at the climate issue. Already, after COP 21, questions were raised about the how and the real will of states. Dave Bookless, A Rocha participant at COP 21, a very mixed picture of COP 21, asking the question of a fair COP? Like him, other environmentalists and I have pointed out that “the Paris Agreement calls for technological and commercial solutions to produce green energy and reduce emissions, but these solutions have not yet been produced. communicated to date ”. No paradigm shift emerged from this agreement, leaving a number of necessary, useful and urgent solutions or actions in abeyance. One of the aspects is that to limit global warming, we must stop extracting fossil fuels. If, for example, in France the extraction of shale gas has been stopped, slowed down or even banned, this is not the case in other countries such as Canada or the United States. In this sense, the CETA and TAFTA free trade agreements are catastrophic for the climate and for real fair trade. The recent election of Trump as President of the United States casts doubt on compliance with the Paris Agreement signed and ratified by this country. However New York, at the forefront of the cities concerned, is preparing to rising sea levels.

Conversely, it is tempting to see nature as being able to be a “carbon sink” used to store the CO2 produced by our human activities. Farmers then ask themselves the question of agricultural land that would become a capital in order to offset greenhouse gas emissions. There is a danger that the peasants will then be robbed of their land! Nature has no price and cannot be understood as capital. A financialization of its conservation or its usefulness cannot be included in a sustainable and equitable development.

“While 2016 will certainly be the hottest year of the industrial age, most of the work is postponed to the inter-sessional negotiations in Bonn next year. This wait-and-see policy is being done, as always, at the expense of the most vulnerable populations who are already suffering from climate change ”

says Jean Vettraino, food security advocacy officer at Secours Catholique - Caritas France. (source CCFD-Terre Solidaire)

The song created for COP 22 is about our house " Our Home And gives some hope, but what about the actions actually taken? This is the whole question that COP 22 had to answer! If we want the aspirations of the Paris Agreement to materialize, then the work has only just begun by moving fairly into action, by accelerating, out of necessity and obligation, aid to the populations most vulnerable to change. climate. The final declaration of COP 22 suggests that this urgent message has passed, but important decisions are delayed. The weather-related storm warning is maintained. Let us remain vigilant, in order to make our voice heard, a voice of equity, of climate justice, in order to reveal to Creation that we are children of God (Romans 8 v 19)

Nathanael Bechdolff

Read also the previous articles on the COP 21 or the climate.


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