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Tuesday
Dec182018

Paris to Poland - "The Gap is Big!"

So said the UN Enviroment Chief Scientist as he presented the 2018 Emissions Gap Report during the Katowice (Poland)) Conference.

What little agreement was finally squeezed out at this 'talk-fest' was barely enough to write home about, but hopefully it will be reminder of just how short a time we have to turn around the emissions figure that is currently leading us to oblivion - global emissions must halve by 2030 to achieve the minimum 1.5*C required.

Think about how likley that is in the face of Trump's intransigence. Current trends are taking us to 3.2*C by 2100 - at that rate teh maror portion of the developed World is under water - never mind the undeveloped portion.

The 'guidelines,' of the Paris 'rulebook' to achieve 1.5*C agreed to at Katowice are onerous, and many issues remain unresolved in spite of the manufactured bonhomie  at the end of the Conference. 

By agreeing to an agreed set of rules, the outcome will breathe life into the Paris Agreement. It is not yet clear though whether the rules are sufficient to pressure countries to make the changes necessary to avoid dangerous climate change. Certainly, current commitments are insufficient.

The risks associated with failing to prevent dangerous climate change are severe. Impacts of global warming are already being felt around the world. At 1.5°C, the impacts on biodiversity, extreme weather events and sea-level rise are set to increase – with catastrophic consequences. At 2°C, the impacts will be even more severe: coral reefs are, for instance, expected to be wiped out.

Sarah Mead - a NZ researcher based at Leiden University in Holland attended the Conference and posed the question in her excellent Newsroom  article:

How could Kiribati, the future of which is imperilled by climate change, be expected to agree with the US – the largest historical emitter of GHG emissions and which “strongly believe[s] that no country should have to sacrifice economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability”?

One could say - "there is a way to go!"

 

 

 

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