RESOURCES: TOWARD A 2015 CLIMATE AGREEMENT
The Green News Update resource page will feature reports, studies, videos and op-eds in the runup to the COP 21 (Conference of the Parties) in Paris November 30-December 11, 2015. We will continue to add materials as they become available. Check back often to learn more.
The December 2015 events: The objective is to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate from ALL nations. An emissions gap is needed to keep the planet below the 2 degree Celsius threshold above pre-industrial level temperatures, counting the pollution already emitted worldwide and will continue to emit in the short-term to medium-term.
UNITED NATIONS CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE, COP21 or CMP11
The 21st annual session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) will be held November 30 to December 11 in Paris. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held in 1992 (The Earth Summit in Rio) and the Meeting of the Parties (CMP 11).
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or “UNFCCC”, was adopted during the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992. It entered into force on 21 March 1994 and has been ratified by 196 States, which constitute the “Parties” to the Convention – its stakeholders. The 1997 Kyoto Protocols sought to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) — a major antecedent to the upcoming set of events in Paris. The United States government (Congress) has never ratified the Kyoto Protocols. See who has ratified
THE POPE’S ENCYCLICAL: Laudato Sí ( Released June 18, 2015)
Released by the Vatican, Pope Francis’s 197-page encyclical (treatise) on environment and climate change makes clear that humans are responsible for the current and coming state of the planet – and we are going to have to fix it. Laudato Sí—Be Praised is a line borrowed from The Canticle of the Sun, a poem attributed to the Pope’s namesake, St. Francis.
Praise Be to You: On Care for Our Common Home is available in English, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. Read the full document.
“The continued acceleration of changes affecting humanity and the planet is coupled today with a more intensified pace of life and work which might be called “rapidification.” Although change is part of the working of complex systems, the speed with which human activity has developed contrasts with the naturally slow pace of biological evolution. Moreover, the goals of this rapid and constant change are not necessarily geared to the common good or to integral and sustainable human development. Change is something desirable, yet it becomes a source of anxiety when it causes harm to the world and to the quality of life of much of humanity. “ (The Pope Paragraph 18)
“The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes.”
THE ARCTIC REPORT CARD 2014 (Released by National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration)
“Rising air and sea temperatures continue to trigger changes in the Arctic. The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of anywhere else on Earth. However, natural variation remains, such as the slight increase in March 2014 sea ice thickness and only a slight decrease in total mass of the Greenland ice sheet in summer 2014.” Read the full report
ENVIRONMENT AMERICA RESEARCH & POLICY CENTER
Dangerous Inheritance: The Hotter, More Extreme Climate that We’re Passing Down to America’s Young (March 30, 2015)
“As a result of global warming, young Americans today are growing up in a different climate than their parents and grandparents experienced. It is warmer than it used to be. Storms pack more of a punch. Rising seas increasingly flood low-lying land. Large wildfires have grown bigger, more frequent and more expensive to control. People are noticing changes in their own backyards, no matter where they live.
“We can protect our children from the most harmful impacts of global warming by reducing carbon pollution and shifting to cleaner sources of energy. The United States has a critical window of opportunity to lead the world in this effort.
“Global sea level could rise 1.9 to 3.6 feet by 2100, with some parts of the U.S. coast experiencing faster rates of sea-level rise. Sea-level rise and land subsidence put more than $1 trillion worth of U.S. coastal buildings at risk of flooding in the next century, and the National Flood Insurance Program predicts that the number of flood insurance policyholders will increase by 80 percent by 2100.
“To protect our children from the worst impacts of global warming, the United States must cut its overall emissions of global warming pollution by at least 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050, as part of global action to dramatically reduce carbon emissions.”
CENTER FOR CLIMATE & ENERGY SOLUTIONS
Toward 2015 An International Climate Dialogue– Vision for Paris: Building an Effective Climate Agreement (July 2015)
Senior officials from more than 20 countries held discussions in eight sessions from March 2014 to May 2015. . The dialogue was organized by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES). This report distills the views of the cochairs from the dialogue, Valli Moosa of South Africa and Harald Dovland of Norway. Read the entire report
NATURE (The Journal)/OP ED
Climate Policy: Ditch the 2 Degree Warming Goal, by David G. Victor and Charles F. Kennel (October 1, 2014)
“Average global temperature is not a good indicator of planetary health. Track a range of vital signs instead, urge David G. Victor and Charles F. Kennel.
“For nearly a decade, international diplomacy has focused on stopping global warming at 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. This goal — bold and easy to grasp — has been accepted uncritically and has proved influential.
“The emissions-mitigation report of the Fifth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is framed to address this aim, as is nearly every policy plan to reduce carbon emissions — from California’s to that of the European Union (EU). This month, diplomatic talks will resume to prepare an agreement ahead of a major climate summit in Paris in 2015; again, a 2 °C warming limit is the focus.
“Bold simplicity must now face reality. Politically and scientifically, the 2 °C goal is wrong-headed. “
[David G. Victor is professor of international relations at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA. Charles F. Kennel is distinguished professor and director emeritus at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA.]
THE NEW YORK TIMES
The World’s Hot Spot (August 19, 2015) Unrelenting heat, drought, and lack of potable water are more likely than insurgents and militant attacks to bring down civil society in the Middle East. So says New York Times columnist and author Thomas Friedman in his August 19 OP-ED. Can you imagine a heat index of 163 degrees (Fahrenheit) or no electricity for more than a few hours daily to air condition sweltering buildings? While we dither, the planet is cooking and good old Mother Nature is getting the upper hand. Friedman’s OP-ED is a must-read, and will be added to our “Resources” page (on our main web page) as a powerful reminder that the planet’s climate (and climate change) is a more formidable foe than AK47’s. Read Tom Friedman’s The World’s Hot Spot