COP24 starts today, the IPCC has published new scientific evidence on the devastating impacts of climate change, the probability that those changes will be manageable are decreasing, and, once again, there is a stalemate in international climate negotiations. Time is running out fast - or more appropriately, as UNFCCC Executive Secretary Espinosa stressed, time is a luxury we no longer have. So, actually the question is how soon is now?
Or, in other words, can we turn our attention during the climate conference more towards the approaches that the climate community is already delivering on today instead of getting lost in the details of the “Paris Rulebook”, which should be one of the major outcomes of the negotiations in Katowice?
No doubt, the rules to be agreed will be another milestone in the young history of the Paris Agreement, but it requires some fantasy to imagine how more than 300 pages of draft text can be transformed into a document to guide implementation. In the meantime, it may be worth watching out for some good news on the negotiations corridors in Poland about the ideas needed to flesh out the Paris architecture.
This is especially important looking to 2019 when countries need to come up with ambitious ideas for their updated emission reductions pledges to contribute to closing the emissions gap outlined by the just published UNEP report: “According to scenarios factoring in current policy and NDC’s, global emissions are not estimated to peak by 2030, let alone by 2020.” Another reason to point out that action now does really mean now - and not soon.
Intelligence analysts have agreed since the late 80s that climate change poses serious security risks. A series of authoritative governmental and non-governmental analyses over more than three decades lays a strong foundation for concern over climate change implications for national security.
Originally planned as a demonstration against fuel tax hikes, the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) revolts have sparked national and global debates. Some view the demonstrations as part of a rising anti-climate movement, while others draw parallels between the protests and demands for more climate action.
2019 has only just begun, but it is already hard to imagine that there will be other extreme weather events with disastrous consequences such as cyclone Idai happening again this year. In all likelihood, such events will continue to occur as 2019 rolls on. Idai is, once more, proof of how devastating and toxic the mix of climate change, extreme weather events and poverty can be: Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe – countries that rank low in human development but contribute very little to global greenhouse gas emissions – suffer from some of the worst impacts of climate change.
adelphi has relaunched its exhibition Environment, Conflict and Cooperation (ECC) Exhibition to illustrate how unprecedented environmental changes interact with social, political, and economic risks to exacerbate conflict. We invite you to explore our online exhibition and to learn more about urgent issues of our time: climate, energy, migration, extractives, food and water.