The countries of Latin America will flock to sign the Paris Agreement, in what will be a simple act of protocol with huge political implications: it is the spark that will ignite actions to curb global warming.
The agreement reached in December, 2015 at the 21st Conference of the Parties under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is a major step forward in dealing with the challenge of climate change. The very fact that almost every country in the world signed off on this agreement is a major achievement, credit for which must go in substantial measure to the Government of France and its leadership. However, in scientific terms, while this agreement certainly brings all the Parties together in moving ahead, in itself the commitments that have been made under the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) are quite inadequate for limiting temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius by the end of this century relative to pre-industrial levels.
Residents of Rocky Point, a sleepy fishing village on Jamaica’s south coast, woke up one July morning this year to flooded streets and yards. The sea had washed some 200 metres inland, flooding drains and leaving knee-deep water on the streets and inside people’s home, a result of high tides and windy conditions.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet says the climate summit in Paris “is not the end of a process but a beginning,” and that it will produce “an agreement that, although insufficient with respect to the original goal, shows that people believe it is better to move ahead than to stand still.”
Eight of the world’s leading economies will double their renewable energy supply by 2030 if they live up to their pledges to contribute to curbing global warming, which will be included in the new climate treaty.
For decades, the countries of Central America have borne the heavy impact of extreme climate phenomena like hurricanes and severe drought. Now, six of them are demanding that the entire planet recognise their climate vulnerability.
Seen for years as passive actors in the fight against global warming, more than 100 countries of the Global South have submitted their national contributions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonising their economies.
After a difficult infancy, the Green Climate Fund is finally getting some legs. The big question now is what direction it will toddle off in.
When the international climate change talks ended in Peru last December, the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM), a political and economic union comprising small, developing, climate-vulnerable islands and low-lying nations, left with “the bare minimum necessary to continue the process to address climate change”.
After a 25-hour extension, delegates from 195 countries reached agreement on a “bare minimum” of measures to combat climate change, and postponed big decisions on a new treaty until the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21), to be held in a year’s time in Paris.
Snow-capped mountains may become a thing of the past in Peru, which has 70 percent of the world’s tropical glaciers. And farmers in these ecosystems are having a hard time adapting to the higher temperatures, while the governments of 195 countries are wrapping up the climate change talks in Lima without addressing this situation facing the host country.
The magnitude of the climate changes brought about by global warming and the alterations in rainfall patterns are modifying the geography of food production in the tropics, warned participants at the climate summit in the Peruvian capital.
Despite international acknowledgement that women are disproportionately affected by climate change, the Lima climate negotiations have been slow to deliver progress on recognising their importance, while threats of pushback loom on the horizon.
Packed into stifling meeting rooms in the Peruvian capital, delegates from 195 countries are trying to find a path that would make it possible for the planet to reach climate neutrality in the second half of this century – the only way to avoid irreversible damage, scientists warn.
The clamor of indigenous peoples for recognition of their ancestral lands resounded among the delegates of 195 countries at the climate summit taking place in the Peruvian capital. “I want my land…that’s where I live and eat, and it’s where my saintly grandparents lie,” Diana Ríos shouted with rage.