Editor’s letter by Lisa: Thoughts from Paris
Lisa Corneliusson wanders the parks of Paris and thinks about the coming UN climate conference.
Lisa in Parc Belleville today and Angela Merkel, Barack Obama and some random folks (ehehe) during the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009.
After two work-heavy days here in Paris, I decided to take a walk. I started by Jim Morrison’s grave in Père Lachaise via Parc Belleville, close to where I’m staying, walked on to Parc Belleville to get a peek of the Eiffel Tower without having to visit it, got a perfect coffee at Cream, kept on to Parc de Buttes-Chaumont and finally settled at Cafe Lomi in 18th, where I’m sitting right now (with another cup of perfect coffee).
It was a chilly walk. I lingered in Parc Belleville under the trees, green, red, yellow.
And I thought about the UN climate summit taking place here in Paris in a little more than a month. It’s on everyone’s lips, at least the lips of people working with questions of sustainability. From 30 November to 11 December, governments of more than 190 nations will meet here to discuss a possible new agreement on global change. The old agreements are reaching their end date. It’s also a fact that the global climate conferences of late have a very messy history. From the convention in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro (where all countries agreed on ”taking action to avoid dangerous climate change” but did not specify how), the 1997 Kyoto protocol (which put the negotiations to a near-halt), the 2007 Bali drama (pushing the US to sign a deal) and the 2009 Copenhagen agreement (where most countries agreed for the first time to limit greenhouse gas emissions, but no legally-binded, UN adopted treaty was signed, and everyone was angry with China).
It’s an urgent matter: all countries have to agree on a plan to keep global warming below 2°C. If we don’t, we may very well ”pass the threshold beyond which global warming becomes catastrophic and irreversible” (source).
Agreeing on an all-binding treaty is considered a huge achievement, even, a miracle. One of the issues are, surprise!, that of finance. Poorer countries want richer countries to help them invest in technology that allows them to cut emissions. The richer countries don’t want that. Also, it’s generally believed that to achieve the below 2°C, actors outside the UN (non-state actors such as business) must be engaged.
It sure is messy and complicated. But more important than… anything.
I strongly suggest reading this rundown by The Guardian, about what’s happening at Paris 2015 and why it’s important.
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