Despair, lack of progress at climate talks, yet hope blooms, as global appetite for action grows – but do these changes mean the world is not as fragile as feared?
In late November, delegates gather in Paris for climate change negotiations. They seek an agreement on how the world can take action to curb emissions and adapt to the inevitable effects of global warming. But the outcome remains far from certain, and some feel that the efforts that are on the table so far are not adequate. “I am in for a difficult journey,” says former US Vice President Al Gore. In Australia, the prime minister, Tony Abbott, dismisses the climate conference: “The science is settled.”
Somewhere between the Paris conference and its conclusion, however, events are on track to move the world closer to an agreement that could be the basis for a future global treaty to curb emissions and save the planet from the worst consequences of climate change.
A draft text of the agreement has been approved by the 196th meeting of the UN general assembly, which opens on Monday. “A historic moment is upon us,” says the president of the COP (Conference of the Parties). By the end of the year, the text will be further reviewed and debated at the 192nd meeting of the world environmental summit, to be held in Brazil in December. Even so, some say that it could be the starting gun for a new wave of international action on the climate.
On December 17, the New York Times has published a leaked draft of an international climate treaty drafted by dozens of countries, including Germany, China, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Brazil and Morocco. In short, it pledges that, by 2050, the world will need to reduce emissions by 60-70 percent from where they are today. In addition, it demands that the rich emit no more greenhouse gas emissions than the poorest. At its heart are the emission targets of the UN. To meet the goals, developing countries would need to raise their emissions – by between 0