The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21 or CMP 11) in Paris was held from 30 November to 12 December 2015. The organising committee set the objective of this conference to achieve a universal and binding agreement on climate from all nations of the world. The International Trade Union Confederation has called for the goal to be “zero carbon, zero poverty”, and the general secretary Sharan Burrow has repeated that there are “no jobs on a dead planet”.
The participating countries (almost 200), agreed to a final draft of a pact to reduce emissions. This is one part of the method of reducing greenhouse gas. The members agreed to reduce their carbon output and aim to keep global warming below 2 degree Celsius.
- Cut emissions: All countries have pledges setting out how they plan to limit their emissions in the 2020s.
- Prevent rise in global temperature: A target for global emissions reductions required by 2050 to prevent 2 degree Celsius of global warming.
- Holding countries to account: A clear framework for measuring whether countries are actually carrying out the emissions cuts they have promised.
- Increasing pledges in future: A mechanism to make countries come back and agree to deeper national emissions cuts.
- Finance: An agreement that developed nations will help developing countries with the costs of going green, and the costs of coping with the effects of climate change.
The target commits all participants to decarbonise their electricity, abolish fossil fuels for cooking and heating and converting cars to electric. This will cost significant amount of money and is not clear yet how to achieve with issues of alternative energy sources (wind turbines and solar power, a fossil fuel back would be needed if there is no wind or sun). However, it has also been identified by a great economic opportunity by some parties.
It’s encouraging that governments all over the world realise the necessity to do something and agree on actions together. With almost 200 countries involved it’s the first time it happens on this scale.
Now it’s up to us to decide: Do we let them handle it by themselves and leave the fate of our planet to them? Or do we take responsibility and see what we can do about it ourselves?
We could compare this to a state pension – it is about our future after all: Do you want to solely rely on your government to provide you a pension one day? And will it enough? Or will you get additional cover to make sure you will have everything you need in the future?