|Saudi King Salman bin Abdulazi|
Black gold hemorrhage
From riches to rags
End of the road
Last weekend, representatives of 195 countries reached a landmark accord in Paris to lower planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. On Tuesday, local leaders in San Diego committed to making a city-size dent in the problem.
With a unanimous City Council vote, San Diego, the country’s eighth-largest city, became the largest American municipality to transition to using 100 percent renewable energy, including wind and solar power. In the wake of the Paris accord, environmental groups hailed the move as both substantive and symbolic.
Other big cities, including New York and San Francisco, have said they intend to use more renewable energy, but San Diego is the first of them to make the pledge legally binding. Under the ordinance, it has committed to completing its transition and cutting its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2035.
The steps to get there may include transferring some control of power management to the city from the local utility. Officials said they would also shift half of the city’s fleet to electric vehicles by 2020 and recycle 98 percent of the methane produced by sewage and water treatment plants.
The mayor, Kevin L. Faulconer, said San Diego’s ocean, sunshine and other environmental attributes were “in our fabric, our DNA, who we are.”
The City Council is controlled by Democrats, but Mr. Faulconer is a Republican. He sold the plan to a conservative business base in part by saying that transforming the electric grid would drive the economy and create jobs.
“It’s not a partisan issue at all,” he said. “It’s about putting a marker down. It’s the right thing to do.”
Many details have yet to be determined, including how the new power sources will be delivered and managed. But the mayor said the key first step was to commit to a goal — to “make sure we set it and hold to it.”
The San Diego ordinance has been years in the making. But Nicole Capretz, an author of an earlier draft and now an environmental advocate, characterized it as a concrete step in the direction set by world leaders in Paris.
“We’re responding to that call,” Ms. Capretz said. “It’s up to cities to blaze new trails. We’re just laying out the pathway for how to get these massive reductions worldwide.”
Under the Paris accord, nations offered general, nonbinding plans to reduce their carbon emissions.
Officials in the United States envision reaching the nation’s goals mainly through higher fuel-economy standards for cars and a move to cleaner sources of electrical power, something states could help oversee.
This is where the actions of a city like San Diego fit in. As the city moves to renewable energy, the State of California can begin to build its bank of carbon reductions and contribute to global goals.
Evan Gillespie, director of the Sierra Club’s clean energy campaign in California, estimated that San Diego’s plan would lead to an annual reduction of seven million metric tons of greenhouse gases, a contribution to California’s broader effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
Those targets are California’s own — passed by a state government that is seen as one of the most ambitious on climate change, and that is as influential as many countries given its size — and not set by the federal government.
Ms. Capretz, who wrote a version of the plan for Mr. Faulconer’s predecessor, said that much of the earlier version remained in the measure adopted Tuesday.
Echoing the mayor, she said she expected that much of the renewable energy would come from solar power. “We’re sunny in San Diego, so we’re counting on a lot of homegrown solar on rooftops and parking lots,” she said.
Mr. Gillespie said San Diego had laid down a challenge to other cities. “We need others to see this and say, ‘Game on,’ ” he added. “We need places like Los Angeles, like San Francisco and New York, to step up.” More
The Cayman Islands must set more aggressive targets on increasing renewable energy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the light of the Paris agreement on climate change, green energy advocates have said.
The Paris climate deal, hailed as an historic feat of international diplomacy, established a commitment from 195 countries to contain planet-warming carbon emissions.
Cayman, as a British territory, was not involved in the talks and is not a direct signatory to the agreement, which set a goal of reducing global temperature rises to less than 2C. The final submissions to the agreement are not enforceable and carry no consequences.
However. James Whittaker, president of the Cayman Renewable Energy Association, said the Paris accord represents a “paradigm shift” in the international approach to climate change and suggested Cayman would have to get on board.
Tim Austin, deputy director of the Department of Environment, said the National Conservation Council is also pushing for clearer and more ambitious targets.
A draft national energy policy, published in 2013, sets a goal that 13.5 percent of electricity sold should be generated from renewable sources by 2030. It also targets a 19 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to a “business as usual scenario.”
Mr. Whittaker said the Paris agreement, referred to as COP 21, represents an international consensus that far more radical action is needed. He said Cayman’s targets on renewable energy are among the least ambitious of any country.
While Cayman’s net contribution to climate change is negligible, the territory is among the highest producers of carbon emissions per capita in the world, according to Mr. Austin.
Mr. Whittaker, added, “I believe COP 21 sets ambitious climate change benchmarks globally and it clearly suggests that Cayman must take a more aggressive approach to adopting renewable energy and reducing our carbon emissions. This is something CREA have been telling the government for some time now. That said, it still doesn’t appear the decision-makers in government are yet paying attention to the critical issues of renewable energy and carbon reduction.”
He added, “I am cautiously optimistic that the government will finally wake up and realize that this paradigm shift is happening all over the world for a reason and will start to ensure it happens in Cayman soon.”
Mr. Austin said the Cayman Islands could request to be included in commitments coming out of the agreement.
“At the moment, the U.K. does not push out those climate agreements to its territories, but this could potentially change with Cayman’s recent request to the U.K. government to include Cayman in its second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol (2013-2020).
“The National Conservation Council is currently working on a climate change policy and would like to see clearer, more ambitious targets, in line with what the U.K. has signed up to.”
He said the Paris summit represents a significant milestone in gaining an international consensus that something needs to be done to curb the amounts of CO2 going into the atmosphere and limit the consequences of global warming.
Mr. Austin said the ambitious targets set in Paris were driven, in part, by small-island states concerned about the consequences of climate change.
|Tim Austin - DOE|
In 2009, the Maldives, one of the flattest countries on Earth, held a Cabinet meeting underwater in scuba gear as a stunt to generate publicity for the consequences of not acting on the issue.
Cayman’s position is less grave, but Mr. Austin warns that with the majority of Cayman’s population and major infrastructure located a short distance from the coastline, increasing storm intensity and flood risk present a potentially significant challenge.
He said the impact of climate change is already evident on coral reefs around Cayman.
Mr. Whittaker said Cayman’s size should not stop it from doing its part.
“While our aggregate emissions are small compared to large economies, we emit a lot of carbon per capita on this little island. I believe it’s a hypocritical and shortsighted position to just let the rest of the world handle it when we are expecting others to do things we are not willing to do ourselves.
“We need to show leadership here, regionally and globally. If we expect the world to change we have to be part of that change.” More
George Monbiot superbly sums up the talks, saying: “By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster.”
|The Path From Paris|
He writes that: “A maximum of 1.5C, now an aspirational and unlikely target, was eminently achievable when the first UN climate change conference took place in Berlin in 1995. Two decades of procrastination, caused by lobbying – overt, covert and often downright sinister – by the fossil fuel lobby, coupled with the reluctance of governments to explain to their electorates that short-term thinking has long-term costs, ensure that the window of opportunity is now three-quarters shut. The talks in Paris are the best there have ever been. And that is a terrible indictment.””
Here is 350’s Bill McKibben, following up on the Avaaz positive clarion call to arms with a powerful article in today’s Guardian titled ‘Climate deal: the pistol has fired, so why aren’t we running?’
“With the climate talks in Paris now over, the world has set itself a serious goal: limit temperature rise to 1.5C. Or failing that, 2C. Hitting those targets is absolutely necessary: even the one-degree rise that we’ve already seen is wreaking havoc on everything from ice caps to ocean chemistry. But meeting it won’t be easy, given that we’re currently on track for between 4C and 5C. Our only hope is to decisively pick up the pace . . . the only important question, is: how fast . . .
“You’ve got to stop fracking right away (in fact, that may be the greatest imperative of all, since methane gas does its climate damage so fast). You have to start installing solar panels and windmills at a breakneck pace – and all over the world. The huge subsidies doled out to fossil fuel have to end yesterday, and the huge subsidies to renewable energy had better begin tomorrow. You have to raise the price of carbon steeply and quickly, so everyone gets a clear signal to get off of it . . .
“The world’s fossil fuel companies still have five times the carbon we can burn and have any hope of meeting even the 2C target – and they’re still determined to burn it. The Koch Brothers will spend $900m on this year’s American elections. As we know from the ongoing Exxon scandal, there’s every reason to think that this industry will lie at every turn in an effort to hold on to their power –
What this boils down to is not an issue of National Security, but of Global Security, of Planetary Security. The huge subsidies doled out to fossil fuel companies must be clawed back and put towards the Clean Energy Agenda. This is particularly an issue given what we know from the ongoing Exxon scandal, there’s every reason to think that this industry will lie at every turn unless made to pay for their endangerment of humanity.
We have to raise the price of carbon steeply and quickly and use this income to mitigate and sequester carbon in the atmosphere.
Kevin Anderson concludes that we have to make: “Fundamental changes to the political and economic framing of contemporary society. This is a mitigation challenge far beyond anything discussed in Paris – yet without it our well-intended aspirations will all too soon wither and die on the vine. We owe our children, our planet and ourselves more than that. So let Paris be the catalyst for a new paradigm – one in which we deliver a sustainable, equitable and prosperous future for all.”
We must remember that the Montreal Treaty did work. Kofi Annan, Former Secretary General of the United Nations stated "Perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date has been the Montreal Protocol" Remember; "It always seems impossible until it's done" Nelson Mandela. More
Please go to Gaia: Defenders of Biodirversity to sign the letter
Building on solid, scientific documentation and concrete-getions on the ground, the "4%o Initiative: soils for food security and climate" aims to show that food security and combating climate climate are complementary and to ensure that agriculture provides sblutions to climate change.
This initiative consists of a voluntary action plan under the Lima Paris Agenda for Action (LPAA), backed up by a strong and ambitious research program.
The "4%o" Initiative aims to improve the organic matter content and promote carbon sequestration in soils through the application of agricultural practices adapted to local situations both economically, environmentally and socially, such as agro-ecology, agroforestry, conservation agriculture and landscape management.
* The Initiative engages stakeholders in a transition towards a productive, resilient agriculture, based on a sustainable soil management and generating jobs and incomes, hence ensuring sustainable development.
* Thanks to its high level of ambition, this Initiative is part of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda and contributes to the sustainable development goals to reach a land-degradation neutral world.
* All the stakeholders commit together in a voluntary action plan to implement farming practices
that maintain or enhance soil carbon stock on as many agricultural soils as possible and to preserve carbon-rich soils. Every stakeholder commits on an objective, actions (including soil carbon stock management and other accompanying measures, for example index-based insurance, payment for ecosystem services, and so on), a time-line and resources.
The Initiative aims to send out a strong signal concerning the potential of agriculture to contribute to the long-term objective of a carbon-neutral economy.
Our capacity to feed 9.5 billion people in 2050 in a context of climate change will depend in particular on our ability to keep our soils alive. The health of soils, for which sufficient organic matter is the main indicator, strongly controls agricultural production. Stable and productive soils affect the resilience of farms to cope with the effects of climate change.
Primarily composed of carbon, the organic matter in soils plays a role in four important ecosystem services: resistance to soil erosion, soil water retention, soil fertility for plants and soil biodiversity.
Even small changes of the soil carbon pool have tremendous effects both on agricultural productivity and on greenhouse gas balance.
Maintaining organic carbon-rich soils, restoring and improving degraded agricultural lands and, in general terms, increasing the soil carbon, play an important role in addressing the three-fold challenge of food security, adaptation of food systems and people to climate change, and the mitigation of anthropogenic emissions. To achieve this, concrete solutions do exist and need to be scaled up. More
BEHCHOKO, Northwest Territories, Canada, Oct 26 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Daniel T’seleie, an indigenous activist in Canada’s far north, is campaigning to help his people wean themselves from a worrying dependence on imported fuel and food, recover old traditions and win greater autonomy from the government.
In a region with nearly 24 hours of daylight in the summer, one way to help meet his goals seems obvious: more solar power.
“Right now a lot of communities in the Northwest Territories are dependent on diesel-generated electricity, along with store-bought food,” said T’seleie in an open air interview near Behchoko, a clutch of small wooden houses nestled along the shores of Great Slave Lake.
Standing beside spindly jack pine trees growing from thin soil on the hard granite rock that covers much of northern Canada, T’seleie sees renewable energy as the force which could respond to the region’s complex, intertwined challenges.
Canada’s north is particularly vulnerable to global warming, which is making it harder for indigenous people to continue their traditions of hunting and trapping on the land, as ice sheets melt and caribou herds collapse.
And although indigenous people want what they call a “nation to nation” relationship with the Canadian government, they largely depend on it for diesel fuel in order to keep warm.
By harnessing renewable energy, T’seleie believes indigenous communities could gain more freedom from the state and revive ancient cultural practices, while doing their part to combat climate change which is hitting them particularly hard.
“Any way that communities can produce energy at a local level produces independence,” said the 34-year-old, sporting a baseball cap and jeans, the informal dress common in Canada’s rugged north.
The Northwest Territories has seen a surge in the use of solar power over the last five years, after the regional government spent about $50 million to boost renewable energy production and improve efficiency, said Jim Sparling, the territory’s senior climate change manager.
“On a per capita basis, we are second only to Ontario (Canada’s most populous province) for installed solar capacity,” Sparling told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in the territorial capital Yellowknife.
The huge and sparsely populated northern territory has fewer than 50,000 residents, about half of whom are indigenous, many from the Dene Nation, a tribal people who traditionally hunt caribou.
Solar power still represents a fairly small part of its energy consumption, though the level is rising, said Sparling.
Private individuals and companies in the territory are also installing solar panels on their own to try and bring down their energy bills and cut dependence on imports, he said.
That combination of rising use of renewable and better energy efficiency has allowed the province to hold its climate-changing emissions stable at 2005 levels despite a rise in the population and a growing economy, Sparling said.
The territorial government plans to be part of a Canadian delegation going to Paris for a U.N. climate summit in December, aimed at reaching a new global agreement on climate change.
Average temperatures in parts of the northern territory have already risen more than 3 degrees from pre-industrial levels, Sparling said.
Scientists say average world temperatures should not rise more 2 degrees if the world is to avoid the worst disasters associated with global warming.
“We have to scale up the ambition,” Sparling said. “We are very vulnerable if this problem gets worse.”
North of the Arctic Circle, the village of Colville Lake, with fewer than 200 residents, is in the midst of a major switch from diesel power to solar.
Last year, the mostly indigenous community faced weekly power outages. But after a new solar power system was set-up, the area is now nearly self sufficient in electricity production during summer months when the sun shines almost round the clock.
It still needs to import fuel for the winter, but officials believe the new investments will lead to a 30 percent drop in diesel consumption, helping the environment and saving money.
Other small northern towns are looking to mimic the project to save cash and allow people to maintain traditional lifestyles by being less dependent on expensive imports.
“In the last 10 to 15 years there has been a huge push from (indigenous) communities to try and support themselves,” said Ashlee Cunsolo Willox, an indigenous studies professor at Cape Breton University and a researcher on climate change impacts.
As global warming leads to the thinning of Arctic sea ice and changes in the habits of northern animals, the region’s indigenous inhabitants are struggling to adapt their lifestyles while holding onto old traditions, she said.
The caribou population has collapsed in parts of the territory in a development experts link to climate change, and melting ice makes it harder for hunters to navigate the land in search of other animals to hunt.
“The north is the fastest changing geography in the world,” Cunsolo Willox said in a phone interview. “There is a lot of concern that traditional knowledge and skills will be lost with climate change.”
OLD TRADITIONS, NEW TECHNOLOGIES
Building greater self sufficiency - including by adapting cleaner, cheaper energy - may be a strategy for holding onto the old ways, activists say.
T’seleie, a law school graduate, said he previously tried to work through Canada’s court system and treaty negotiations to win greater autonomy for his people, after what he considers years of colonial abuses.
In the 1920s, Canadian colonial administrators declared the government’s aim was to “get rid of the Indian problem” by ending indigenous cultural practices, corralling the population into reserves and forcing aboriginal children into grim residential schools.
Canada’s government signed treaties with many indigenous groups, often in return for political support during periods of conflict, granting them access to parts of the land they once controlled and other benefits.
But many legal scholars and historians say the government did not honor those agreements in good faith.
After becoming disillusioned with the legal process, T’seleie decided working towards greater self-sufficiency in food and energy was the best way forward.
T’seleie is part of the first generation of indigenous people not forced to attend residential schools usually run by religious groups in other parts of Canada which took children from their parents, and forced them to speak English rather than native languages as a means of assimilation.
Sexual and physical abuse were rife at the institutions, the government now admits following years of litigation.
Health experts and indigenous leaders believe the legacy from these schools - including that many parents never learned how to raise children, as they were taken from their own parents - partially explain high rates of substance abuse, family violence and poverty in some indigenous communities.
Allowing people to stay on their ancestral land, continuing hunting and trapping practices, and learning stories and traditions from community elders are key to overcoming these problems, said Cunsolo Willox.
To support traditional practices and allow indigenous communities to live off the land as they have done for centuries, they need access to renewable energy, T’seleie said.
“A huge aspect of our lives, culture and language is lost when we can’t be on the land,” he said. “For me, that’s one of the biggest threats of climate change.” More
Russian military intervention in Syria has expanded considerably over the past month and may accelerate further if the destruction of Metrojet Flight 9628 over Sinai is proved to be the work of Islamic State (IS).
|Russian and American representatives meet to discuss the situation in Syria on September 29, 2015|
The US-led coalition against IS in Syria is meanwhile steadily losing its active members, even as the US escalates its bombing campaign and declares a greater willingness to deploy Special Forces units inside Syria. While the UK prevaricates on its involvement within Syria, Israel has launched new attacks on Hezbollah there and Turkey pursues its own interests against IS and Kurdish factions alike. The risks of accidental escalation between these disparate actors is rising as the complexity of the war grows.
The October briefing reported a number of developments in the war in Syria, including the Russian intervention, a likely extension of the US-led air war and a change in US strategy towards arming opposition groups in preference to training them. Perhaps most significantly there were revised US intelligence estimates indicating that Islamic State (IS) was gaining new recruits in Syria and Iraq at a rate more than compensating for the heavy losses caused by the air strikes in both countries.
This briefing provides an updated analysis based on developments since mid-October as they apply to Syria in particular. Its main focus is on two developments early in November. One was the criticism of UK policy towards Syria by the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nicholas Houghton, who argued that the UK was letting its allies down by not joining in the air strikes against IS in Syria. The second was the destruction on 31 October of a Russian charter airliner shortly after it began a flight from Sharm el-Sheikh in southern Sinai to St Petersburg, killing all 224 passengers and crew.
The comments of General Houghton caused some concern as they were paralleled by a more controversial expression of opposition to the views of the new Labour Party Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, over the Trident nuclear weapons system. There has been concern that General Houghton has strayed too far into the political dimension with his Trident-related comments, but this has been less the case in relation to his views on attacking Syria in that there is already cross-party opposition to that policy.
What General Houghton’s comments have done is to focus attention on the nature of the air war in Syria which has involved nine coalition partners: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Morocco, Jordan, Canada and the United States plus, since September, Australia and France. Although the US has carried out around 95% of the attacks, the presence of a range of other countries has added weight to the idea of a united, broadly based and multinational coalition opposing IS in Syria.
The reality is actually quite different as six of the nine coalition partners have ceased undertaking air strikes in the past nine months, although some may still be involved in support operations. Bahrain ceased air strike operations nine months ago, the UAE and Morocco eight months ago, Jordan three months ago and Saudi Arabia just two months ago. These countries are all now more actively involved in their war in Yemen. The fifth country, Canada, under new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, is withdrawing from all air strike operations over Syria and Iraq.
Of the remaining coalition partners, France is reported to have carried out just two air strikes over Syria with all of the rest of the 270 attacks being over Iraq. Finally, Australia’s air force has undertaken 434 air strikes but up to 2 October had only undertaken two attacks in Syria before pausing in its operations when Russia started its intervention. Belgium and Denmark also pulled out their fighter-bombers from operations over Iraq in July and September respectively.
To all intents and purposes, the air war that has evolved over Syria is now a US operation with minimal involvement from western allies and no operations being undertaken by regional allies. There certainly is an increased intensity of air strikes against IS in Syria but this is entirely down to increased US operations, especially from the Turkish base at Incirlik, less than 30 minutes flight from IS-controlled territory in northern Syria. It is thus fast becoming an American war and this may explain General Houghton’s concern, bearing in mind that it makes it far easier for IS propagandists to portray their role as being the guardians of Islam under persistent attack by the “far enemy” of the United States and its western allies.
Meanwhile, Russian air operations continue although at a lower level than those of the United States. The great majority continue to be against the opponents of the Assad regime and are serving to ensure that those areas of north west Syria that are strongly supportive of the regime are secure from opponents. There are occasional Russian air strikes against IS targets and, while these are of little military consequence, their political significance could be considerable following the destruction of the Russian airliner over Sinai. More
While much of the attention on a historic Paris climate meeting in the coming weeks will focus on the confounding task of trying to keep global warming below 2°C, or 3.6°F, a battle over another goal — one that has been forgotten by many — will be playing out in the negotiating halls.
|SIDS are at risk from SLR|
Delegates representing island states and others whose homelands are most threatened by rising seas will be pushing for the formal adoption of a long-overlooked goal, one that limits warming to less than 1.5°C, or 2.7°F.
Such a goal would be an ambitious one. Some negotiators and onlookers already seem to have given up hope of limiting warming to less than 2°C, much less 1.5°C. Fossil fuel burning, deforestation and other climate-changing hallmarks of industrialization have elevated temperatures 1°C since the 19th century, pushing tides up more than 8 inches. Pledges submitted by nations ahead of the meeting to take steps to slow climate change could yet allow warming to soar to 3°C or more.
The longing by low-lying nations to limit warming to 1.5°C has been overshadowed since 2010 by a preoccupation by many with the less ambitious goal. On Wednesday, the U.N. released the latest report to confirm that goal — to limit warming to 2°C, compared with preindustrial times — could be reached through massive globally cooperative efforts that overhaul energy supply chains and reform farming and forest management.
“We definitely think that staying below 2 degrees is still very possible,” Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, told reporters as the report was released. “Getting down to the range of 1.5 should not be taken off the table either.”
When climate delegates agreed during meetings in Copenhagen in 2009 that “the increase in global temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius,” they also agreed that a study would be completed by 2015 comparing the effects of that goal with an alternative one of curbing temperature rises to 1.5°C. During talks a year later, negotiators agreed to consider tightening the 2°C goal to 1.5°C in the “near future.”
Ahead of what could be history’s most highly anticipated round of climate negotiations, the governments of the countries that are most vulnerable to sea level rise believe that future time has arrived.
The study called for in Copenhagen was published by the U.N. in May, based on interviews with some 70 experts. It concluded that adopting the 1.5°C alternative would be technically feasible, and that meeting it would come with a “high likelihood of meaningful differences” compared with allowing earth to warm by 2°C.
“The scientific finding is that 2 degrees is not enough,” said Ronny Jumeau, a U.N. ambassador from the Seychelles who will negotiate on behalf of small island states during the two-week round of Paris talks, which begin in two weeks. “1.5 is what the low-lying, small island developing states need for their survival.”
The May report warned of the “high” risks that would accompany 2°C of warming, including crop failures, floods, extreme weather events that jeopardize health, and “mass coral bleaching.” But it also pointed out that “there would be significant residual impacts even with 1.5°C of warming.”
It concluded that “most” species would be able to keep up with climate change if warming is kept below 1.5°C. It found, bleakly optimistically, that “up to half of coral reefs may remain” if the planet warms 1.5°C, that sea level rise “may remain below” 3.3 feet, ocean acidification impacts “would stay at moderate levels,” and that it would be easier for communities to adapt to climate change — especially farmers.
Strategies for limiting warming to 1.5°C by century’s end “are similar to those limiting warming to 2°C,” the report noted. It concluded that such strategies would involve “more immediate” actions and “an additional scaling-up” of clean energy and of any technology that captures and stores carbon dioxide pollution, such as at coal power plants.
The conclusions from the May report were consistent with the views of leading scientists.
“To limit warming to 1.5°C, we would not only have to bring carbon emissions down dramatically, but likely would need to employ expensive carbon capture technology,” Penn State meteorology professor Michael Mann said. “Even the deployment of this technology would be cheaper than allowing the damages of allowing global warming to proceed.”
Mark Jacobson, a Stanford University professor whose research focuses on clean energy, said that a radical enough global switch from fossil fuels to clean energy alternatives could be enough to limit warming to less than 1.5°C — even without the need for carbon capture or nuclear power technologies.
Still, the islanders’ quest to adopt the forgotten temperature goal at global climate talks is coinciding with a growing fatigue among some experts over what they see as an overemphasis on the 2°C goal. The goal is an oblique one, since rising temperatures are one of the long-term knock-on effects of rising levels of greenhouse gas pollution.
“There’s too much talk about goals,” said Harvard University economics professor Robert Stavins, who follows the climate talks. He said it would be better to focus on how to increase the ambition of more than 100 national climate pledges under the hoped-for Paris agreement.
But Jumeau of the Seychelles pointed out that a 1.5°C goal would be achievable, and that adopting and meeting it would benefit rich coastal nations as well as those whose existences may be threatened by rising seas.
“It’s not just about the islands, it’s about New York, it’s about New Orleans, it’s about London, it’s about Venice,” Jumeau said. “There is no way we can compromise on 1.5.” More