This post is sourced from The Tree which is a service provided for climate communicators and influencers involved in public discourse on climate change, global warming and the transition to a clean energy platform. Title of post – The Paris Agreement is Now Official. Now What? (Rolly Montpellier~Editor for BoomerWarrior).

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Credit: THENONE/WIRED

Now What?

The Paris Agreement negotiated by 197 countries in France last year is now official with the full force of international law, well ahead of all expectations. This treaty’s “entry into force” (on November 4) will shape the way that governments, cities, investors and businesses tackle global warming over the decades to come.

And as the last year has shown it is already speeding the transition away from fossil fuels towards clean, sustainable energy systems. And the sooner the better for a world that has again notched up another hottest year record. Increasingly, vast populations are now suffering from air pollution, the world’s greatest environmental health risk, along with more frequent extreme weather events.

The challenge for Governments now is to use this collective momentum to cement needed actions, and a golden opportunity awaits at the UN climate negotiations set to kick off  in Marrakech.

For the first time, the world will meet to start writing the rulebook that will guide the international community to a future safe from threatening climate change. The Paris Agreement outlines a regular, clear and mandatory process for countries to incrementally increase and strengthen their climate actions every five years. COP22 must outline clear expectations on how countries will increase ambition by 2020.

Countries must submit their long-term strategies which will be tied to sustainable development goals and national planning. These plans are crucial to unlock new investment opportunities and redirect finance into climate-friendly initiatives.

Not A Question of Billions, It’s A Question of Trillions

The issue of finance remains sticky. While a roadmap to 100 billion has been delivered ahead of the negotiations – another sign of political momentum – there are still some significant gaps. Rich countries can help bridge some of these in Marrakech by committing to double climate finance to help communities adapt to the ongoing impacts of global warming.

Loss and damage also remains a key issue, reaffirming the need for a 1.5°C goal and addressing the needs of the most vulnerable. The impacts of climate change are being felt by the poorest communities, in particular small island nations and other tropical coastal countries, whose very existence is under threat. Decisive action and explicit commitments on ratcheting up ambition are needed now in order to limit warming to 1.5°C.

Human Health

Human health is also once again a key issue around the negotiations, with landmark reports out this week showing air pollution is responsible for the deaths of 600,000 children under the age of five annually. Furthermore, 300 million children around the world are living in areas subject to extreme levels of toxic fumes. This puts all Governments on notice that dangerous emissions from dirty energy sources such as coal-fired power stations cannot continue unabated.

Accelerating the transition away from fossil fuels is the only way to prevent a global children’s health crisis and ‘an avoidable human tragedy’.

The World Health Organisation and UNICEF have now thrown their weight behind the renewable energy transition which could save 100,000 lives a year in China, create 470,000 clean jobs in the US and save the EU $33billion a year in dirty energy imports.

Political Recognition

The Paris Agreement — entering into force in time for next week’s UN climate conference —  is political recognition of a change that is already well underway. The clean energy transition is not just well underway, it’s unstoppable and accelerating. Legally locking-in the Paris Agreement with almost unprecedented speed is yet another strong signal to business and investors that have moved into clean, sustainable models that they did the right thing.

In the last 18 months alone the global rate of decarbonisation has doubled. Now even oil majors are seeking to back renewable energy in a cynical or possibly desperate roll of the dice as they know they are trapped on the wrong side of history.

On the Road to 3-4C of Warming By 2100

Despite 2016 notching up another hottest year record, current plans on the table for COP22 will see the world warm by more than 3°C. Although 87 countries, responsible for more than 63 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, have signed on to the Paris Agreement, far more needs to be done to reduce the influence of fossil fuel companies and speed up decarbonisation efforts.

Boosting national climate actions and filling gaps in the finance deal that rich countries have put on the table to support the poorest are key points for negotiators at COP22 in Morocco. Countries have to build on the platform of the Paris Agreement and a good way to start would be to kick polluters, like the World Coal Association, out of the UN climate negotiations for good.

Governments have completed the paperwork, now the real work begins. The only way to meet the 1.5°C or even just the 2°C target under the Paris agreement is to keep fossil fuels in the ground. The Paris agreement means that we cannot have any new coal, oil or gas projects. In fact, we need to start phasing out existing fossil fuel operations across Europe now. – Nicolò Wojewoda, 350.org

18 COMMENTS

  1. The price of all carbon based fuels should be doubled tomorrow. A year from tomorrow the price of carbon fuels should be doubled again. Each year the price of carbon fuel should be doubled until humans are no longer using fossil fuels. 
    Present human civilization is a system that all of us have been born into. You and me are here now, and you and me are all dependent upon it.
    Although tactics employed by protestors are questionable, the desperation in their acts is clear. 
    Denialism and displacement behaviours of those whom want to maintain status quo is and will continue to perpetuate and expand conflict. 
    We are at the precipice of human civilization and advancement. Prepare for the rapture of pending collapse for it is about to sweep across each of our doorsteps. You, and me, and all of the earths population will face a winter of our discontent. 
    As habitat required to produce grain is lost and rapidly diminishes globally, conflict and refugee masses will increase to a point of global economic collapse. Infrastructure, international and national and community support systems, power grids and supply chains, they will follow one another in a domino, and they will fail. 
    We are now well beyond the tipping point for run away abrupt climate change. This is the generation whom will live and die by catastrophe. The preposed emergency measures from the recent Paris meeting will not arrest the global carbon dioxide production. 
    The only possible solution is an abrupt stop in carbon dioxide production.  This solution will not happen. Thus, we condemn ourselves now to death by extinction.

    • Welcome to BoomerWarrior Alan.

      I fear that you’re right. “The only possible solution is an abrupt stop in carbon dioxide production. This solution will not happen. Thus, we condemn ourselves now to death by extinction.”

      Although there is global progress on tackling climate change, the gap between action and carbon emissions is getting wider and wider. We are simply not keeping pace with the rate of warming. Our remedial actions are too slow, too little, and likely too late.

      COP22 begins in Marrakech today. Let’s see what happens during the next two weeks. How will the world community react one year after the Paris Agreement?

  2. “With the full force of international law”? If I’m not mistaken, the full force is that countries have to report. That’s it. They can report that they’re doing nothing, but they have to report.

    The IPCC’s best-case scenario, RCP2.6 (WHICH NO ONE EVER MENTIONS), shows that carbon emissions must peak and at least plateau immediately, then start to fall by 2020, then get to virtually zero by mid-century. But in May 2016, the UN climate secretariat released an update showing that all the INDCs (intended nationally determined contributions) added up will give us higher emissions in 2030 than today.

    Yes, renewable energy is on the increase. But so is fossil fuel use.

    Optimism around the Paris Agreement is, it seems, premature.

    • You are right GreenHearted. In this case, the full force of international law is more about having to report than actually having to comply. I’m encouraged however by the earlier than expected going into force of the agreement. Don’t forget that the peer pressure on non-performers will be very strong. Marrakech results will tell the story on how serious we are to move in the right direction.

      Trying to stop a speeding train is not an easy task. The Paris Agreement as it stands now will not get the job done. The ratcheting up of emissions reduction targets cannot wait for 5 years. It must happen now, this year in Marrakech.

  3. If we are to keep it in the ground, we have to stop buying it….it is a huge thing to ask, but perhaps consumers have to send the message.
    …so,
    do we refuse to work,
    Refuse to drive,
    Refuse to heat/cool our homes,
    Refuse to eat,
    Refuse to live
    until a greener, more sustainable replacement for everything comes along at speed to replace fossil fuels?

    While it may seem impossible, it doesn’t have to be. When coal was in short supply in UK during the miners strikes in the early 1970’s…..we survived for weeks with long power cuts as the remaining resource was eaked out.

    People are very resourceful when something is taken away. We do have to do some belt tightening on an individual basis….perhaps assigning days (or hours in a day) when we promise not to use fossil fuels either directly, or indirectly.

    Governments will soon do something positive to get sustainable energy working if they are to keep up GDP figures.

    While everyone remains complacent, time ticks away….we must all do our bit.

    • The problems we face as a civilization and a species are simply overwhelming. Stopping fossil fuel consumption cold turkey is not possible and will not happen. The best we can hope for is a speedy reduction of consumption and a focus on mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Many will survive and many will not. Time ticks away as you say…..

  4. What this treaty does is give transparency to the process. It does not guarantee anything. I hope when it becomes apparent that the US is falling behind other countries in renewable energy and becoming less competitive then we will take action. Rather than spending billions for renewable energy, it is much cheaper and easier to just stop subsidizing fossil fuels. Renewable energy is competitive right now.

    For more on the treaty see Make Your Case with the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21 – http://www.newprogs.org/make_your_case_with_the_2015_united_nations_climate_change_conference

  5. The problem I see with “renewable” energy is that the devices used to convert that renewable energy into electricity is NOT renewable. Even worse, ALL those devices depend upon OIL for their existence.
    Collete is right, what do we stop doing, eating, driving, heating or cooling our homes, stop wearing clothing made from synthetics, stop going to work, STOP LIVING?
    Sadly & STUPIDLY we have allowed ourselves to become totally dependent upon a TEMPORARY energy & source of raw material that is now ESSENTIAL for us to survive, or most of us anyhow.

    Sure we could get rid of OIL today but 7 billion of us would soon be DEAD!
    We are in quite a deadly quandary aren’t we?
    Fossil fuels are killing us & our planet but if we stop using them, most of us would soon be painfully DEAD, so what CAN we do?
    I’m also looking for a solution but I don’t see anything on the horizon until we can somehow get rid of 7 BILLION HUMANS & that won’t happen until we just can’t feed ourselves anymore, in the meantime, C02 will just keep rising until we have enough crop failures to kill off enough of us & most of everything else as well.

    That will show just how “wise” we have been won’t it!
    YEAST in a PETRI DISH! And just as DEAD!

    • “what do we stop doing, eating, driving, heating or cooling our homes, stop wearing clothing made from synthetics, stop going to work, STOP LIVING?” These are more of the never ending lies from the fossil fuel industry.

      There is a better way. There is no scientific barrier that restricts 100% use of renewable energy. There is nothing preventing greatly expanding the use of renewable energy. This is not theory, it has been accomplished in other countries. As renewable energy provides a bigger portion of the energy pie, costs go down. With fossil fuels, costs go up. We know this because it has been demonstrated repeatedly in countries which are wisely encouraging renewable energy and thus becoming more competitive than the United States. It is estimated that the world will spend an extra $8 trillion over the next 25 years in a wide variety of fossil fuel subsidies to prolong the use of non-renewable resources, a cost that would be eliminated by transitioning instead to 100% renewable energy. (see “Costs” in this article and a previous article in boomer warrier) Simply leveling the playing field would make renewable energy competitive right now.

      See references 132, 137, 141, 200, 230, 284, 295, 299, 300, 332, 337, 353, 461, 468, 496, 506, 514, 534, 546, 547, 551, 552, 557, 579, 580, 591, 599, 631 – 633, 642 – 648, 728, 743, 744, 797 – 799, 827, 828, 864 – 874, 925, 983, 1006, 1037, 1094, 1110, 1111 – 1119, 1197, 1201, 1223-1237, 1454-1471, 1534, 1651-1663, 1703-1706, 1738, 1835-1849, 1958-1959, 2019-2036, 2090, 2122, 2176, 2180, 2194-2204, 2206, 2253-2283, 2306, 2421, 2429, 2431, 2433, 2514-2523, 2595-2625 of this article: http://www.newprogs.org/the_environment_under_the_democratic_republican_uniparty

  6. There is some really good discussion here. And, it shows that we all want to find the answers to making the right energy decisions for a sustainable future.

    Sheila, I wasn’t really suggesting that we ‘STOP LIVING,’ but I do think that we have to send a strong message to Government that we intend to switch to cleaner energy, preferably with their help, but that we will do it without them if necessary. We must not let time tick away!

    Sustainable, cheap energy is a reality Sheila, not some futuristic scenario. However, to find it, make it, buy it, use it, we have to follow the money trail. And the money trail has to be actively involved.

    Wind Power costs have dropped by 50% in the last five years. Solar power costs have dropped by 80% in the same time period. China, UAE, Italy, and areas of many countries (Australia,Africa, US and Europe) are making huge changes, but it is not in main stream media….and the cost of alternatives are now cheaper than oil, gas and coal….it just needs the monied investors to want the huge profits that are coming and we will have a world that will switch to renewables as the next magic bullet for our modern living. The motivation might be distasteful (the rich getting richer yet again), but if it cleans up our beautiful planet, then we must all demand that we want the whizzy low energy ‘iPad’ of new energy technology instead of the 80-ton ‘ENIAC’ computer version of fossil fuel.

    https://youtu.be/mmyrbKBZ6SU
    Watch – ‘The breakthrough in renewable energy’

  7. While Leonardo DiCaprio’s video ‘Before the Flood’ https://youtu.be/90CkXVF-Q8M
    is not scientific, it is a fairly good overview of the problems that we should all be aware of…and the fact that it is up to all of us to do our bit wherever we can to combat climate change. It is already upon us and we will all be affected. We have no choice now.

  8. I agree Colette – great discussion going on here. I’ve also watched Before The Flood with my grandson who is taking an interest in “his” planet.

    Sheila – just wondering what you propose as an alternative to renewables to save the planet from a dirty energy platform which is ruining everything we need to survive. If not fossil fuels and if not renewables, then what?

    Ed – thanks for the article with all the references

    • Boomer, I’m not opposed to making more of those alternative energy devices, I just can’t see how they can possibly support the grid & as I have said many times before, they produce none of the essential raw materials now so essential to our lives.
      What to do?
      Huge question for which there are really no solutions but we must try mustn’t we, sure, build more solar cells & wind turbines, at least they might reduce some greenhouse emissions, we can drive less, burn less, buy less, do all the things you and others are suggesting but in the end, I feel we will be just jumping from one melting ice block to another.
      I hope someone can prove us “doomers” wrong, I want to believe we can violate the laws of physics & nature, I don’t think we can & I’m sure we will at least collapse because of overpopulation, perhaps there will be survivors but it will be a very different world they will be struggling to survive in.

      Keep fighting Boomer, you give people hope against the odds.

      I’ve never known people to give up even when there was no hope, I’ve read their struggles against overwhelming odds, they fought on against all odds & most lost, but they didn’t give up & neither should we, a few did make it after all didn’t they!

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