PARIS AGREEMENT 2015 - A SUCCESSFUL FAILURE or NOT?

I wrote this article in the train on my way back to my office in Amsterdam. I spent eleven days following the climate negotiations in the splendid new venue of the United Nations in Bonn. At the entrance, a group of young people displaced a very original banner with the following words…. “SPEED IT UP”, I was simply wondering whether they were referring to the actual process on the climate negotiations or an address to the leaders of the world to speed up the de-carbonization process for controlling the global emissions and move out of dirty coal. In fact, in both cases it made sense.
The induced carbon dioxide emissions through the use of fossil fuel, and more particularly coal, has completely changed the structure of our atmosphere leading to global warming. Every single second mankind injects another two million pounds of heat-trapping Carbon Dioxide into our atmosphere and each second draws us irreversibly nearer to catastrophic climate change and a hellish future. Unless we take immediate action the promise of our children’s future decrease as the likelihood of climate catastrophe grows stronger and stronger.
We are at only “0.85” degree rise in temperature and the planet is already burning. The impacts are here……… and no country has been spared, be it the developed, the developing, the least developed or the SIDS. The recent heat wave prevailing over India bears testimony to the damage taking place. Nature is continuously ringing the alarm bell but reaches the ears of few and sadly not those of the worst polluters. The paradox in India for example on one hand, the acknowledgement of the heat wave as being a consequence of climate change and on the other hand the enhancement of coal-locked energy policies to being one of the top most polluters (obviously there are other examples). I have tried to understand the logic on how, on one hand, there is acknowledgement of climate change and on the other hand, reluctance to address it properly. We continue to rationalize, make excuses and procrastinate. A lot of the world leaders are locked in their conformational bias and motivated by the coal majors, seize on any distortion or easily picked fact to justify delay and not face up to the inevitable. Politicians are afraid to offend the coal barons and remain indecisive to choose the right solution.
In Bonn after two weeks of negotiations, out of the 224 issues, only 1 has been solved. The aim to streamline the 85 pages of the Geneva text to a more concise and acceptable-sized text has not been achieved. We are only left with 14 days of negotiations more to reach an agreement on the core issues before Paris. There are still the hard nuts to crack!!!! Differentiation, commitment cycle, adaptation, loss and damage and above all finance, so will Paris meeting be successful? Technically it has been a successful failure; so far now the only way to succeed is through the political option and this where Laurent Fabius and others have to strive hard. A real test for the French diplomacy.

And after Paris?

The timeline for taking action isn’t days or weeks or even months but is slowly transformed into years and decades. The Paris agreement will come into force only in 2020. The long-term goal is now fixed for 2100. But, even as we delay, the effects of climate change, currently emerging from the obscurity caused by the normal vagaries of weather, will become increasingly apparent, certain, irreversible and deadly.
 Time for a great deal of “debate” over climate change must end, making room for action. Every country has to deliver on its INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) and this is the big difference in this new agreement. All countries have to act on their INDCs. The INDCs are numbers indicating the emissions reduction that each country will enhance. Already, most scientists after analyzing the INDCs submitted so far concluded that the hope to keep global warming below 2 degrees is not likely to happen. (I met two of them and we had a discussion on this topic).
Has Mauritius submitted its INDCs? There was no such indication in Bonn. How do we intend to curb the carbon dioxide emissions that have increased from 0.7 tons per capita in 1980 to 5.5 tons per capita in 2014? The energy sector which is 80% coal driven is the biggest polluter, followed by the transport sector. Do we foresee changes in these sectors? There have been at least one positive sign so far but we are far from the target. The two projects that were likely to change the landscape of these sectors have been weeded off; I am referring here to the biomass scheme (MID) to slowly replace coal and the alternative public mode of transport (LRT).
How will Mauritius finance its de-carbonization process and deliver on its INDCs? What are the policy changes that are needed? Which institution will drive the process? If the INDCs become legally binding in the Paris agreement, will Parliament enact or review legislation for this to happen? Lots of challenges ahead, do we have the capacity and resources? “ Affaire à suivre” and I am having my binoculars fixed on them.

PARIS agreement takes us down to memory lane-1810, but this one is meant to take us in the future. It is war against coal to free the atmosphere we are in.


Commentaires

We don't want to know where you were sitting when writing your article. What we want to know is what you were doing at the PMO when the shit was hitting the fan under Ramgoolam!