Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Guardian Readers Skewer the COP21 Climate Deal

Here are some sobering comments from letters received by the Guardian responding to the COP 21 climate summit deal inked in Paris last week.

Frank Jackson, former co-chair of the World Disarmament Campaign, writes:

"Apart from the question of actual implementation of even the agreed measures (themselves expected to achieve only a 2.7C limit) there are many factors not taken into account. Barack Obama says the deal will create “more jobs and economic growth”. But growth, even “green growth”, is precisely the problem. We live on a finite planet with finite resources which we are already exploiting to the limit and beyond. The aim must be to achieve a steady-state economy, with resources fairly shared, but that is incompatible with capitalism’s growth imperative."

Dr. Robin Russell-Jones writes:

"...the atmosphere does not respond to political craft and strategic compromise, it only responds to the laws of physics which are uncompromising and potentially lethal for most species on Earth, including our own.

"All of the really tough decisions – such as carbon taxes, country-specific limits and financial penalties – have been shelved, which will allow countries such as India, China and even the UK to carry on burning fossil fuels while paying lip-service to the need to reduce emissions. Instead the goal of 1.5C and even 2C will now rely on unproven and currently non-existent technologies such as nuclear fusion, carbon capture with storage or carbon negative technologies. I pray these will come in time but how many people would get on a flight in the hope that someone can defuse the bomb before it blows up?"

David Humphries writes:

"The Paris climate talks followed a pattern that is familiar in international environmental negotiations. At the start of the conference tough commitments and ambitious targets were proposed, including on forest conservation and the transfer of environmentally clean technology to developing countries. Over the next two weeks many of these were weakened with caveats and, in some cases, quietly abandoned as delegates edged towards a politically acceptable compromise. This is the so-called convoy principle: everyone stays together, but all move at the speed of the slowest. Most disappointing of all is the failure to agree legally binding greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments. Without this, the pledge to limit the global temperature rise to less than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels remains purely aspirational."

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