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Monday, February 1, 2016

Strategic CSR - COP21

The article in the url below contains a graphic that summarizes very effectively the climate change accord reached at the end of 2015 in Paris:
It emphasizes the sizeable gap between what was promised and what needs to be done in order to avoid exceeding the 2 degrees limit, let along the 1.5 degrees aspirational target all agree would be preferable. In essence, it was decided that some agreement was better than no agreement, even if the agreement fails to get us anywhere near where we need to be:
“… there remains the awkward fact that the [individual country commitments] are not remotely strong enough to ensure the 1.5°C pledge is honoured. This serious flaw was foreordained. The experience of Copenhagen, six years ago, showed that insistence on a pre-set goal would make agreement impossible: in a zero-sum game all players will want others to do more while they do less. Having countries sign up only to what they think they can do made agreement in Paris possible—but ensured that it would be weak. The actions outlined in the Paris pledges would be expected to lead to global warming of around 3°C. Given that there has already been about 1°C of warming, the measures required to stay below 1.5°C would be beyond heroic. Work by Joeri Rogelj of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis near Vienna and colleagues suggests that it would mean net emissions having to fall to zero in at most 40 years.”
In short, COP21 means we are increasing greenhouse gas emissions less slowly than if the agreement had not been reached. Under current commitments, we are nowhere near containing total emissions, let along reducing them. The logic of COP21 is that a preliminary agreement at least means we can keep talking and hopefully agree to stricter standards at a later date (before it is too late). Based on past performance, that is an exceptionally optimistic outlook.
Take care
David Chandler & Bill Werther
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Green Light
December 19, 2015
The Economist