After two decades of climate negotiations, the time has come to champion a new climate treaty. In December 2015, world leaders will convene in Paris to negotiate a climate deal that will curb global greenhouse gas emissions. The importance of the UN Climate Summit in Paris cannot be emphasized enough: 2015 is a big year for climate change.
But let’s step back from mitigation and adaptation, renewable energy, climate deniers, climate science for minute. What lies at the heart of climate problem? What is this amorphous issue that is difficult to frame and even harder to resolve? Why that would be politics, of course.
At the national level, developing country governments have the dual responsibility of alleviating poverty and reducing overall consumption all while battling (or succumbing to) industry interests. Meanwhile, developed countries are dealing with their own problems of overconsumption and excessive use of natural resources.
At the international level, the issue of equity looms like a dark cloud over every international climate negotiation. According to UNFCCC’s Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR), developed countries are required to provide financial and technical assistance to developing countries as they try to achieve emission reductions. But big boys like the United States point fingers at China and India exclaiming that they are the largest polluters and need to clean up their own acts. Not to be outdone, India and China fight back with the argument that the developed world is the original creator of the climate problem, and must shoulder a larger share of responsibility.
So as you can see, the climate problem is mired in politics and money. Let’s explore the underbelly of this world in ClimateEye’s latest Politics Issue. For those of you who are as confused about international environmental agreements as we are, take a gander at our Environmental Treaty primer, after which Anusha Lall will walk you through the challenging world of international negotiations. Closer to home, Will Poff-Webster will explain how India and Australia are gearing up for a dangerous duet in Paris. Finally, our resident expert Utkarsh Agarwal will explain what the 2016 US presidential election means for the global climate change regime!
Hope you enjoy reading our latest issue! Please write to us with your most political thoughts. Will a climate deal in Paris save us from a 4ºC scenario? Or will Paris be another Hopenhagen?