La Grande Négociation: while we bargain, our ultimate fate comes down to acceptance Post Carbon Institute

From the vantage point of being at COP21, I have to agree with the statements made here. And I’ll add this; despite the halting agreements and the commitments (double-talk not withstanding), the advances in technologies for methane capture (such as those dairy herds that the New Zealand Prime Minister is so determined to hang onto), it remains my conviction that the kind of change required for long-term survival of the remaining ecosystems can only be effected from the ground up. That is where the real will resides. Nonetheless I share the concern of fellow climate activists and concerned citizens, that the greatest challenge of all may be to convince our fellow human occupants of the planet.  And not only them. I may be willing to give up driving a car, but my smart phone? my iPad? my laptop? That is the rub.

“A major sticking point to getting all countries to sign onto any agreement is the question of historical responsibility and the concern of poorer nations that climate mitigation not hamper their continued “development.” China’s President, Xi Jinping, said in a speech on the first day of the Paris talks that “addressing climate change should not deny the legitimate needs of developing countries to reduce poverty and improve living standards.” Another key question is whether the Paris agreement will be legally binding. In this, countries’ preferences may come down to their political realities at home. It’s kind of hard for President Obama to commit to a legally binding agreement (which would require ratification) when he’s busy trying to fend off Congressional attempts to undo his Clean Power Plan and block US contributions to the United Nations Green Climate Fund. So at the end of this historic meeting we may well wind up with a nonbinding agreement that badly overshoots the 2°C target, doesn’t go into effect until 2020, ends ten years later, and counts on unproven technologies and unspecified promises of financial aid to countries most at risk. It’s hard to square that with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s opening admonition: “We cannot afford indecision, half measures or merely gradual approaches. Our goal must be a transformation.” Despite all this, I happen to agree with those that believe an agreement in Paris is absolutely critical, even if it is woefully, dangerously insufficient – especially if that agreement has transparency provisions and legally-binding periodic reviews, which President Obama champions. It’s much easier to build momentum when you’re already moving forward, however slowly and haltingly.

Source: La Grande Négociation: while we bargain, our ultimate fate comes down to acceptance Post Carbon Institute

Obama’s climate change envoy: fossil fuels will have to stay in the ground | Environment | The Guardian

The world’s fossil fuels will “obviously” have to stay in the ground in order to solve global warming, Barack Obama’s climate change envoy said on Monday.In the clearest sign to date the administration sees no long-range future for fossil fuel, the state department climate change envoy, Todd Stern, said the world would have no choice but to forgo developing reserves of oil, coal and gas.The assertion, a week ahead of United Nations climate negotiations in Lima, will be seen as a further indication of Obama’s commitment to climate action, following an historic US-Chinese deal to curb emissions earlier this month.A global deal to fight climate change would necessarily require countries to abandon known reserves of oil, coal and gas, Stern told a forum at the Center for American Progress in Washington.“It is going to have to be a solution that leaves a lot of fossil fuel assets in the ground,” he said. “We are not going to get rid of fossil fuel overnight but we are not going to solve climate change on the basis of all the fossil fuels that are in the ground are going to have to come out. That’s pretty obvious.”

via Obama’s climate change envoy: fossil fuels will have to stay in the ground | Environment | The Guardian.