Right now there are two kinds of people populating the mother earth – climate change believers and climate change deniers. I am not going to talk about climate change deniers. This post is all about the believers, those who make impassioned speeches and talk of taking affirmative action.
I ask these believers who and what stops them from taking urgent actions to save the Earth from the catastrophic temperature rise? Ever since Copenhagen Summit in 2009 the world of believers has been dragging its feet on taking concrete actions. The believers are divided along many fault lines – developed vs developing, right to development vs historical culpability, common but differentiated responsibility etc.
It is safe to suggest that the campaign to save our earth from the ills of climate change has suffered more due to the believers than the deniers. At least the denier is clear and honest about his or her stupidity or lack of information or both.
The same can’t be said about the believers. They believe in climate change, fund huge and sophisticated research projects, debate about how to tackle the problem, pledge money and then at the 11th hour shy away from any commitment or bold action.
Take the case of the pledge to provide $30 billion for adaptation to the developing countries by 2012. But that money never saw the light of the day. Charges have been levelled by the receivers about being short changed. The most high profile of such spats happened when the Prime Minister of Surinam accused the Norwegian Government of not paying a single penny, as promised, to keep their forests intact.
Many different accounts say till date $9 billion have flowed in and that too is modification of various grants and not the new money as was made to believe by the leaders of the developed nations.
Similarly, commitments about bringing the carbon emission below the 1990 levels as enshrined and accepted in 1997 at Kyoto have all been forgotten. The new baseline now is 2004. A fact that is seldom discussed is COP 3 had decided that the global carbon emissions should come down by 5 percent of the 1990 level by 2010 to save the Earth from irreparable damage to climate systems. However, despite pledges the emission increased by leaps and bounds and by 2010 instead of coming down by 5 percent it had increased by 50 percent.
All the top economies – developed and developing – have been using the UN forum to create groupings and use it to pressurise the other to take the lead, “increase their ambitions” for emission cuts and also “foot the climate bill” in terms of providing the hard cash. Each one is dead set against any binding commitment, verifiable and measured by any international agency for its authenticity.
If the future of the Earth is as grave as mentioned by the scientists that are funded and promoted by the same concerned climate believer governments, than why the intransigence on undertaking any bold action? Why squabbling over every single word, comma or full stops of every draft resolution? Why the sabre rattling every time just before the negotiation starts and why the need to throw “walkout” tantrums?
The whole world and especially the believers knows that out of 195 countries that are part of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 20 of them that form the G-20 Group accounts for more than 80 percent of the present global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 80 percent of the entire present carbon emission and consists of nations that shoulder 100 percent of the historical responsibility. These 20 nations, almost all of them led by believer governments and opinion builders, can sit across the table and achieve a far more effective and ambitious plan to decarbonise the economy and move on the path of sustainable development in much less the time.
They can then jointly appear at the UNFCCC Summit and present the plan as their collective commitments to save the mother Earth. Scientific data, emerging technologies, hundreds of business, management and social initiatives around the world are pointing towards an emerging opportunity that suggests today is the best day to take that elusive but important affirmative step towards low carbon economy that will ultimately deliver a future where temperature rise would be arrested within 2oC of the pre-industrial level.
If these 20 countries can bury their differences and take collective action than we can safely say they are climate change believers and really care for the Earth and its environment and also of our future generations. However, if in Paris they keep hiding behind clichés of “everyone-should-be-on-board” and “Nauru” should also have its commitment, “Burkina Faso” should also pledge something, “Polynesian Islands” should shoulder some of the blame and Bulgaria should do some more for the larger economies to convince their leaders to take some action than we are looking at believers who are worse than deniers.
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