International Policy Digest

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World News /17 Nov 2015
11.17.15

No, COP21 Will Not Deliver a Climate Deal

The 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference is about to commence on November 30th to December 11th, in Paris. The main goal of the COP21 is to attempt to curb the rise in the world’s temperature to at, or below, 2° Celsius. It is scientifically accepted that if the rise in global temperature reaches above 5° Celsius, adverse climate change will become irreversible by current conservation methods or modern science. Over 190 countries are sending their representatives to France in order to come up with a deal that will attempt to slow or control the growing climate change crisis. The importance of this deal is hard to overstate, not even the deadly Paris attacks of November 13 managed to derail plans to host the conference.

The US has been hit hard by the dramatic effects of climate change that have ravaged it from coast to coast. From the economic devastation of the on-going and seemingly endless drought in California, to the violent and ever worsening hurricanes that repeatedly destroy the Gulf States, or to the more frequent national snowstorms of harsher winters, and the scorching deadly heat waves of summer, plus armies of tornados flattening whole towns throughout the Midwest – the devastation of climate change is becoming increasingly apparent year after year even to those least interested in solving it.

Whose Problem is Climate Change?

This is not just an isolated environmental problem; it threatens to disrupt the world’s food production capabilities, along with human necessities such as access to vital water and energy sources. Even valuable Oceanside real estate is doomed to be rendered eventually worthless by rising sea levels. The world’s temperature has been steadily rising every decade since the 1900s. Global warming’s adverse effects are nearing the point where it will soon become irreversible with our current technology.

By 2014, the right–wing professed “Myth” of global warming irrefutably showed itself to be a growing reality. 2014’s summer was reported as the hottest one on record by several well-known and reputable weather agencies such as NASANOAAUK Met Office, and the JMA. Drastic environmental climate changes affect every country around the world, regardless of their industrial might, population count, or if the region is low-lying or mountainous. Global warming and other dangerous aspects of climate change know no international boundaries.

Extreme weather events cause starvation, drought, social unrest, and more frequent and increasingly powerful storms in the form of devastating hurricanes, tornados, and cyclones. An uncertain world future awaits us all if something drastic is not done about global climate change.

As reported by the AP, “Climate change could push more than 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030 disrupting agriculture and fueling the spread of malaria and other diseases” – World Bank Report.

A distracted and divided America

Fossil fuel dependent nations that are governed by corporations, such as America, are not going to be eager to open up their coffers in order to help the third-world countries comply with a deal. The amount of underlying military tensions that America is having with both Russia, and China, while also juggling two conflicts with terrorists in Afghanistan and Syria, makes large monetary commitments by the U.S. to ensure COP21’s success, very unlikely. Some in the Republican Party begrudgingly have admitted that climate change is no longer a myth. According to the news website, Politico, GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s aides had already begun conspiring for their boss at the beginning of 2015 to thwart President Obama’s plans to broker a deal at the Paris COP21.

The GOP as a whole is intentionally silent on climate control. America’s Republican Party is still pondering an environmental platform for the Presidential election in order to bring in younger voters, but that’s as far as any rational GOP climate control plan has gotten so far. They also don’t seem to show any kind of vested interest in putting pressure on environmentally offending corporations – especially when anti-environmental special interest groups are lining up outside their doors to give the Republicans more money in order to take on the Democratic Party in the 2016 election.

Why the COP21 will not deliver enough

Learning from the mistakes of the Copenhagen summit and of the Kyoto protocol, the Paris conference allows countries themselves to state what they are currently willing to offer when submitting their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). However, the hard truth about any deal to be made in Paris is that it is destined to fail due to the insufficient commitments of participating nations. Even with all INDCs combined, the collective cuts will still sadly not be enough to make a significant difference. Drastically larger emission cuts are needed in order to adequately curb global climate change. Also, if a deal is made, it won’t come into full effect until 2020 and even then it will only last a short decade until 2030. Afterwards, the whole tedious, time-consuming process will have to be restarted all over again.

The COP21 may turn out to be nothing more than another well promoted international summit on political posturing. Another potential COP failure like the Copenhagen farce of 2009 will instill more public hopelessness and ultimately lead to more public apathy. It will also waste precious time that we don’t have anymore. The planet can’t afford another decade of international feet dragging if the COP21 fails to produce an agreement. Average Americans across the nation are starting to open up their eyes to the fact that; by the time they notice global warming, it has drastically gotten out of hand. How much global climate change we can reverse now, continues to remain to be seen just like the murky future of any “real” climate change deal that might be made in Paris this year.