COP21, the UN Climate Conference coming to Paris TODAY..”never have the stakes been so high” – 181+ heads of state have made pledges – including our own Jerry Brown arriving as if he’s President of a country! Mayors from all over our country were rounded up by Robert Redford. The message from Redford and Brown (and NASA scientist/physicist, James Hansen) is similar: Act NOW or face catastrope. And we don’t know if acting now CAN prevent catastrope. A huge question for us all, but China, Russian and US and the UN are calling for an agreement that will slow and possibly reverse the worst consequences of climate change, increased drought, fire, flood, starvation, loss of species, a very terrible long list.
“Tony Earley, CEO of PG&E Corp., the parent company of Pacific Gas and Electric Co., says he’s attending the climate conference to vouch for California’s record at the request of the governor. The message he wants to deliver there resonated with me,” Earley said. “By and large, California has developed a very flexible model going forward, put in place programs like cap and trade, set aggressive goals for renewables and recognized that companies need to be able to thrive in this environment.” – David Baker, SF Chronicle
Jerry Brown is riding in on a wave of enthusiam with a few characters who have worked with him along the way: Tom Steyer, billianare philanthropist and climate activist, Arnold Schwarzenegger, hollywood star and past California Governor, others to complete the troupe who will bring strong goals and history to the podium. Jerry Brown has committed our state to no less than: “Boosting renewable energy to 25% of the power supply, putting nearly half the nation’s electric vehicles on the road, and rolling out a sweeping cap and trade program that reins in polluters.” – David Baker, SF Chronicle.
For the conference, Brown is pushing for an agreement to work toward and hold a 2-degree limit in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) he’s been promoting globally. The MOU now has 57 signatories representing 572 million people.
China, Russia and Obama are calling for a sensible response to a possible catacylmic future, showing how economic growth can be compatible with climate crisis reversal.
(Obama) told delegates: “Climate change could define the contours of this century more than any other (challenge).
“I came here personally to say the United States not only recognises the problem but is committed to do something about it. He added that recent years had shown that the global economy had grown while emissions had remained flat, breaking the old arguments for inaction “that economic growth and environmental protection were in conflict.” He told delegates: “Climate change could define the contours of this century more than any other (challenge).”
Russian President Vladimir Putin also addressed the conference. Mr Putin said: “We have demonstrated we can ensure economic development and take care of our environment at the same time.” In a diplomatic play on semantics, probably to highlight the differing points of view between industrialised and emerging economies, Chinese President Xi Jinping told the conference he did not see the Paris talks as a turning point nor a “finish line, but a new starting point”.(last graphs from BBC)
It is obvious to those who have done a little reading and research that we can no longer keep burning the fossil fuels which have polluted our air and caused endless wars, so I nod in agreement with those, now including President Obama, who call for keeping a great deal of the fossil fuels left on earth – in the ground!
Here’s Redford’s recent statement to the UN:
The most negative note is probably that of NASA scientist and physicist, James Hansen, far from convinced that all this riding into town on a white horse will help our crisis situation. In his recent TED talk, Hansen says he must speak out about climate change because sea level rise may be 18 feet rather than 3 feet/one meter, putting many of the famous coastal cities ashambles. We are changing the flow of water in the ocean, causing unprecedented damage, he states.
News from Paris about changing the energy economy on PBS Newshour: How can we build an international agreement that helps countries adapt themselves? asks a participant.
Big turning point will be money – money from bigger countries to help younger, poorer countries. This is why I’ve borrowed Sierra Club’s words “Pray for Paris” – Pray for a healthy planet (eventually).
This conference is quite a bit different than previous years because private businesses are stepping up, seeing the reality of a new economics, asking “let us help with technology.” China is the main player; they are trying to be leaders in solar technology. India makes people afraid things are falling apart.
I pray that the Paris COP21 conference results in binding agreements that show us some light at the end of the tunnel leading us toward a more humane, resilient and sustainable world.