UN: Climate plans must go further to prevent dangerous warming
by bshambla on October 30, 2015 - 11:18pm
The article UN: Climate plans must go further to prevent dangerous warming by BBC News highlights a recent assessment by the UN on the national climate plans put forth by its member states. These plans, called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), are expected to be a major building block in the formation of a new climate change treaty at the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. The UN says that these plans cover about 86% of global emissions, which is a significant increase from the amount covered by the Kyoto Protocol in 2005. However, the UN also states that projection indicate a 2.7C rise in global temperatures over pre-industrial measurements is still likely, a figure that exceeds the 2C increase that scientists have warned would lead to substantial climate impacts. Though, the UN also states that these plans are a great starting point, and that current projections based of today’s INDCs is considerably more optimistic than figures based off of previous INDCs. Unfortunately, there is some concern about the non-binding nature of these plans; the UN explains that these intentions are entirely voluntary, and factors such as economy could be obstacles for action and legislation regarding INDCs. With this in mind, scientists also warn that these plans still will not add up to avoid the worst of climate change. Although emission rates are being decreased, levels continue to rise. The main actors in this article are the states affiliated with the UN, and the need for them to do more to curb climate change is the problem.
This article leaves me optimistic about the future of climate change. Even though Canada opted out of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012, the recent change in government, and evidence that reduction of emissions is a realistic goal, makes me optimistic that Canada can become a player in the reduction of greenhouse gasses and prevention climate change. The conflict seen in this article relates to using environmental assessment as a management tool. The UN is promoting INDCs, which are essentially environmental assessments with an endgame of preventing climate change, and Canada should hop on the bandwagon with a plan and commitment of their own. Canada can use an INDC as a management tool as well. Of course there will be conflicts, most likely interest conflicts between industry and environmental agencies and government, but this should be a surmountable obstacle through public pressure and participation. There is a value to being branded as environmentally friendly, or sustainable, and this, along with new governmental values, and growing international pressure, could be enough for Canada to be able to come up with an INDC, and recommit to environmental sustainability and the reduction of carbon emissions.