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.


LINK: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34668957


Thank you for this post it's great! The article is very informative and you did a great job summarizing the important parts. You say that unfortunately the initiatives are non-binding, do you think that binding initiatives are always better? I think it is nice to have voluntary initiatives because it shows that country is really making an effort to better their impact on the environment but that might be a little bit idealistic.

I am glad to hear that you are optimistic about Canada’s environmental future. You are right about conflict being inevitable. A post I made recently reviewed an article, which outlined issues between the oil and gas industry and the provincial government of Alberta when implementing new environmental plans. I agree with you in that it is very possible for Canada to commit to a sustainable and environmentally friendly future.

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