Sceptics are becoming believers as the world begins to change due to our reckless and wasteful ways. It is time something was done to prevent the further ruining of our home and between the 7th and 8th of December something was done. In the months running up to the UN Climate Change Conference or COP21 a baton was sent around Scotland and made a brief stop-off at Selkirk High School (You can read my article on it here). Since then, the baton has arrived in Paris and the summit has concluded. So what were the main points that have come out of the conference, which involved representatives from 195 countries?
The rapid phasing-out of fossil fuels
The country representatives have decided to introduce a goal of reaching greenhouse gas neutrality by the second half of this century. To do this, the use of fossil fuels will need to be cut greatly in the coming years, with their eventual complete eradication. Heavy-polluters such as China will need to invest very heavily in renewable energy sources to aid a decreasing dependence on fossil fuels.
Limiting the global temperature increase
An old aim between the countries of the world was to limit the global temperature increase to 2oC. However, that has been deemed still too high an increase, so the goal has been brought down to a maximum increase of 1.5oC by 2050. This means that countries need to start making more short term cuts to meet this target.
Agreement on commitments between countries
All the 195 countries present at COP21 made commitments to reduce their emissions. Since more than 55 countries sign the agreement, these commitments are legally binding and non-negotiable and will have serious consequences if not acted upon. The unprecedented number of representatives that attended helped to ensure that these commitments were passed and will make certain that these goals are met.
Financial for those that are vulnerable to climate change
Touched upon in my previous article on the baton relay was the effect climate change is having on those that are most vulnerable to it, despite them often being one of the smallest producers of greenhouses gases. A new goal for the countries attending COP21 is to increase the financial support for those that have to move or adapt significantly due to climate change. The goal was negotiated directly with the countries that have these vulnerable people living in them in order to ensure that they felt the plan went far enough in helping these people.
To summarise, COP21 seems to have been very successful. The event concluded with a bigger than ever drive to do something about climate change and do it in a way that will involve the heavier polluting countries, something which previous conventions have failed to do. It is hoped that with these new legislations and goals that we can slow down our poisoning of the only hospitable land we know.