The Paris climate (COP21) talks are over and the deal has been struck, many are rightly calling this deal a huge step forward! All countries agreed to cutting emissions while running a more efficient world economy. Nations of the world have agreed that our current trajectory of wastefulness will make life for everything on the planet very very hard. Even Canada, who had a reputation of sabotaging climate change negations, was invited to facilitate some of the talks.
With all the talk and coverage around COP21 it might seem all so overwhelming. Lucky for us, the Guardian has put together a short article summing up all the great points made in Paris.
Long-term global goal for net zero emissions
Countries have promised to try to bring global emissions down from peak levels as soon as possible. More significantly, they pledged “to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century”.
Experts say, in plain English, that means getting to “net zero emissions” between 2050 and 2100. The UN’s climate science panel says net zero emissions must happen by 2070 to avoid dangerous warming.
Jennifer Morgan of the World Resources Institute said the long-term goal was “transformational” and “sends signals into the heart of the markets”.
Eight development banks from around the world have decided the best way to encourage more sustainable transit development is to combine their efforts. They are looking at accelerating their investments in transport solutions that are better for the environment than current transport solutions. Transportation consumes a heck of a lot of oil and even marginal decreases in oil consumption can save money and reduce the rate of climate change.
In their statement, the African Development Bank (AfDB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), CAF-Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), European Investment Bank (EIB), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Islamic Development Bank (ISDB), and the World Bank (WB) pledged to speed up action on:
Climate Finance: MDBs have recently committed to substantially increase financing for climate change mitigation and adaptation over the next few years. Transport is expected to play a key role in that commitment.
Low-carbon Transport Solutions: The MDBs will increase their focus on low-carbon transport solutions and will continue to harmonize tools and metrics to assess transport-related GHG emissions.
Adaptation: The MDBs will jointly develop a systematic approach to mainstream climate resilience in transport policies, plans and investments.
Today, world leaders are meeting in Paris to discuss climate change at the COP21 conference. They are going to be discussing many issues around climate change from how to lower emissions to how to deal with rising sea levels. It is up to every country to change how their policies to be more sustainable and the wealthy countries that made their riches by exploiting the environment need to do even more. How then, do they decide what to do and based on what information?
The CBC is doing a series of investigations into issues and the like related to climate change that people may still be unclear on. One of their first articles is about how CO2 is measured.
When we measure carbon dioxide, can we tell how much came from burning fossil fuels?
Yes. The carbon in carbon dioxide comes in different forms called isotopes, namely carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14. Levels of each vary depending on the source of the carbon dioxide, says Doug Worthy, study lead for Environment Canada’s greenhouse gas observational program.
Natural gas, coal and oil each also have distinct signatures for carbon-13, Worthy said.
Meanwhile, higher levels of carbon-14 mean that carbon dioxide sample is mostly from natural sources, such as plants. Lower levels mean it’s mostly from burning fossil fuels.
You probably already heard the good news about the end of Keystone XL with Obama killing the proposal. This is a good symbolic step in ending the exploitation of the tar sands in Alberta, plus this comes just a few weeks before COP21.
COP21 is the upcoming United Nations climate change conference which is set to run from Nov. 30 to Dec.11. In the light of Keystone being killed it gives people hope that Obama will actually do something about climate change.
On the Canadian side of the border Prime Minster Trudeau (who loves pipelines, sigh) has cast Catherine McKenna as Canada’s minister of environment and climate change. A new title acknowledging that climate change is real and has to be dealt with – a step forward from the idiotic climate approach from the Conservatives previously in power.
Keystone XL being nixed may be just the thing North America needs to show up at COP21. With the pipeline project over, other countries may actually start respecting North America on environmental matters.
TransCanada first applied for Keystone permits in September 2008 — shortly before Obama was elected. As envisioned, Keystone would snake from Canada’s oilsands through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, then connect with existing pipelines to carry more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day to specialized refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast.
Democrats and environmental groups latched onto Keystone as emblematic of the type of dirty fossil fuels that must be phased out. Opponents chained themselves to construction equipment and the White House fence in protest, arguing that building the pipeline would be antithetical to Obama’s call for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.