The risk of misaligning strong words with weak actions

If the opening session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) session on the 29 November was anything to go by, COP21 was off to an inspiring start. But the question still remains how will this Conference of Parties pan out? If we are committed to avert creating an unliveable Earth, we must understand that we are all in this together. We have one planet with huge diversity, but the effects of climate change are not separated by our ever-changing invisible political boundaries – they affect all of us.

With soundbites like ”our very future as humankind, hinges on this”, “ambition is key” and “everyone is responsible but respective capabilities are imperative” – what does this all mean when it comes to down to the implementation of any climate deals? Personally I think that as much as economics and politics play a huge role in trying to solidify a fair and ambition climate deal, it is time to put aside our differences, and begin to collaborate..

With the spin-off groups closed and less than 24 hours left for the contact group to meet before the draft streamlined text goes to the COP assembly – we need speed, but more importantly, precise and ambitious interventions. The commencement of the High-Level Segment on the 7 December will see ministers arrive to make final decisions in the COP negotiations.

For the sake of the millions of people, most of whom are in developing countries, already fighting the worsening climate crisis, COP21 can’t be a cop out. We need ambition on all fronts and mechanisms that allow for frequent reviews of the emissions cuts and financing pledged by countries if we are to have any hope of holding future temperature increases to a ceiling of 1.5 degrees, and therefore allowing us to continue to inhabit this planet for years to come.

As the Venezuelan delegation was quoted as saying “If we aren’t ambitious, we will clap in December (when the climate deal is signed) and cry in 2020 (when we feel the effects of our non-action)”. I sincerely hope, we will be crying happy tears with an ambitious global climate agreement in hand.

Neoka Naidoo (Project 90 by 2030 Policy & Research Intern) writes from COP21 in Paris. 




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