The windy politician and the shifting sands of time …

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Copenhagen. December 2009. That sound? It’s the sands of time rustling through earth’s hour glass. Time is running out … not on our world, that will survive and maybe even repair itself, but on our civilisation, which cannot wait aeons for climate change to subside.

If you doubt the impact raw climate can have, then dig out the CNN footage of New Orleans during hurricane Katrina. Check out SKY TV’s coverage of the flooding in Bangladesh, or closer to home in Cumbria. Civilisation is a fragile veneer over a wild world.

We need to act now, decisively and in unison.

Thankfully there are signs, in rhetoric at least, that the major governments of the world have heeded the evidence accumulated by independent scientists across the world.

News that the US President will attend for the very first time indicates the political momentum building behind the movement to curb carbon emissions. President Obama replanned his workload to attend the final days of the summit and is urging the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to take action on emissions in America even if his bill is held up in Congress.

With the other members of the big-3 offenders, India and China, making positive moves too the signs are positive. South Africa cranked-up the momentum another notch when it declared emission reductions targets 34% below business as usual over the next 10 years (peaking at 42% by 2025).  

To maintain global temperature rises below 2°C and initiate a decline in emissions by 2015, any agreement must deliver:

  • A reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% (from 1990 levels) by 2020 in comparision
  • A commitment to help developing nations by providing both money and technology to protect forests and switch to renewable energy.
  • Agreement to end global deforestation by 2020. Trees are critical resources that store carbon and account for (absorbing) nearly 20% of global emissions.

More than that though the agreements must be made legally binding and the follow-through must be closely monitored to minimise backsliding and laggardly deliver.