Earth Summit to COP20 – Much Talking, Little Action

The Paris climate talks will be taking place from Nov 30 to Dec 11. This year’s Conference of the Parties is the 21st of a series of meetings (COP21) that have been taking place every year over the last twenty years. Their goal is “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”

So far the conferences have not lead to any significant actions on climate change. In fact since the first COP in 1995, global CO2 emissions have increased by at least a third.

At the 2010 COP the participating countries formed a loose, nonbinding agreement to limit average global temperature rise to 2°C (about 3.6 F). For good reasons this was not well received by many developing countries, a number of which are already experiencing detrimental impacts from the approximately 0.75°C temperature rise that has taken place since the Industrial Revolution. In a paper published in 2013 James Hansen of Columbia University and others showed that if we are indeed serious in our goal to limit average global temperature rise to 2°C in order to prevent even more catastrophic climate disruptions, unconventional fossil fuel sources must be left in the ground.

So it boggles the mind that far from starting to transition out of fossil fuels into renewables, in a 2012 speech at the Rose Garden President Obama stated proudly “Under my administration, America is producing more oil than at any time in the last eight years. We’ve opened up new areas for exploration. We've quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high. We've added enough new oil and gas pipeline to circle the Earth and then some.”

This begs the question why our government is spending billions of dollars to wage war in the Middle East instead of mitigating a crisis that threatens the survival of human civilization. To be continued...


insomnialex's picture

i know you said ‘to be continued’, but i’m not sure if that means you intend a follow up piece on your question or if it’s just a a general WTF.

why do you think the US gov is inept at substantial commitment to this threat, or particularly when it comes to those within that do seem to accept the science?

BeeB's picture

That's what I intend to go into when I continue, which I will soon. But I need to put all my data together first.