In Paris in December 2015 the parties to the UN Climate Convention agreed to keep global warming „well below“ 2 degrees Celsius, ideally at only 1,5 degrees by 2100.
On October 5th 2016 more than 55 countries accounting for more than 55 % of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have ratified the ratified the Agreement so that November 4th will see its entry into force.
The new 1.5 degree limit is an unequivocal call to action: More needs to be done at once to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. By the second half of the century the world is supposed to be „climate neutral“.
With the countries current commitments to emission reductions this goal cannot be achieved. In addition, the mainstream scenarios on offer pin their hopes on questionable, risky and costly technologies. Therefore, The German Catholic Bishops' Organisation for Development Cooperation (MISEREOR), Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), and the Heinrich Böll Foundation are calling for the implementation of effective climate change policies in the context of a profound and fair socio-economic transformation of our societies. A fast phasing-out of coal, a drastic reduction of emissions in agriculture and transportation, the protection of soils and forests, and the abandoning of fossil fuels in the transportation sector need to be taken up urgently.
In their joint publication, "A change of course: How to build a fair future in a 1.5° world," the three organizations present the dangers posed by global warming to food security and ecosystems and analyze so-called negative emission technologies such as geoengineering, offsetting of emissions, and BECCS (bioenergy with carbon capture and storage). In contrast to these questionable technologies, the policies to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees – as stipulated in the Paris Agreement – that are presented in the joint publication are not only geared toward climate mitigation but also put poverty reduction and climate justice at the center of attention.
"In reaction to the Paris Agreement, we need to phase out coal, speed up the transition to renewables, phase out combustion engines, and protect and restore forests and soils. As northern countries that have caused the climate catastrophe, we need to lead by example. We cannot count on unproven, costly, and ecologically risky negative emission technologies to save us from climate chaos. If we postpone implementing the traditional climate mitigation solutions, we will miss the rapidly closing window of opportunity to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees," says Hubert Weiger, Chairman of Friends of the Earth Germany.
Barbara Unmüßig, President of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, says: "It is crystal clear that effective climate protection and equitable, sustainable development can only be considered together. A future without climate chaos for all human beings on our planet is only possible if we don’t pin our hopes on large-scale technologies. Instead, we have to make sure that the energy and agricultural transitions are being pushed forward as fast as possible. Technological fixes such as geoengineering are betting on future possibilities such as sucking CO2 from the atmosphere or keeping sunlight away from the Earth. This is a dangerous distraction from the necessary steps that we can already implement today. The coming-into-force of the Paris Agreement asks for exactly this change in course."
"The vague hope that we could all survive in a world that is 3 degrees warmer than before industrialization is deceptive. It is our responsibility to safeguard the lives of millions of people by limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. This is not only a technological challenge; instead, it has widespread societal and cultural implications that we all have to face," says Pirmin Spiegel, Director General, MISEREOR.
Table of contents
// 1: The world we live in
// 2: Changing course
// 3: Building a fair future
More on the WWW:
Loss and damage at COP22 – how do we top Paris? ( https://www.boell.de/en/2016/11/02/loss-and-damage-cop22-how-do-we-top-paris ) By Julie-Anne Richards
COP 21 and the Paris Agreement: A Force Awakened ( https://www.boell.de/en/2015/12/15/cop-21-and-paris-agreement-force-awakened ) by Lili Fuhr, Liane Schalatek, Maureen Santos and others
Dossier: Inside ( https://www.boell.de/en/dossier-inside-the-green-economy ) the Green Economy
Dossier: New Economy of Nature ( http://www.boell.de/en/dossier-new-economy-nature )
The Carbon Levy Project ( https://www.boell.de/de/node/287353 )
Website on the German “Energiewende”: www.energytransition.de
Carbon Metrics ( https://www.boell.de/de/node/287891 )
Coal Atlas ( http://www.boell.de/coalatlas )
Book: “Inside the Green Economy – Promises and Pitfalls” ( https://www.boell.de/en/2016/06/22/inside-green-economy ) by Barbara Unmüßig, Thomas Fatheuer and Lili Fuhr
Study: Climate Governance and the Role of Climate Finance in Morocco ( https://us.boell.org/2016/10/31/climate-governance-and-role-climate-finance-morocco )
Dossier: Green Climate Fund ( https://us.boell.org/green-climate-fund-dossier-0 )
The gender approach of the Green Climate Fund (GCF): leading the way for climate finance ( https://us.boell.org/2016/09/26/gender-approach-green-climate-fund-gcf-leading-way-climate-finance ) (Interview with Liane Schalatek
"Climate Finance Fundamentals" Briefing Series ( https://us.boell.org/2015/11/25/climate-finance-fundamentals-update-201