An article by Assaad Razzouk, eco-business.com.
The annual UN Climate Talks ended on Sunday in Lima, Peru. In case you were wondering, nothing happened.
In fact, possibly worse than nothing happened. Instead of being on track to sign, in December 2015 in Paris, a binding agreement to cut harmful emissions backed by all nations, we are forcefully sliding towards an agreement for each nation to do what it wants, including nothing.
There is a new acronym at the UN jargon university for this: ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’, or INDCs. It’s a code-word for everyone to do what they please, in two steps.
First, key governments worldwide will maybe (or maybe not) outline, by March 2015, what actions (i.e., INDCs) they intend to take under a global agreement.
Second, the INDCs are intended to be added up into an agreement in Paris and compared against what we need to do to limit temperature increases to 2 degrees, the accepted climate change speed limit.
But because these INDCs amount to nothing, we already know that any agreement in Paris will also amount to nothing. INDCs won’t have binding (legal) consequences, aren’t subject to review and don’t come with transparent, strong monitoring obligations.
Two consequences are clear, as they have been for some time.
First, emissions will continue to rise as the rot from a failed UN process spreads to every corner of the world.
Second, as I argued previously, instead of wasting resources on a failed UN process, we should target the 90 companies which are responsible for two-thirds of the harmful emissions generated since the industrial age began. Eighty percent of their reserves need to be locked away underground to avoid a catastrophe.
This tiny number of large companies, lobbying to prevent action on climate change, are at the heart of our current carbon-intensive model. They know that their business model is not under threat from the UN climate talks.
Shell – leveraging the climate debate
In Lima, Shell’s top climate advisor was comfortable enough to admit that Shell enjoys its relationship with the notorious American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a shadowy shop specialised in aggressive efforts to counteract emissions reductions and regulations.
This is the same ALEC which, in the words of Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, is “literally lying” about climate science.
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