Oscar Reyes

People's Climate March, Sydney, November 29. The Paris Agreement on climate change, which emerged out of the November 30 to December 12 COP21 UN climate talks, has been hailed as a “turning point for the world'. But it is long on rhetoric and short on real commitments – below are seven reasons why.

1. It sets an ambitious target sure to be missed

The global carbon market, which trades “pollution rights” to encourage industry to cut greenhouse gas emissions, grew in 2009. Far from signaling a success, this reflects a huge increase in fraud, the dumping of surplus emissions permits by industry, and a rise in financial speculation.
The United Nations climate conference in Poznan, Poland failed to achieve any breakthrough towards a global climate deal – a sign not merely of bad timing, but of a fundamentally flawed system that takes no account of climate justice.
With mounting evidence of environmental damage and grave social consequences, making fuel from plants no longer seems such a good idea. But is the widespread criticism of agrofuels forcing policy changes?
On the eve of December’s UN climate conference in Bali, the Indonesian government announced that it would plant 79 million trees in a single day to “offset” the emissions of the entire conference. But this world record-attempt could not mask the presence of another, less flattering, statistic in the 2008 Guinness Book of Records, which awarded the country the world record for the fastest rate of deforestation. From 2000 to 2005, an area of forest equivalent to the size of 300 football pitches was destroyed every hour in Indonesia, the key factor in its having the world’s third-highest rate of greenhouse gas emissions behind the US and China.
Subscribe to Oscar Reyes