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of what each government has deemed possible and favourable in
their part of the world.
Financing change
So what remains to be decided? For the conclusions of the Paris talks
to be seen as credible, at the very least leaders stll need to clarify
that their shared goal is to phase out unabated fossil fuel use entrely
within the next century.
The gap between this extraordinarily challenging aim and what the
world is likely to agree to in the short to medium term means that
it will also be crucial that leaders decide upon a means by which
collectve ambiton can be ramped up in future – untl the job is done
and climate safety is secured.
This will require new measures that will align internatonal aid and
private fnancial fows with these objectves, and stop investments
into dirty energy infrastructure that could otherwise put these
aspiratons beyond reach.
The draf UN text for Paris contains the necessary clauses that,
if agreed, could secure precisely this kind of package. G7 leaders
recently supported a total phasing out of all unabated fossil fuel use
over the course of this century. Some emerging economy leaders,
such as President Roussef of Brazil, have ofered their support to this
goal too.
If in Paris other world leaders were to sign up to this ultmate objectve
it would provide a landmark in the talks and set a benchmark against
which all current and future policies could be judged.
regular reviews
The US and many African and Latn American countries are
advocatng a mechanism that would require each party to the Photo: © Joe de Sousa l
agreement to revisit and resubmit its natonal plans to the UN every
fve years. This could draw regular and worldwide atenton to the
climate ambiton defcit. The Paris summit must also send a sufciently strong market signal
As the cost of clean technologies contnues to fall, and as technology to businesses that the private sector more widely begins to align its
improvements make deeper carbon reductons increasingly feasible investments into the kind of proftable projects that will complement
and afordable, this sort of approach would provide a regular rather than undermine the wider climate efort.
opportunity to capture this increased potental and ratchet up the Given that addressing the carbon problem requires wholesale
internatonal efort over tme. transformaton of the global energy economy to shif trillions of
Of course, everybody also wants the agreement to give confdence pounds into less pollutng energy and transport infrastructure, and
that countries will deliver what they promise. The US won’t do into more sustainable forestry and agricultural practces, it is hardly
anything without China taking verifable steps, and vice versa; surprising that it should take more than a couple of UN summits to
similarly, climate policy advocates here in Britain will be all too realise.
familiar with those critcs who have long argued that our eforts are As President Obama described in a recent interview in the New York
pointless unless we can know that more is happening in the ‘G2’. Times: ‘It’s not going to happen as fast or as smoothly or as elegantly
For these reasons, clinching agreement on a stronger set of common as we like, but, if we are persistent, we will make progress.’
rules for how to account for diferent kinds of greenhouse gas The Paris summit should mark a milestone in that progress, but only
polluton and how to check that emission reductons are actually insofar as the discussions and agreements made there will lay the
happening will be essental for the deal to have real integrity. foundatons for what happens next.
Without rules like these it could prove very difcult, even impossible, Much more than the road to Paris, it is the road from Paris and the
to compare one country’s climate commitments to another’s, or to pace of the changes that are wrought in the real economy over
compare the world’s collectve efort against what is required. the coming decades that will ultmately determine whether or not
Market signal humanity manages to avoid the most dangerous impacts of our fossil
Finally, if developing countries are to avoid the pollutng growth fuel dependence.
pathway that industrialised countries have historically followed – a Joss Garman is associate director for climate change, transport and
pathway based on deforestaton and the burning of pollutng fuels energy at the lef of centre UK think tank IPPR. Follow him on twiter
like oil coal and gas – then aid fows will need to support cleaner @jossgarman
development opportunites, as well as adaptaton actvites such as
the constructon of sea walls and the hurricane-proofng of schools. This artcle frst appeared on the IPPR website. 21
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