As the UN climate negotiations kick off in Doha, Qatar, people all over the world are watching as floods wash away their lives, fires consume their houses and droughts decimate food crops. Just this morning, UNEP released a report warning that melting permafrost could release massive amounts of methane--a powerful greenhouse gas--into the atmosphere, bringing the planet ever closer to runaway climate change. Here's a letter from three powerful advocates for a safe climate to the leaders and negotiators in Doha:
To really address climate change UNFCCC-COP18 should decide to leave under the soil more than 2/3 of the fossil reserves
2012 saw the shocking melt of the Arctic, leading our greatest
climatologist to declare a 'planetary emergency,' and it saw weather
patterns wreck harvests around the world, raising food prices by 40% and
causing family emergencies in poor households throughout the world.
That's what happens with 0.8ºC of global warming. If we are going
to stop this situation from getting worse, an array of institutions have
explained this year precisely what we need to do: leave most of the
carbon we know about in the ground and stop looking for more.
If we want a 50-50 chance of staying below two degrees, we have to
leave 2/3 of the known reserves of coal and oil and gas underground; if
we want an 80% chance, we have to leave 80% of those reserves
untouched. That's not "environmentalist math" or some radical
interpretation--that's from the report of the International Energy
Agency last month.
It means that--without dramatic global action to change our
path--the end of the climate story is already written. There is no room
for doubt--absent remarkable action, these fossil fuels will burn, and
the temperature will climb creating a chain reaction of climate related
Negotiators should cease their face-saving, their endless
bracketing and last minute cooking of texts and concentrate entirely on
figuring out how to live within the carbon budget scientists set. We
can't emit more than 565 more gigatons of carbon before 2050, but at the
current pace we'll blow past that level in 15 years. If we want to have
a chance to stick to this budget by 2020 we can’t send to the
atmosphere more than 200 gigatons.
Rich countries who have poured most of the carbon into the
atmosphere (especially the planet's sole superpower) need to take the
lead in emission reductions and the emerging economies have also to make
commitments to reduce the exploitation of oil, coal and gas. The right
to development should be understood as the obligation of the states to
guarantee the basic needs of the population to enjoy a fulfilled and
happy life, and not as a free ticket for a consumer and extractivist
society that doesn’t take into account the limits of the planet and the
wellbeing of all humans.
There's no longer time for diplomatic delays. Most of the
negotiators in the Eighteenth Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC
(United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) know that these
are the facts. Now is the time to act for the future of humanity and
Nature.Originally posted on 350.org