When we arrived to Paris at the beginning of this week, negotiating texts had been prepared for ministers and all options are on the table. Out of these options, two very different deals can be highlighted. First, the so-called no-regrets deal, which aims to keep warming to 1.5°C and second, the ‘minimalist deal’ or more accurately called the 3-degrees deal. The latter one e.g. includes that no negotiations about future ambitions or assessments of progress would take place until 2024 and thus accepting the INDCs as the most which can be achieved at the very point and only consider future efforts in 2030, and ultimately giving-up the 1.5 or 2 °C target.
Furthermore, a lot of side events focus on the adaptation finance, which is expected to need 150 billion USD per annum by 2025 (even on 2°C track) (CAN). However the starting point for climate finance in 2020 is only 100 billion USD. One option to increase the adaption fund is to delete fossil fuel subsidies, which amount to almost 500,000 billion USD a year. It is also a contradiction that countries are putting up INDCs, which are based on improving energy efficiency and increasing share of renewable energies, and at the same time substituting fossil fuels. Therefore phasing out fossil fuel subsidies will be not only good for the environment, but also for public finance (making money available for renewables, for education, etc.). However, if fossil fuels stay cheap, consumers and investors will make the wrong decisions.
Today we attended a meeting, where Al Gore gave a talk. During his talk he was raising three major questions. First he questioned whether we have to change. Not only scientists, but also nature has answered this question positively. Second, he asked whether we can change. Today we have the option to focus on renewable energies, sustainable agriculture and fisheries and so on, so the answer is yes. Finally he questioned whether we will change, and according to him, we will have the answer at the end of this week. Moreover, he highlighted that economy and environment go together and that the answer to the climate crisis is the answer to stimulating the economy. Last but not least he also emphasised the need for strong future leaders, pushing climate change on the political and global agenda.
Global Change Ecology M.Sc. is devoted to understanding and analyzing the most important and consequential environmental concern of the 21st century; namely, Global Change. Problems of an entirely new and interdisciplinary nature require the establishment of innovative approaches in research and education. A special program focus is the linking of natural science perspectives on global change with approaches in social science disciplines.