2020 may be ‘last opportunity’ to limit warming to 1.5°C

(Climate Change News, 20 Jan 2020) Comment: Whether countries deliver on their pledge to raise ambition will be more consequential to the future of the Paris deal than even Trump’s withdrawal.


While it’s unfair to describe the Madrid climate change conference in December as a complete failure, there is no sugar-coating the reality that it achieved much, much less than what the people and planet need to avoid catastrophic climate change this century.

It’s especially painful to acknowledge that my country, Australia, shares a lot of the blame for the outcome.

The current government’s insistence on using so-called “Kyoto credits” (carried over from my own period in office when we did take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions) towards the implementation of their lacklustre Paris target, only sowed division and disharmony at the talks.

Such accounting trickery does nothing to fight climate change. It’s legally dubious. And it only opens the back door for other countries to do less at a moment we all need to do more.

And all while our country is suffering under the worst bushfire conditions we have ever seen with more than forty-six million acres burned, more than 2,000 homes destroyed and innocent lives lost.

The outcome in Madrid would have been worse if it weren’t for progressive nations, led by the tiny Marshall Islands, and Spain’s bold environment minister, Teresa Ribera, who worked feverishly behind the scenes to bring away some kind of outcome. History will be kind to them, if not to Cop25.

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Climate Change News, 20 Jan 2020: 2020 may be ‘last opportunity’ to limit warming to 1.5°C