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2015 UN Climate Change Conference

November 9, 2015

All eyes will be on Paris later this month, and as the Group HSEQ Director for Churchill, the future sustainable direction set by the UN Climate Change Conference will make for interesting reading and should help shape Churchill’s own future sustainable strategy.
In advance of this conference, I thought it would be good to set out what, where and whys.

What’s going on in Paris?
The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference is being held in Paris from 30th November to 11th December. The conference has one goal: to reach a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all nations of the world.

Who will be attending?
Governments from more than 190 nations will meet to produce an agreement to supersede the current pledges on greenhouse gas emissions which expire in 2020. If achieved, it will be the first agreement of its kind in over 20 years of UN negotiations.

Why?
Rising greenhouse gas emissions continue to threaten the Earth and if they continue to climb at current rates, we risk passing the threshold beyond which global warming becomes disastrous and permanent. The threshold is estimated as a temperature rise of 2oC above pre-industrial levels and alarmingly, current emission data shows we are heading for a rise of approximately 5oC. However small this sounds, such changes in temperature can have extensive and catastrophic effects on the Earth.

After Paris
The EU has already agreed to cut emissions by 40% by 2030, the US by 26%-28% by 2025 and China has pledged that emissions will peak in 2030. Overall, emitters responsible for approximately two thirds of global discharges have already set their targets. Despite a deadline of March, some countries have not yet done so. It is clear that despite current commitments and those made by December following the conference, they alone will not be enough to halt the warming at no more than 2oC. Financial pressure is an obvious roadblock for poorer countries who seek support from the First World in the form of financial assistance to enable investment in clean technology. Once again a resolution seems to depend on agreement among nations.
Climate change continues to dominate headlines and coverage will unquestionably increase as we head towards the conference. Although no one can predict the outcome of the discussions, all eyes will be on Paris for some sort of resolution to this enduring problem at the top of governments’ agendas around the world.

Angelina Sooren
Group HSEQ Director
11 November 2015